A season of reflection
The trail is well cut and carved, the edges creased, the surface smooth with dimples from the pressure of passing feet.
I climb a short 25-yard incline to its peak where a large boxelder leans in, half its trunk eating across the trail, its roots dipping in and out of the hard-packed earth in great arched backs like the fossil of some long preserved serpent.
The light pushes through the maple leaves in knife slices, their green fingers touched with yellow on the edges.
I pause at the top, elbow against the sandpaper skin of tree trunk, the soft call of a wind born from open and wild places pushing up from the forest below.
I soak in a quiet that is molecular, nearly whole except for the occasional pinch of sound from scurrying chipmunks, bird calls from somewhere in the army of branches, and the squeaking click and chatter of squirrels as they forage.
This is the intake that I’ve found myself stepping into more and more in recent days, a deep kind of pause that slows it all down to a trickle.
Here, I am in between the folds of the madness that machine guns our conscious minds.
Here, I am one with the winding of that interminable clock that haunts our waking steps with whispers of mortality. Deeper into the chest of the universe I fall, somehow aware of each tick and tock that marks the passing of lifetimes in mere breaths.
These moments are quickly becoming my favorite moments — slow and deliberate and gentle in their passing — each finding me standing true in the now like a rock steady against the onslaught of a fast-flowing river.
These moments are of a new season of solitude and reflection, the polar opposite end on a spectrum that saw many seasons of extroversion in years prior.
There, in the heat of those noisy days, I felt a constant tug to be part of something, to be connected, to be loud and present outside of self.
There, I lived at the tip and the bottom of the bottle, deriving energy from the drunken autopilot of social rituals, the electric night that held the door open to my escape hatch with a smile.
There, I ran.
Here, I breathe.
And I feel more and more drawn to the peace of existence without strings attached to outcomes or whatever lies with the next step.
Part of this is a natural byproduct of forcibly slowing down and trimming away the excess in my life.
Part of it is embracing that my energy is pulling me into a softer space in this often loud and cumbersome world.
We all have different energies in different seasons that could and should be honored in their own unique and often surprising ways.
For me, the years have too often passed with intuition unplugged and unused. My concept of self hasn’t always found alignment with the present either — more a knotted sea of threads between past and future that had me tap dancing between the two.
I recognize this current desire to reflect for what it is: A signal from mother ship that the wires are crossed and in need of more love and intention.
So with a heart and mind gasping for reprieve from the weight of possibility, I willingly sink deeper into these moments of inward to help me find perspective and appreciate everything that already is.
And I’m finally seeing the needle in that haystack, the microscopic buoy in a sea of big ships setting sail for all of those grand moments we assume are the real deal.
I see it all in the minutiae — a blind man granted full sight of every particle that makes up the whole of what we experience in the day to day.
It’s a kind of awareness that I honestly struggle to explain adequately. These long-winded descriptions aside, I find that I’m mostly tongue-tied and dumb in the presence of this awareness.
These seasons of embraced and willing solitude are few and far between in a lifetime duct taped to the whims of seasons dominated by stimuli.
Alive is electricity, a constant flow of current between events big and small, dots connected with little attention given to the threads between.
I’m simply living these threads out, feeling them beneath the heels, resting on them and among them in resolute denial of the shadows of whims I’ve chased into false futures and the ghosts I’ve nourished of a past that exists only in story.
For all of us and for each of us, there are seasons waiting to be honored and owned just as they are —if only we listen long enough to hear them call.