It wasn’t as warm as the weather report said it would be, but once I dropped down off the escarpment, the wind died down and it felt less frigid.
Though, I hadn’t quite planned for how cold it was. I’d worn my gloves and not my mitts and my fingers felt the chill. I walked and tucked my hands into my jacket pocket. For a moment, my mind wanted me to believe that I was stupid to not wear my mittens. I told it to be quiet. It had nothing to do with my intelligence and everything to do with not wanting to be disturbed by less than thinking interrupting my walk.
It didn’t matter what I wore. The sun was shining, the birds tweeting and twittering all around. The day was glorious.
I dropped by Ellie, The Wonder Pooch’s memory place in the woods, took a picture of her two hearts nestled amidst the trees and snow and text them to my daughters, “She’s always with us,” I wrote.
And it’s true. Over six months since the wonder pooch’s passing, and still I feel her presence. I also still miss her quiet padding along beside me, tugging at the leash, stopping to sniff at every leaf and branch upon the trail.
Walking without her does have its advantages though. I can sit on a bench for as long as I like and not have her nudging me to get going, get moving along! Which means, I can sit and enjoy the silence, close my eyes and breathe into the soundscape all around, mapping the sounds as I learned to do from Sherri Phibbs of the W.I.S.H. Studio.
I listened deeply to the world around me. I listened to the birds, the chittering of a squirrel, the grass rustling in the soft breeze that meandered through the creek bed. I listened to the silence of the snow hanging at the edges of a tree branch as it let go with a soft whoof and fell to the ground. I listened to the way the fir tree needles grate against one another when the squirrel who was stealing all the bird seed skittered back across their branches. And in the distance, I listened to the muffled sound of city traffic carried across the miles by the wind.
And I listened to the stories the wind had to tell me of the faraway places it had roamed, the sites it had seen, the wonders it had witnessed.
I listened and felt the awe of the moment descend around me and envelop me in the possibility of a world where each of us is doing more today than we did yesterday to create a world of peace, love, hope and joy all around us.
In the quiet of the woods, I sat and listened to the wind and felt my spirit softly settle within me.
Yes. There is war and hatred and intolerance and abuse and homelessness and disease and cruelty and distrust. They all exist in this world.
And so does love.
It exists along with peace and harmony and people getting along and helping one another. Love exists in tolerance and kindness and giving and cures for diseases and loving compassion. It is there in gentleness and trust and treating each other with respect. It is there in one person helping another to get up, in caring for those who have nothing, those who are sick, those who are feeling blue.
Love exists in giving up a seat on the subway so a mother and child can sit.
It exists in letting a driver merge, in not cutting someone off, in smiling at a stranger, in holding a door open.
In all the intolerance and anger and hurt and pain in this world, love exists.
It’s just sometimes, amidst all the noise we forget to stop and sit quietly listening to our heart beat, listening to the trees rustle, the birds tweet, the wind whispering stories through the trees.
I listened to the stories the wind had to tell me and remembered that in this moment right now, all I need to feel at peace exists within me.
I am grateful.