I'm spinning my wheels. I have a drawing that is stuck - a combination of where to go and fear of making a mistake, a beadwork piece wants to ferment longer and sits idle. At least I am carving canoe paddles faster than I know what to do with. I could go canoeing, but there is my work ethic guilt of not making something that gnaws at the back of my head.
I go canoeing. I am wasting time here.
I turn the point into the main part of Salmon Cove and begin counting swans. I get to 120 and estimate the rest. There are about 150 of them spread out over a half mile. I am collecting their feathers as I paddle. A cool gentle breeze and a bright autumn sun are at my back. Most of the trees still hold some of their brilliantly colored foliage although the shady north hillsides are mostly evergreens. It seems that this fall was a fairly spectacular one. I spot an osprey. It seems late in the year for that, but I saw another two days ago on the Farmington River.
I turn back when I get to the Leesville Dam, a bit surprised that I have arrived in so little time. This time, I tuck into the culvert with the big steel I-beams guarding its opening as if they were intended to stop an ironclad. On the far side is a narrow canal that passes a house on one side and two recently beaver cut trees of pretty reasonable size.
What does the caribou think as it migrates?
If I do this often enough, I begin to lose the surface-me...the me that seems to be me, and if it is, it is far from all of me. The self that appears is the one that is one with nature...the child of nature...the animal. It is probably something like what people seek in meditation and it is the pearl of my frequent wanderings. The me that plans and plots and identifies fades away and what is left is my self moving through the world. The trees cease to be maples, oaks and pines and they become trees and the trees become forest. The birds retain their names, kingfisher, osprey, cardinal...but only because I no longer have to think about what they are. They long ago became individual characters in the play. The water passes under, the paddle drifts past my face in steady rhythm, I no longer look for anything but see clearly, I no longer anticipate anything, but things happen.