Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Third Degree

The first great blue heron was standing statue still at the end of a large deadfall that was laying in the river. It saw me well before I spotted it, which only happened when I was 75 yards out.  I slid the canoe to the far bank just to see if I could avoid pushing it upriver.  When I last saw it, out of the corner of my eye and over my right shoulder, it had not moved one single feather.

Serene is the adjective for the day.  Still cool with the sun still low and half of the river shaded, the sky clear, the day working its way into the mid 80's, and the surface of the water unwavering in the stillness of the air.

I heard the murmur of voices well ahead and spotted a shadow moving up the bank from the water's edge and disappearing into the forest.  A few seconds later, it walked through a shaft of light that penetrated the canopy and the figure flashed as clearly as a traffic signal.  Talking as they were, they didn't notice me until I was quite near.  They were in what I call the 2nd degree of nature experience...out enjoying a fine day in the forest, taking in the scenery, perhaps spotting something they'd never noticed before.  It's good and the world would be a far better place if everyone did something like that once a week.  But, they have too many distractions to take it into the 3rd degree, the point at which the land talks to you.  Nature, as powerful as it can be, doles out its spiritual guidance in a soft voice, and only if the recipient is fully focused and committed to listening.  It is, as far as I can tell, a one on one experience and it only happens when you are in harmony with where you are.

I paddle upriver a bit over 2-1/2 hours, past the remains of the Farmington Canal Aquaduct and up to the tumbled dam that once powered a grain mill.

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