When I feel lack in my life, I take to the woods. All about me is abundance, especially at this time of year. I might give myself just a five foot square spot of forest and explore what’s there. When I worked with middle school students, I would take them outside and give them each a picture frame and ask them to place it in the playground or on the wooded hill behind the school. Sometimes they would hang the frame or lean it against a tree. My students, normally abuzz with hormones, sat in silent amazement of what they saw inside their rectangles—the variety of plant and insect life they trod on in their daily oblivion.
Sometimes, the scarcity and deprivation I feel in various aspects of my life create a void inside, and I go into the woods with voracity trying drink in and name everything I see. Sometimes, to quiet my mind and forget myself, I forage for and focus on only the smallest, most specific things: insects, webs, moss, or wild flowers. For a time, I forget about war, oil spills, the fact that I am a mother or that I need to pay the bills. This morning I stepped outside myself and sought only the shadows of leaves.
I was reminded of the transience of all things and this brought peace.
put down pen and page
search for beauty’s unseen stage
secrets dormant on the leaf
shadow fossils gone in time
Tanka ~ a five-line Japanese verse form in which the first and third lines have five syllables each and the other lines have seven syllables each.