Sunday, October 30, 2011

Silent Hike

Somehow, I haven't gotten out for a good walk for a long time. The Naturalists in Training at Bernheim enjoyed a fall retreat this weekend, and I joined them for a while. After Dick's presentation on Aldo Leopold, we all went out for a silent hike. It's easy to be silent when you walk alone, but much more difficult when a group goes out.
The first frost of the season coated every branch and twig along the trail. As the sun rose, the frost became shining pearls of dew strung on a necklace of spider webs. Click any photo for a larger version. One of the NIT's share her favorite poem before we set out. I'd never heard it before and want to share it with all of you.

Lost, by David Wagoner.

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.

The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.

If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.

If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

Of course, moss isn't always a bright moss green. Sometimes it resembles a lichen more than anything else.
Everyone in the group notices something different, which they are allowed to share with motions only. This salamander looks cold to me. How do they spend the winter? I wonder if this temperature drop caught him by surprise.
Be silent and let the light and colors speak to you as you walk through the forest.


Sally Lacy said...

Thanks for the lovely reminder of a very special part of our retreat. So glad you included Lyssa's poem and appreciated your own poetic descriptions of our morning's finds along the hike.

NCmountainwoman said...

Such a lovely poem and your photographs seem taken with the words in mind. While I don't like a lot of senseless chatter when I am hiking, I do like to hear people tell me to "look at this" or "what a view." I wonder how I would fare in total silence.

Jen said...

Well, I was going to call this post "lovely" but it seems that term has been overused already! The poem is beautiful and makes me want to take a quiet walk in the woods... The photos are wonderful as well...