Walking the path to Millard Canyon Falls, crossing the streams, carefully avoiding slick rocks and excitable trail dogs, there was little time to think of what was coming next - whether around the next bend or once we reached the fall. My eyes and mind were wandering along with my feet but they were fully engaged on the now - the immediately underfoot and the friendly conversation at hand.
Much like walking a labyrinth in meditation, the trail guided me to where I needed to be: the present.
As we walked, I was reminded of a poem I’d come across during the week:
This land like a mirror turns you inward
And you become a forest in a furtive lake;
The dark pines of your mind reach downward,
You dream in the green of your time,
Your memory is a row of sinking pines.
Explorer, you tell yourself, this is not what you came for
Although it is good here, and green;
You had meant to move with a kind of largeness,
You had planned a heavy grace, an anguished dream.
But the dark pines of your mind dip deeper
And you are sinking, sinking, sleeper
In an elementary world;
There is something down there and you want it told.
Dark Pines Under Water (The Shadow-Maker. Toronto: Macmillan, 1972 )
~ Gwendolyn MacEwen
So often we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed with memory or with expectation - dragged from the present reality to the past or future in all its abstract appeal. Yet, in the wilderness, in an elementary world (mostly) often immune to the touch of our anxieties, we can sink into the stories our feet are writing and share it with fellow wanderers walking with us past rows of sunken pine memories and towards the new stories we want to be told.