When we walk into the woods it takes a minute.
We start on the trail and it takes a bit to get acclimatized. I would say until you can’t hear road noise anymore, but it doesn’t usually take quite that long.
It’s surprising, though, how far in before we begin to see.
We notice, of course, the condition of the trail. We mostly hike bridle trails – you know, for horses – and often the churn of hooves means the trails are all kinds of muddy for a long time. The horses rut and twist the ground, especially soft ground, into a mess that holds puddles even when it has been dry for days. During the rainy season? It’s mucky. Wear boots. We’ll talk about that later, though …
So as we’re walking in and getting the lay of the trail and up the first hill or so, I’m still usually thinking – OK, that’s far enough.
Push through that.
I think to myself, “Let’s see what the trail holds. The path that you follow will hold beauties, glories. Open your eyes and look.”
That’s when things start come into focus. We’ve been walking for 5 minutes in April and see our first spring beauty and suddenly they are everywhere. I remember to look for colors – in March and April I remembered to look for green. In April and May for whites and other colors. Some flowers in July are showy and purple or orange, but shockingly I will miss them until I see one.
Then the forest opens up and we can receive what the path has for us.
In April, Jason and I were walking. I was hoping to see a trillium. Just one. It was a little early in April, but spring ephemerals are called ephemeral for a reason and I didn’t want to miss it! One of the dangers of the bridle trails is that I watch my feet more than the forest. It can be treacherous to ankles! I look too much at the path I’m traveling and not at the surrounds. We were walking along, I was following in Jason’s footsteps along a wall and Jason calls out, “There’s a trillium.”
And then we looked up and back – just a bit – and there was one in full bloom that we hadn’t seen.
We saw many other trillium this spring, and I loved them all, but that first one and immediately the second? What a gift. They’re special. We learned to receive and see.
As we go along the trail, we try to see what it gives us. We can bushwhack some, but we always come back to the main pathway. It leads us to beauties.
Reading is similar. We start, we get the lay of the book: the author’s vocabulary, syntax, thought processes. We follow the path the author has laid out for us and we have to receive what is there.
Sometimes it takes a few minutes to get there.
But once we see an idea, we see more of that one and more varieties that the author is giving us. The book opens up so that seeing, we see.
We just have to catch the first glimpse.