The past few months I’ve been neglecting facets of my life while I focus on people and situations that require my full care and attention. In other words, consciously and unconsciously, I have set priorities, because my human body and mind has only so much life energy to expend.
I’ve neglected my writing and my walks in these woods. Luckily, I can see this mountain from my window, and even when I can’t be in it, I can look toward its green and rocky back and, however brief, the sight of it in the sun or through the fog puts me at peace.
But yesterday the sunshine called and just like that, I slipped on my hiking boots and took to the deep forest.
Spring is awakening here.
I ran into one of the Friends of Mt. Doug and he gave me a brief update. Perhaps because of that, reminders of the important work being carried out by so many people caught my attention and mingled with drifting thoughts.
Due to the flooding of an area east of Shelbourne and the harm to trees, a tributary to drain off the water has been dug. Here you can also see a replanting of native species and a notice that when you are here to mind where you set your foot.
Someone I was once very close to suddenly passed away in January and I did not find out until this past week. This kind and talented man, whom I had not seen in decades, found me through these words. He told me how proud he was of me and several emails passed between us in 2012.
I was busy with editing and sending out my manuscript and my correspondence with him dwindled and then stopped. These past few days, I’ve been thinking about neglect, wondering if my connection with another human being came up short.
We carry on with our busy lives and sometimes we just aren’t able to give 100% to our families, every friend, our health, our communities, our work. When our attention needs to focus on the immediate, we can miss other things going on around us and afterwards, in hindsight, foolishly pass judgment. I thought about that this week as I mourned.
The woods are a good place to take grief. Happy memories, the past cloaked in music, words, and unique shared moments arrived amongst the new blossoms.
Regret does not heal or feed the soul, and as I walked this morning, the forest seemed to take away what I do not need. This is not a solipsistic conjuring of mine own, analyzing away regret or renegotiating time and neglect. To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, nature is medicinal. The trees sway above, a woodpecker picks over yonder, the mud squishes underfoot, the sunshine accentuates the green moss, I breathe in mushrooms, and I come away renewed.
The least amount of work in this place will help protect and sustain it.
And however brief our genuine care and attention to one another may be, it can be powerful and long lasting.
Thank you mb and Rest in Peace.