Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Green Pastures


A friend was sharing the other day about a way she seeks peace and comfort when under stress. So many times we are rushing from one thing to another, just trying to stay on top of our lists that we don’t even realize how stressed we are. I have been noticing lately that I have a really hard time slowing down and enjoying a moments’ relaxation. Even on a long weekend, when all my housework is done and I have no where to rush off to, I feel urgency and a need to hurry up and enjoy every minute of free time. I had a day off from school for Columbus day and the weather was perfect. I was caught up on all the laundry and had done all my weekend chores. I did some yard work that had been waiting for me to get to it, and then forced myself to sit down in the shade and just enjoy looking at my boys playing and just watch the wind in the trees. The tension in my neck and arms and stomach only became more apparent. The voice in my head never lets up saying hurry up get the next thing done.

Crickets’ singing stops;
The gardener comes by clipping –
She moves, he sings again.

My friend had said there was a time when she was stressed out and she went for a walk to try to calm down. She was walking and saying the 23rd Psalm to herself over and over. The words “he leads me beside the quiet waters, he makes me lie down in green pastures…” sunk in and she realized God wants us to find the green pastures and enjoy the quiet waters. That to be healthy we need to find those places often and that God leads us to them if we are willing.

Down by the water
Throwing rocks, dragging their sticks
Boys find the center

Yesterday morning I took the boys to a nature center near our home. It is a little place in the middle of a residential neighborhood, right beside the commuter train tracks. We don’t go there often because it is not the best one around here. I hardly ever see good birds there, although they have a bird blind and lots of feeders. They do have a cute little nature center building with animals (rabbits, turtles, snakes, a dove…) and bones and feathers and stuff for little kids so it is perfect for preschoolers. Yesterday was a holiday so the building wasn’t open but we walked the paths. They are just the right length for short legs to make a satisfying loop and come home hungry. Punkin and I saw a garden snake on the path (I almost stepped on it) while Buddy Boy ran ahead to thunder across a bridge over a tiny stream. The lower loop of the path goes right by the train tracks and there was a crew there cutting brush. The trucks and chipper and chain saws were making an awful racket so of course that drew the boys like a magnet. I will never get enough of looking at trees. Sun, shade, mist, green, gold, red and orange… I don’t care what the weather or season there is nothing more soothing and stimulating for me on which to rest my gaze.

Chain saws rip the air
Birds and boys watch brush come down;
Light filters through dust

I think I need to plan to take the boys out to the woods every weekend as long as I can stand the weather this fall. It revives us and gives us such joy. It is the only place I feel like I really breathe deeply and let my muscles fall into place. There are no chores, no deadlines, no schedules, no clocks, no to-do lists in the woods. Just light and air and the moment right now to enter and exalt. I am so grateful to have my boys with me walking these paths.

small child runs ahead
shakes a snake from sunny leaves
oh! the ground slithers

*This type of journaling can be called haibun; prose interspersed with haiku.



tallulah said...

Beautiful post.

I need to get out more.

gigi said...

Lovely. We have haiku in common as well as Rumi...(you left a just discovered comment on my blog months ago). Be well.

John said...

It was a Garter snake, wasn't it? Not a garden snake.

Jennifer said...

beautiful writing, the haiku complement the prose perfectly.

susanlavonne said...

a truly beautifully written and inspirational piece..all of it!
thank you :-)

Pearl said...

Interesting. I didn't realize one could to and fro between the prose and haiku.

Anonymous said...

just stumbled into your peice via a blog about this new technique. about the woods, i know. everything falls right into place, especially with children. especially when we let them take the lead.
i'm excited to try out the haibun.