Posted in Air, Autumn, Change, Climate Change, Covid-19, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Gifts, Gratitude, Heartfulness, In these strange times, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Walktober, Wonder, Woods

My Walktober

The woodland trail, here on the ranch. This is the trail you take to get to the dock.  It might not look like there are any signs of autumn, but there are.  What might appear to be white flowers just left of center is a sea myrtle that has gone to seed.

It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.

~ Saint Francis of Assisi

Walking, in particular drifting, or strolling, is already — with the speed of culture of our time — a kind of resistance… A very immediate method for unfolding stories.

~ Francis Alys

At the back of the pond, one dreary morning this week.

I usually save my Walktober post for the round-up, but I want to do it early this year.  I walk pretty much every day so I’m sure I’ll find something to share with you when it’s time for the round-up post.  Before I get to my walk, a quick update about Walktober:  I am extending the date to October 24th so if you haven’t had a chance to get your walk in yet, this will give you a little extra time.

I had all sorts of thoughts and possibilities and plans for a walk this year.  Then it occurred to me that even though I could go elsewhere for a walk, this would be a good year to stay close to home and walk around the property here on the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.  I don’t always appreciate the fact that I live in what is essentially my own private park.  We have different landscapes to explore, from meadows, to woods, to marsh that leads to water.  There is a tidal pond, a cemetery, a creek that has grown wider in the seven years we’ve lived here.  We have a large herd of deer, a bazillion rabbits, red foxes, raccoons, snakes, opossums, lizards, birds, turtles, otters, muskrats, and many more other-than-humans sharing the land with us. There are birds who winter here, including a large number of birds of prey (who take care of some of the bazillion rabbits), and birds who summer here, and birds who stop by on their way Elsewhere in the spring and fall.

The rainbow colors of the sweet gum trees.

At the beginning of Bhagavad Gita class this past Tuesday evening, the teacher talked about a conversation she’d had recently with Dr. Theo Wildcroft, a yoga teacher and a scholar who studies what she has termed “post-lineage yoga.”  (I won’t go into her studies.  You can visit her website, if interested.)  Dr. Theo has a wonderful way of relating post-lineage yoga groups with nature, comparing them to rhizomes or networks of mycelium.  My favorite, though, is her comparison of groups that work together as murmurations or flocks of geese.  Karin, my yoga teacher, shared with us a beautiful song that Dr. Theo had shared with her.  I’m going to share it with you.  I hope you have a few minutes to listen:  Labouring and Resting by Pippa Murphy.  It’s beautiful, this resting and laboring (or labouring) that geese do, stepping back to rest, stepping forward to allow someone else to rest.

Sometimes it looks as though they are talking to each other.

I bring this up, and share the song with you, because it’s been a hard week.  Oh, nothing major happened in my personal life (we’ll leave aside the politics of what’s happening in the country and in the world).  We are about seven months into the pandemic and I have been feeling so tired, so frustrated, so angry, so sad, so filled with grief over it all and by all I mean not only the pandemic but where we are in terms of society/culture and climate change, of what we’re doing to ourselves and to the earth.  It was difficult to find the center of joy, the steady spark or flame, that burns within the center of our being.

Sometimes the leaves glow.

After listening to the song at the beginning of Gita class, we took turns talking about our flocks and who they are.  At the time, I was feeling and diving into loneliness, and my answer was weak and more than a little whiny.  It’s becoming clear to me that it is likely we will not make the trip to Ohio to visit with our children and grandchildren.  No final decisions have been made yet, but November will not be a good time to make that kind of trip for all sorts of reasons.  Colder weather, being shut up inside, rising numbers in terms of infections, and the advice of the infectious disease experts make it pretty clear that the risks in November are greater than the risks were in summer when we were able to be outside for most of the day and open the windows to the fresh air.  We would do better to wait until spring.  Spring, it seems to me right now, is a very long way off.

Wild cherry in the warmth of the morning light.

So, what I’m trying to get at is that I felt, briefly, flockless.  I am here in the Middle of Nowhere, learning to be alone again as M goes off to work for at least part of the day.  I’ve kept busy since our return from our summer hiatus in Ohio.  When I finally stopped all the busy-ness, there was an upwelling of sadness, grief, and loneliness that many are feeling, have been feeling throughout the course of the pandemic.

Walking up the lane (driveway) towards the cemetery.

The morning after class, still feeling lonely and flockless, I did my morning practice, watching the sky lighten as the sunlight peered over the treeline and the fog gathered and danced over the surface of the pond, twisting and turning like ghosts trapped and unable to leave the space over the water.  Light hit the top of the trees, pointing out the slowly changing colors of the foliage.  Then it streamed across the lawn, shimmering and sparkling on the dew that had collected on blades of grass overnight.  The herd of deer came by for breakfast, the little ones chasing each other as they do every morning.  Crows cawed.  A male cardinal, brilliant in sunlight and red feathers, perched on the sumac, picking at the berries.  Lloyd’s rooster crowed, the sound carrying from about a quarter of a mile up the road.  The air was still and chill, smelling of autumn with those hints of decay, earthiness, and a little sourness that comes with colder weather, less daylight, and decomposing leaves, grasses, and other plants.

A fallen star.

I finished my practice and as I sipped on a freshly steeped cup of tea, I opened my email and began to look at all the Walktober posts that are coming in.  As I walked along with you, I began to feel less lonely, less flockless.  And it was in feeling that connection that I realized how many flocks I am a part of:  family, friends, people who joined our little non-profit to clean up the area, fellow bloggers, the yoga cohort/class, Izzy and Bella (the cats), my connection to nature and the other beings who live here with us, and (last but most important) M, my husband and life partner.

I found this sitting on a fallen tree when I went out to visit with the Great-grandmother Cedar.  Having found several “picked” and partially eaten mushrooms, I’m beginning to understand why they are so difficult to find around here this year.

I’m going to leave you with something I read in Joanna Macy’s book, World As Lover, World As Self: Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal:

When humans investigate and see through their layers of anthropocentric self-cherishing, a most profound change in consciousness begins to take place.  Alienation subsides.  The human is no longer an outsider apart.  Your humanness is then recognized as being merely the most recent stage of your existence; as you stop identifying exclusively with this chapter, you start to get in touch with yourself as vertebrate, as mammal, as species only recently emerged from the rainforest.  As the fog of amnesia dispenses, there is a transformation in your relationship to other species and in your commitment to them … The thousands of years of imagined separation are over and we can begin to recall our true nature; that is, the change is a spiritual one — thinking like a mountain, sometimes referred to as deep ecology.  As your memory improves … there is an identification with all life …. Remember our childhood as rocks, as lava?  Rocks contain the potentiality to weave themselves into such stuff as this.  We are the rocks dancing.

~ John Seed, founder of the Rainforest Information Centre in Australia

Rocks dancing with water.

Thank you so much for visiting with me today and for allowing me to be a part of your flock, even briefly.  It’s been raining for most of the day with the temperature dropping as a cold front comes through.  I don’t think there will be much to see at sunset other than clouds and rain, but if you’re game, I’ll meet you at the Point to see what we can see.  Sunset is scheduled for 6:23 PM.  It will be wet and chilly so some layers, a raincoat, and boots or umbrella are probably a good idea.

Please be safe, be well, and be kind.  And if you’re in the U.S. and you haven’t done so already, please VOTE.  Thank you.

A fallen heart, returning to earth.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1.576)  Rainy days that call for writing, drawing, and reading.  1,577)  Rainy days that encourage you to relax, rest, recharge.  1,578)  Rainy day comfort foods.  1,579)  Snuggling.  1,580)  Flocks.  All of them.

Sheltering in the branch of a cedar on a rainy day.

Walktober reminder with update:  The dates are October 3-24 (I’m giving you an extra week).  Take a walk (run, ride, whatever) and post about it sometime during those dates.  I will gather it all together and do the round-up post sometime after that (I’m looking at October 26th as a possible date — it depends on whether or not anyone needs more time).  The official post is HERE.  Leave your link or pingback there.  If you should mistakenly leave it elsewhere on my blog, no worries.  I can usually find it.  However, it does make it easier for me if the links are all in one place.  Thank you!

Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

40 thoughts on “My Walktober

  1. ‘Laboring and resting’ is what it feels like, esp. these days. I do as much as I can, physically or mentally, then I need to rest. Sometimes I feel so weary, just like you described. Honoring the rest is as important as doing the work, though our culture seems to value the work more, which is probably why we feel so unbalanced, esp. of late.
    We’re sharing the same rainstorm for a change, what a big, long one it is. As we’re in drought, it is esp. welcome, both the rain and the rest day as well.
    I need to hop over to your Walktober post and start reading what others are posting. Thanks for hosting – it is one of my favorite events of the year!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am so glad you are getting a good rain, Eliza. We’ve had about 4 inches total just this week. Plenty to go around, if only Mother Nature would let me share it with the areas that need it.
      I am not always good about honoring the need for rest. As you mentioned, our culture values work and productivity. I hope that changes. There’s nothing wrong with a good work ethic, but we need a good play and rest ethic to go with it.
      You’re welcome, and thank you for joining in. It’s one of my favorites, too. More so this year. I’m glad I didn’t give up on it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Great point, Eliza! They do train it out of us. We’ll just have to train it back into us, I say let’s go for it. A movement of good balance. Since balance is essentially a swaying back and forth we can sway and dance between work, rest, and play. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. A lovely post, Robin. I go through whiny, tired periods, as well, and the walks help. Those rocks are so colorful–so pretty! I’m glad you came to the realization that you have many flocks.
    I’m also looking towards the colder weather with trepidation and a bit of sorrow–the loss of not having family holidays or celebrating my birthday in December as I might have in other years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Merril. 🙂 We’re going to have to get creative, I think, when it comes to the end of year celebrations. Maybe more so than we have been, although what more we can do, I don’t know. But humans are good at coming up with something new when needed. I’m sure there are already ideas floating around out there on how to celebrate online. I normally don’t do much in the way of seasonal decorating (because we’re usually not here), but I think I will this year. Pick up bits of things on walks and see what I can make of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I want to go to Bhagavad Gita class!
    I’m hiking this Saturday and Sunday. Are two walks allowed? I’m excited to get out. It is early fall in Tennessee and the leaves are starting to turn. We had plenty of rain this year so it will be a glorious fall.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As many walks as you like, Sarah. I think someone did around five walks one year, and my own Walktober posts are usually a combination of walks/hikes. Our leaves are just starting to turn, too, and it’s looking like it might be a colorful display.
      It’s a wonderful class with a great teacher. It’s part of the yoga teacher training I took (it’s a year-long class). The cohort/class I’m in is finished with the teacher training and we’ve segued into learning about the Gita. A second cohort started in September. Karin’s website is: returnyoga.org (in case you want a look at what she does)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think this is a melencoly, wistful post and it makes me sad to think of you feeling lonely. But I’m glad you realize how many groups of people (and pets and neighborhood animals) you have and belong to. I know, though, that none (except M) are as important as those little wookies up north and it must be really hard to be away from them, especially when you got to spend so much time together this summer. Spring will come around soon enough and maybe there will be fewer restrictions needed in order to visit, you just never know. If there are, and you are in OH maybe you can come a little further north for a day or two and we will go feed the birds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dawn. There was some of that wistfulness and melancholy, and there still is, but it was good to acknowledge it. Sometimes I find that hard to do. It’s easier to stay busy and kind of swipe away the feelings. I love the idea of going to feed the birds with you. I’m going to put that into our spring plans. 🙂

      Like

  5. Those moments when we’ve been sown and the world begins to brighten and we see rightly are so lovely. I’m glad you got one of those. I’ve been walking a lot, but not taking any photos! One of these days I’ll join you in Walktober. By the way, I’ve always felt the trees talked with their leaves and they are quieter in the winter, except for the evergreens. Stay safe and take care of yourself. This is a tough time, hard to stay balanced.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lisa. 🙂 The science is with you, I think, on the trees talking with their leaves. Our trees are still pretty full of leaves, mostly green, at this point, and pretty chatty these days. I think we’ll see more color in the week ahead now that it’s a little cooler, and things will grow quieter.
      I think that’s what they call grace, those moments when you fall apart and come back together (“see rightly”). I hope all is well with you, and that you do join us in Walktober sometime.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely pictures for your Walktober, Robin. I share your frustration, anger and grief. It’s been almost a year since I last saw my grandchildren in person, and while I am grateful for video-chats and Marco Polo, a real life snuggle would be all the healing I need right now. But I am grateful for my husband’s company as we go through this unanticipated hardship together, and grateful also for blogging friends and video-chats with family and friends… Even as we dropped off our ballots in the ballot box together, the moment was full of meaning, as never before…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Barbara. And although it’s not the same, sending you hugs. I know just what you mean about snuggling and the healing it provides. The Little Wookie and I have been doing our “distance hugs” that I taught him when we were there (we had two weeks of distancing because they’d gone to a small birthday party for one of their cousins). Gratitude is so important right now, for what we do have, but some days it can be hard. We’ll be voting next week (when early voting starts here) and yes, it is full of so much more meaning than before.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This post brought tears to my eyes. Yes, we feel lonely and sad because we are cut off from the ones we love. But your beautiful writing illustrates in such a moving way how you acknowledged this and then were able to look at all that was around you. So happy to be part of your flock!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Laurie, and I apologize for the tears. I’m happy your are part of my flock, too. 🙂

      I think it’s terribly important that we take some time to acknowledge what we’re feeling.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a lovely walk, Robin — thanks for letting me join in. I especially love that wild cherry in the sunlight and the water dancing over the rocks! I think you’ve captured beautifully the angst we’re all feeling about now, even those of us introverts for whom isolation isn’t much of a hardship. It’s the thought of NOT being able to get together with far-off family and friends over the holidays that’s hard to deal with. That, and all the other aggravations of too much politics, too much pandemic, and too little joy. Thanks for coordinating Walktober, though, because that brings most of us a lot of happiness!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, and thank you for the lovely comment, Debbie. I’m so glad you’re here and joining in with us. 🙂 I know just what you mean. I’m an introvert, too, but maybe not as much as I thought I was. I miss gathering with others (even if I did used to feel like I needed a 2-week vacation from people after too much gathering with others…seems kind of funny now).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. “I felt, briefly, flockless.”

    That’s a profound sentence that rings true. I feel that way more often than I used to because of being isolated more now, I suppose. Or maybe it has to do with age? No answer here, but as there are fewer birds of a feather around, the flock shrinks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It could be both, Ally. It could be both, age and isolation. Age does tend to isolate us eventually, as you pointed out. I often wonder if that was always true or if it’s a product of our society and the “nuclear family.” We would still lose peers and friends in our age group, but have the comfort of younger people if we lived within the larger or extended family.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, the parts of ourselves that feel flockless and alone. Sending you a virtual hug and thanking you for being part of my flock. Those moments of longing come and go for me. Yesterday we had a family Zoom–it was lovely–but no substitute for being in their presence. Thanks for sharing your feelings and your Walktober and your spirit with us. By the way, I loved this quote immediately: It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching. AND, Elisa shared that Labouring and Resting piece with me yesterday (said she saw it here). Am going to listen again–it’s enchanting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kathy, especially for being part of my flock. ❤ Yes, those moments of feeling flockless (and flock-full?) do come and go. Zoom has its limits, but I am grateful that we have it at all.

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  11. Despite the tinge of sadness and loneliness that comes across your words, your images are beautiful and I am ever so glad to be part of your flock now and again. These are trying times and, yes, tiring. You don’t realise how much pretending all is normal when it is not can drain you. Nothing like walks in nature to help bring the spirit up, though. We will get through this.

    I don’t know how I am going to figure out which of my over 500 photos I took over the weekend on my two 3+hour each walks this weekend in anticipation of Walktober to use! I’m starting on it now, though 😉 This is definitely a highlight of the year and more so this year, given the crazy we are all experiencing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dale. I’m glad you are part of my flock, too. I wondered how many photos you took. 500! (As if I’ve never done that..lol!!) I’m looking forward to seeing what you pick out. You’ve been posting some beautiful stuff on IG. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ‘Tis a wonderful flock, I say!
        As if 😉 Something tells me you may be guilty…
        Thank you. I’m sure some of them will make it to the walk… then again, mayhaps not!

        Like

  12. A wonderful post and images.
    As you mentioned Bhagavad Gita class, at home we are reading a book based on the epic Mahabharata. As you might be aware of, “the Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Krishna”. The author of our book discussed why Shrikrishna chose Arjun and anyone else. Interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Rupali. 🙂 That does sound quite interesting. We’re still at the beginning of the book, and I’ve wondered why Arjuna was chosen (because he was ready to be a student? other reasons?).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Among other reasons one Arjun was the favourite disciple of Shreekrishna. Moreover, Arjun represents the best aspects of humanity:
        1.Courage, Strength, and Humility
        2.Intelligence and Wisdom
        3.Commitment to Truth and Justice
        4.Performance of Dharma with Karma (Duty and Right Action)

        Liked by 1 person

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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