Friday, 12 April 2013

Expect Nothing

It has been a while since I had the chance to get out into nature to my sit spot... ok, to be honest, I just didn't make time for it. Today however, I did. Why today, I have no idea, the weather wasn't very nice, the buses had been cancelled and the roads and cars and trees were covered in ice this morning. But, I was called to go out today, very strongly. So I listened.

I started out, just happy to be out on the very wet and muddy fields listening to the birds and seeing if I can guess what they were by their song. I wasn't expecting much. It was nasty, cold and wet. Past experiences have ended up in a very quiet sit spot. So I thought to myself, you know, perhaps this is a day to just quieten my mind. I have been busy the last few months without time to just be..... quiet.... calm... and in the present.

As I walked along the muddy fields, my wellies slopping in the water and mud, I looked up to listen to a song that was a bit different, but familiar to me. I searched the tops of the trees to see if I could make out who was making the pretty song. A hue of red through the trees was all I could make out and as the bird turned its head, I could see a tuft... a red cardinal... interesting, never heard that call before.

I continued on and found an old sparrow's nest nestled in the old goldenrods from last year's summer. I
remembered how last year I startled a nesting sparrow from its nest and bent down to take a closer look, thinking I wasn't doing any harm. The next day, the eggs were gone... feeling bad that I certainly did impact the nest and now more aware of these nests in the grass fields. I walk along animal trails to minimize my impact and keep my curiosity at a distance.

I am lead by the trail that is not flooded and it takes me to my old anchor spot, under a big walnut tree by the pond. I sit down on the wet ground and lean up against the old tree. I take a deep breath and close my eyes... still thinking not much will be seen. Sometimes I feel I should find a feather, or a skull to have a successful sit spot... but today it was more subtle than that.

I closed my eyes and focused on my hearing senses to pick up on sounds around me. To the East I hear the chipping of a sparrow, I hear the chirping of a wood thrush, the call of the red-winged blackbird. to the Northwest, I hear a robin singing so happily and from the Southeast I hear the killdeers in the fields.  Wow, my senses took me far from my spot and I opened my eyes just in time to see two mallard ducks come in for a landing on the pond. I watched the pair as the male stretched his green head up over the old cattails to ensure I was of no threat.

I am calm, my thoughts run over all the great things to be thankful for and I whisper my thanks under the walnut tree.

I decided to explore and see what else is awaiting for me in my sit spot area. It has been a while, snow covered the ground last time I was here, so now I am eager to see what other gifts were waiting for me to discover.

I see some patches of white and green amongst the old farmstead ruins. Snowdrops I believe they are, and they are covered in the ice and water from the morning rain. I see daffodils as well and feel grateful for the signs of spring. I see a tree with ice on one side of it... very interesting.

Then as I was coming out the other side of the property, I come upon
something that in the year I have been exploring have never noticed before... old farm equipment, left on the property to rust. I also found an old turned over boat that was a home for some animal at some point but was now waterlogged. The trails leading in and out of it told me it made a good shelter.

As I walked on, I looked down to see red in the brown stalks from last year. Red? What were these?
I picked one up and looked at it, not knowing where it had come from. Was it plant in the golden rods? But if it was, it looked fresh? I looked around and saw many scattered around. I was puzzled and was ready to march home to figure out what the mystery was when something told me to look up. I looked up and on the branches of this tree, were hundreds of these red flowers.... Thinking it was the walnut tree, but the other walnut trees do not have these flowers.... hmmmm, what kind of tree is this? A mystery for me to discover and find out.

So I went to my sit spot expecting nothing, and was rewarded with many
sights and sounds and a nature mystery. You just never know what you will find when you take the time to be calm, quiet and in the moment.