On one of my let’s-see-where-this-trail-goes walks with Asha, we rounded a bend and came to a clearing of sorts with a wooden bridge over a burbling stream.
The bridge invites me to pause, to stop.
I drop a stick into the deep section of the stream. Asha waits for it to drift close enough that she can get it without swimming. She can’t stretch quite far enough, so she jumps across the stream and gets it from that angle.
I stand in the middle of the bridge, close my eyes, take several deep breaths and listen to the burbling.
On our way to and from this quiet spot, Asha and I pass a waterfall with its own, very different beauty. I love this waterfall and, over the years, have stopped here many times and noted its changes with the seasons – how it freezes over in winter, rushes in the spring as the snow melts and slows to a trickle during the drier periods of the year.
But right now, it’s the gentle, slow moving water of the stream that I need.
My own life feels like the waterfall these days. This is my busy season with the studio trail, craft fairs and farmers markets almost every weekend until the end of the year. I feel like I have been dropping balls and squeaking in under deadlines. And there’s the ever-present stress of the mid-term elections.
Today I sit on this bridge and dangle my feet over the edge. I linger a little longer than usual and soak up the crisp fall sunshine and the gentle breeze. I breathe in the soothing sound of the water and feel calmer when Asha and I turn towards my looms, emails and errands.
As we pass the waterfall on our way home, I realize that this little bridge is downstream from the waterfall. It’s the same water that rushes down the waterfall and then meanders between the cattails and grasses and underneath the bridge.
I think about how the water rushing over the rocks doesn’t feel an urgency. It doesn’t say, Oh, I must hurry. Or ask What if I don’t get to the bottom in time? It simply flows. Its speed depends on the terrain.
This puts the current go-go-go quality of my days in perspective. Like the water, my year has different speeds.
I take comfort in knowing that this busyness is not a permanent state. Things will slow down. Winter will come, inviting a more relaxed pace.
For now, I will walk with Asha to the little bridge and let some stress float away on the gentle waters.