trees

The forest and the trees

You know the saying, “she can’t see the forest for the trees”?  It is a derogatory phrase…like when someone is said to “miss the big picture” or “bogs down in details”.

I’ve had forests and trees on my mind a lot in the past few months…feeling something like guilt or shame or frustration for the hours wasted on doing the “little” things.  I wonder some times if I’ve lost the trail.

But on this cool, rainy, September early morning, I woke up with some satisfying clarity on the positive side of that saying.

Life is a whole forest.  It is also just one tree.  Each tree.  Each day.  I don’t know how big the forest is, or when I will walk out of it.  So, I’m going to enjoy my walk through the trees, appreciating the sun and the shade, the rain and the wind, the sounds and the silence, and give my attention to one tree at a time.

A funny thing seems to happen when I consider that one tree long enough…I perceive the pattern around it.  And I find comfort in that.

Enjoy your walk.

X marks the spot, a vine crisscrosses a tree at Radnor Lake, Nashville
A vine crisscrosses a tree. April 2015 at Radnor Lake in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

Ridges of Bark on a Tree at Radnor Lake in Nashville
The trees and vines begin to bloom, Spring 2015 at Radnor Lake in Nashville, TN.

 

Vine entwines tree Radnor Lake Nashville
A vine entwines a tree at Radnor Lake, Nashville, TN. Spring 2015.

 

Quiet trees Radnor Lake Nashville
On this rainy Spring day in April 2015, we walked amid the trees. Absorbing. Radnor Lake, Nashville, TN.
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Three quiet October days in Telluride

Main Street, Telluride, Colorado
Main Street, Telluride, Colorado

Three quiet October days in Telluride.  The place holds a special place in my heart.

I first visited Telluride on a media trip in 1999, just a couple of weeks after my Grandmother passed away.  I was tired.  My heart hurt from crying.  And I ached to see her again, to talk to her some more…just a little more.   While the rest of the group skied, I spent time in solitude…staring at the mountains.  And in those moments, I found a peace that comforts me to this day.

So, when I realized that I’d be within a 6 hour drive of Telluride just a few days before my birthday, I decided to return.

The “6 hour drive” from Santa Fe turned into an 8 hour drive because I stopped so many times to admire the wide open spaces and the long winding roads through the pueblos and reservations of New Mexico .

Driving north from Santa Fe
Driving north from Santa Fe

I arrived in Mountain Village just before dark, threw my stuff in the room, and took the first of about a dozen gondola rides up and over the mountain into beautiful little Telluride.

I would spend only 3 nights there–waiting for the sun to rise and set on the mountain top, soaking up the sun on the streets of Telluride or my sweet little balcony, walking the side streets and trails with my camera, looking for the even numbered magpies, sketching and writing in the coffee shops, and savoring a little time in the spa.  Good days.

The Gondola into Telluride
The Gondola into Telluride
Make a Map:  Things to do in the coffee shop
Make a Map: Things to do in the coffee shop
The gondola goes from Mountain Village up and over the mountain to Telluride in about 15 magic minutes.
The gondola goes from Mountain Village up and over the mountain to Telluride in about 15 magic minutes.
On the Mountain
On the Mountain
Waiting for the sun to set on the mountain top...October 6, 2013.
Waiting for the sun to set on the mountain top…October 6, 2013.
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Pre-dawn ride to the Mountain top…October 7, 2013
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Sunrise…on Telluride’s Mountain…October 7, 2013

On my birthday, I was on the first gondola to the mountain top.  I walked across the ridge waiting for the sunrise, my boots crunching the frosted grass.  Three elk stopped about 50 feet in front of me.  I could see their breath clouds.  After a silent few minutes of mutual acknowledgement, they returned to grazing and I to walking.  I heard their antlers tapping together a few minutes later and turned to see two of them playing like puppies on the mountain side.  Just after sunrise, I called my mother and father from the mountain top.   I talked to several friends that day, had a massage, enjoyed some home-made ice cream and had a perfect little day.  And as I went back over the mountain the final time that evening in the quiet dark of my own gondola, I whispered a few things to my precious grandmother.

Telluride from the gondola in the deep quiet solitude of the mountainside
Telluride from the gondola in the deep quiet solitude of the mountainside.

I drove out of Telluride in the still pitch black morning…at one point a family of deer ran on the windy road alongside my car.  Ah, Telluride…I’ll be back!

 

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