What Do You See?

 

Ellen Michaels
Ellen Michaels

Occasionally, a neighbor crosses our fields, homeward bound after a strenuous afternoon scrambling around ponds and up and down rocky hills on the land behind ours. A couple of days ago he discovered me sitting in the midst of the meadow, savoring the passing fleecy clouds, listening to the wind whispering in the dried grass, picking up the song of the last of the crickets, watching a large, green grasshopper hawking over the meadow, feeling the still-warm wind on my uplifted cheeks.

“Tell me,” he said. “I come on you sitting here and I can’t imagine what you can see. Are you looking for deer? Is there a special hawk you’re hoping to see?” He’s clearly uncomfortable finding me sitting like this.

Inwardly I sigh. How can I possibly explain to this friend the richness of being here? In truth I wouldn’t know where to begin. Deer and hawks are fine, but no more so than the shimmering host of sulphur butterflies dancing around the purple asters.

I could tell him that I enjoy keeping out of the lengthening shadows by following the sun’s path, bumping my chair along behind me. I could explain that I don’t want to miss an unexpected flight of bluejays, bright against the dark blue autumn sky, dipping their way high above me as they head to harvest acorns from the oak ridges that enclose our valley.

But, in simplest terms, although I relish the passing show around me, I’m actually not looking for anything when I visit the meadow this way. There is a kind of meditative being here which goes beyond looking and beyond words.

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