The soft, pliable dirt gives a little under my bare feet. I have slipped off my sandals and attached them to my pack. The gentle rush of the creek sings the song of nature as I lightly skip from one rock to another along the bank of the river. The different textures I feel through my feet keep me grounded. I am a part of my surroundings. There is no barrier between me and the earth, no layer of rubber shielding me.
There are so many distractions in the world today. Yelling and screaming, all vying for our limited attention. Out here it is much more peaceful. There is no internet connection, so, at best, I am limited to podcasts and music previously downloaded on my iPod. I usually make the decision to silence these voices and opt instead for writing pen to paper or reading a book. These simple pleasures ground me as well. I can look up from the pages, enjoy the beauty surrounding me and get lost in thought for a moment without the chattering of voices in the background calling me back in.
Hiking down to the creek is a wonderful escape. I love the diversion and entertainment movies, tv, and social media allow, but they pale in comparison to the beauty and life and wonder of the woods out my back door, to the conversations with good friends, and the simple joy of watching a dog run unbound. These sojourns make me feel rooted in something real.
My feet flex and my muscles contract. My eyes on a bird hidden in the brush. My ears take in its melodic song as I sit crouched on a log attempting to burn its plumage into my memory for later research. Even if I never discover its name, that bird still exists and I know its song, its beautiful feathers, for a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
These trees and birds and creeks are to me as a rose. They are my peace. I am nothing and I am everything. Maybe the meaning of life lies in these rocks and the pulse of the stream.
The earth has music for those who listen. —George Santayana