Monday, April 14, 2008

Filling what is empty and emptying what is full...

When Spring unfolds the beechen leaf, and sap is in the bough;
When light is on the wild-wood stream, and wind is on the brow;
When stride is long, and breath is deep, and keen the mountain-air,
Come back to me! Come back to me, and say my land is fair!

Excerpt from "The Ent and the Entwife", J.R.R. Tolkien

There are few things better at blowing the winter cobwebs out of your head than a spring breeze and a fast flowing stream. I've been spending my last few Mondays, wandering through field and wood in an effort to raise my spirits through the cunning use of endorphins. Today I was lucky enough to spend walking through the most beautiful place in the world, Parfrey's Glen.

I meant to go out Geocaching today, and indeed, I did bag a few caches along Hwy 113 between Madison and Baraboo. I even got to take the Merrimac Ferry... check it out...

All of this, however, paled in comparison to the final destination of todays wanderings.

You have never met a merrier stream than that which flows through the glen. It runs and tumbles down the length of the trail as a constant and steadfast companion. It laughs, sings and babbles it's way along. Here a small run splits off in search of new rocks and logs to leap over, giggling. Here it flows back together to hold hands as it vaults over a mighty boulder with a charging yalp and rush.

You wish this picture had sound...

Right about where I took this picture, the sun was filtering though the pines, bright but not bright enough to be hot. The trees sheltered the wind and there is this amazing tree that is bent in such a way as to make the perfect seat on the ground with my back at just the right angle for lounging. It even had good lumbar support. I sat, smoked my favorite pipeweed and listened to the stream at play. I even took a nap.

Taoists make frequent use of the water analogy and indeed, I've learned a few things from the principle. If you can forgive me for waxing rhapsodic for a second, I will say that in this little stream, I see the truth of it and more.

By the way, if you're all busy with your lives and your works or are locked in an office or factory, I'd just like to point out from one who has seen green grass pushing it's way up through the last of the winter snow, spring is here. Though the end of the glen was deep enough to shelter a few inches of dirty snow, the green ferns are pushing their way up and getting on with the business of the season. It seems to me that the spring has been delayed so long that green is now built up as a flood behind a dam or like a eager dog straining at it's leash. Even though the nights are still cold, the pressure has built up too much to be restrained and what I saw today was the cracks finally starting to spurt. I think our first warm night will let loose a great diastolic thump so loud we'll probably be able to hear the sap flooding up the trees into the air.

Also, as a good pagan, I'd also like to remind all of you more straight-laced and parsimonious folks out here that this is the time of year to allow yourself at least a few moments of levity and abandon. Drink some wine, think about naked people, eat some rich and unhealthy food with no guilt in your soul.

A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown --
Who ponders this tremendous scene --
This whole Experiment of Green --
As if it were his own!

- Emily Dickinson



Lisa said...

What perfect timing. I just came in from unearthing some of my perennials, dirt still under my fingernails, spring itching my nose, and I sit and read your lovely post. Thank you for that.

Jules said...

Mmmmmmm but the best, most exquisite part of your experience isn't that you had it, Bryan - it's that you were aware enough to take notice *AND* appreciate it. After all - it was there for all to enjoy, how many did?

Heck - that you shared it here is your gift to us - so thank you. :-)