Hiking in the Fall

Early one brittle fall morning, I stopped on a steep trail, caught suddenly by the sun’s angle on the lake below, and on the intervening leaves.  As compelling as was movement, it seemed I must be still and take this moment in.

The water in the distance was bright, almost too luminous to look at full on, creating a backdrop that provided contrast for leaves of maple, white oak, hickory and wild magnolia clamoring for first place in a race for my retina.

Few sights are as stirring as fall leaves in full color with the sun behind them.  I’m always drawn to these, but that day things were different.  Some message was being communicated that day that I had not heard before, some fresh revelation.  It had a lot to do with being still, being fully present.  Perhaps the clarity of the atmosphere, the water, the gentle wind dancing through the limbs; perhaps a certain emptiness or silence in me met this chorus of color and light that polished the floor of my soul with streaming stained glass rays.

What happened as I stood there, taking in this rapturous moment of communication, beauty and belonging, was that I entered a sanctuary of lights and colors; I stepped into the panes of glass, but was not confined within then.  I became a white oak leaf with the light behind.  There was no time here, no boundaries or dimensions; there was only color, light, earth, water and wind…

Alpha and Omega.

A multidimensional shimmering presence seemed to inhabit my vision, my surroundings, my body and my soul.  I must reemphasize that this was boundaryless, floating, rising and penetrating.  It was to be beheld but not possessed.  It was an aesthetic experience, with no desire to possess the mountaintop.  It was as if the mountaintop possessed me.  I was held there, not against my will.  But willed to live completely in the center of the now.  I looked out at life from a place that was the core of all of it – outside, inside, around and through – as a cool, sweet leafy wind whistled through my limbs.

How long this lasted, I can’t say.  Time kept recreating itself, rising from the leaf – layered ground like sun off the facets of a gem.  Why did I move on?  I’m not sure.  I simply sensed it was time to walk on up the trail.  But I felt no loss in leaving.

Had I shed something of myself in that spot?  What had been exchanged?  I felt there had been a transaction, but all had come out on the gain.

Looking back, I know that I had met the Persons Three there, in a house not made with hands, as a soft chorus of fall pastels led my soul to dance on feet that stood completely still.

3 thoughts on “Hiking in the Fall

  1. Just beautiful and so true for me as well. Your photographs are breath-taking; reminding me how grateful I am for the beautiful gifts of nature that surround us. We simply have to step outside, take in a breath and enjoy.

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