The Buddha practiced walking meditation on the banks of the Neranjara River. That muddy water is just an out of focus memory now—years since I forded the warm, shallow river by foot on my little pilgrimage to the Mahakala Caves. These days I practice on the banks of the Truckee River, which is cold and clear and far away as can be.
There’s a path through a patch of wild roses that I like to pace. No flowers this time of year, but a good path— well worn— between two ponderosa pines.
My foot rocks from heel to toe in a slow arc. Sun on the front of my legs, the back of my legs are cold. Sun on the back of my legs, the front of my legs are cold.
I tell myself, “when walking just walk,” but I was raised by devoted birdwatchers.
It’s always something. I hear a red-tailed hawk cry above me and try not to look up. Try not to look for her shadow either. I hear a jay and try to discern—scrub or Steller’s? Twenty steps, turn, twenty steps, turn.
Mid-turn I glance up, and my eye catches on two mergansers swimming upstream. Their heads are below the surface, scanning for something good to eat. They are joined by a third, and overhearing the little barks of their private conversation gives me a thrill.
How can it be enough to make the mental note, “hearing?” How can I resist running upstream with them? I need to know what else they might have to say.
One thought on “The daily dilemma”
you were there at the right time to see those beings, when you did. They are beautiful and so are you. love you