Yesterday as I was driving back up the mountain after some errands in town, I turned off what I was listening to as I reached the gravel road so that I could listen to the mountain. I have done this ever since I once read an essay of Wendell Berry’s in which he said that out of respect for deep nature, whenever he is driving through it he turns off the music or radio. I love that. It’s like you have entered into a church and you take on a different mode of attention.
The road these days is muddy, snowy, icey and messy. As I drove up the section that has a stream coming down the mountain right next to it I saw the clear, clean water dancing over the rocks, rushing down past me. My attention was drawn to it in such a way that I felt like it was talking to me, hollering “Hey, over here.” I think “What?” Everything around the stream looked frozen, dead and stagnant but the water just kept moving on toward its destination.
I got it. That was the message. Living up here alone, I do feel part of the landscape and often find that I am feeling and behaving just as it is. Which lately means frozen, stagnant, muddy. It is as if the “stream of consciousness” was calling out to my unconsciousness saying “You’re not completely frozen!” So today I’m making an effort to unstick myself from the cabin feverish, inert feeling and let the stream talk to me more. I’m thinking of a quote by Alfred Adler that I have taped to the wall in my office: “Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events not of words. Trust movement.” That quote along with one by D.H. Lawrence often work together to fortify my heart, helping me to just stay with it, whatever it is, every day, don’t get stuck and don’t be anxious. I can’t quote Lawrences’s words exactly, but the message is burned into my brain. It’s like this: “Do what is right under your nose to do, that’s all. It’s the hardest thing to do, that’s why so few people do it.” Exactly. When I look up and start to worry about the future that’s when I get frozen. Focus right under my nose. Do the next thing. One step at a time. Let my heart lead the way. Don’t worry about where it is going, just keep it going. The destination isn’t the point. It’s the movement. Trust movement.
Nature on the mountain is resting and pregnant with the future right now. And so am I. It isn’t worried. Nor should I be. I’ll just keep moving.