Tales from the Bent Twig Trail: A Meditative Morning

By Wren Smith

morning ligth

“Mornings are my favorite time of day, but it’s a shame they only last til noon,” my friend Joyce Fry announced a few years ago during a shared morning hike. Being one of the lucky ones who sleeps soundly and wakes up early, refreshed by the mysterious and restorative  power of a good night’s rest, I find myself repeating her words often. Morning walks seem more magical, more mysterious and for me, more meditative. Don’t get me wrong; I know that evenings along this trail and in other parts of Bernheim Forest are full of activity as the nocturnal creatures, such as flying squirrels, skunks, bats, raccoon, and many kinds of moths bustle or fly about in search of food or mates. But there is something about the morning light and the way it softens the landscape that invites contemplation. Today the echoing song of the woodthrush which (reminds me of  a flute  in a jar) intones a bit of melancholy. Like other landscapes, a forest trail changes not just through years and seasons, but daily.  And so too, does our own perspective.

Writer and Interpreter, William Lewis in his delightful and practical book, Interpreting for Park Visitors introduces the concept of the interactive threesome – basically describing  the dynamic intersection where the interpretive guide, the resource, (in this case Bent Twig Trail) and the visitor (or reader) meet. As your guide today, I am not the same as I was last month, or last week or even yesterday. Everything I see, read or encounter adjusts the tuning of how and what I perceive, and how I share it. Likewise your experiences alter your perspective.  I walked the trail this morning with a deeper awareness of the nature of change,  and acute sensitivity to how fragile life is. The Bent Twig Trail makes this case evident. Downed trees are turning to compost all around me; even the bent tree for which this trail was named crashed to the ground during a storm a couple of years ago. Nearby a mysterious mound of earth marks the passage of one of the giants in our forest, covered in a green burial shroud of moss. I am, we all are, surrounded by death at every turn, yet life, with all its humming buzzing and bumbling about, calls to us. It asks us to join in, to be awake,  to notice, savor and share in the beauty or stand in awe of its mysteries, to love deeply. Life is too short to do otherwise. I share this blog post in honor of William Lewis, Interpreter par excel-lance who died last week, and my kind and talented friend Laurie Davison, who tragically left us less than a month ago, and way too soon. Rest in peace my friends. Yes, giants among us.

Want more tales from Bent Twig? Click here to view the archive.fallen giant

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