I went for a walk by Antrim Lake today because my body threatened, very seriously, to quit if I were to subject it to any more well-intentioned physical abuse at the gym. It turned out to be a good walking meditation, one I needed pretty badly…probably the reason I’m not thinking very clearly is because I am not giving myself time and space to think. Der.
I left Camera at home, because I’m fast approaching the point in Ansel Adams’ adage where images become inadequate and thus I need to be content with silence. After one lap around the lake, I went back to the car for my journal and reading, intending to go back around in the opposite direction to the far side of the lake and go off the trail toward the river. When I reached the turnoff point I’d seen on my first round, however, I didn’t stop. I kept going. I passed the perfect place to stop because 1) I thought there might be a better spot ahead; 2) I thought the departure point was at the wrong spot in the loop. I wanted to go further before stopping to ensure that I’d have a quick and easy trip back to the parking lot after I finished writing. Everything was driven by some deranged drive to…to…what?!
So I peeled off the trail a bit further along, only to find that I couldn’t even see the river from that point on the off-trail. I crashed forward for a bit, hoping the river might curve back toward the off-trail, but knowing instinctively that it wouldn’t. At that point I had a choice: to keep going and forget my stopping spot, go all the way around and hit the spot again, or turn around and go back.
I decided to turn back. I knew all along that was the right place to stop, but didn’t listen to my instinct. I wanted to go and sit and think and write and be still, not walk another 1.2 miles of penance before getting to my reward. So I went back. The spot was different from what I imagined…it was harder finding a place to sit than I thought. But I found a tree to balance on, and wrote. Then I stopped writing, and watched. The birds sang and cartwheeled, and I saw a deer. And some sort of creature swimming along almost completely submerged…it was too far for me to see what it was. And I was honest with myself. And I discovered my next painting in my mind. (Finally!)
Content and at peace, I decided keep going in the same direction, but along the off-trail this time, back toward the park entrance. And I found places even more beautiful than the one at which I’d sat. So at some point soon, I’m going to go back. With my camera. And my words. And my silence.