Thursday, November 1, 2007

FIELD NOTES: I heard it falling before I saw it...

The top of November, 2007 I walked in Harrybrooke. A huge limb in the woods beside the railroad tracks caused an old childhood riddle to come to mind, the one that asks if a falling tree makes a sound if no one is there to hear it. The cascade of crackling ended when the other trees held up their arms to stop the descent. A recent New York Times article spoke of the new controversy among marathon runners and the banning of headphones at races. Not being a marathoner, I won’t take one side over the other, but I myself don’t walk with headphones because walking is a chance to hear what is around me and to listen to the rhythm of my own breathing and heartbeat and footstep. And what about my footstep? Is it too big? Can we keep the marketing world from gorging themselves on this new idea of reducing our ‘global footprint’ and make it a positive societal change rather than an American fad? If I cannot save the world, I can walk gracefully. I can grow tall enough to see above the short-sighted and at the same time I can reserve judgment on the easily judged. My personal priorities are my personal priorities - no one else’s – and vice-versa. I do not have to have the aspirations of a meteor or a dinosaur to leave behind a big impression. I can be the first frog or turtle or fish of springtime whose ripples delight and then disappear. I can erase my tracks as if walking with the brush of a pine bough behind me. And when I crack and begin to fall, I can hope there will be enough arms held up to stop my descent. The woods changed their footprint today. And I heard it.

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