Trailing Off…

The weather this past weekend was as good as it gets; not humid, slight breeze, sunny. And it was a very rare Saturday where I had nothing scheduled!

I decided to take my dog Shaggy for a walk at Wentworth Farm, the idyllic dog walking spot in Amherst, but he didn’t want to go. So instead I figured I’d try to find an entrance to the Robert Frost Trail in that same vicinity. It wasn’t working out. I accosted a stranger walking in the area who also didn’t know a trail entrance but knew it was nearby…

The parking lot behind the Amherst Chinese Christian Church proved a great spot. I found a sweet path and laid down a tiny blanket in a sandy clearing. While eating my sandwich and asking the ants to kindly not crawl up my shorts I read the GAIA student magazine I’d picked up the previous night at the Amherst College planetarium (an amazing presentation by Kevin Collins about the New Horizons 9-year voyage to Pluto about to culminate in unprecedented images on July 15th).

In this magazine was an article about H.D. Thoreau’s daily walking adventures on which he’d converse with his intimates — trees, ants, and of course, The Pond. I realized that I could be kinder to the irritating ants and that my salty legs must be delicious to them. I put part of my sandwich out for them as an offering.

A tiny yellow spider crawled on my leg and I brushed it off, still afraid of such unknown disturbances. I felt bad and wished I could be more like my Hopping Tree Sangha friend Jim who is at one with the insect world. I willed the spider to give me another chance then went back to reading.

It did give me another chance. This time a second absentminded brush on my leg proved fatal. I looked at it, wondering if, like a stunned bird, it would rebound. A leg vibrated. I felt a bit hopeful. The thought crossed my mind that this poor dead spider would be a good meal for another crawling life form.

Within a minute or two an opportunistic ant whisked the spider away to her colony! I felt better. An oriole sang. It was lovely.

Soon I packed up my things, took a deep breath and thanked this little slice of heaven for the opportunity to recharge and humbly remember I’m but a small part in this dynamic ecosystem. And I pondered, “What gains could be had, in our quests to better connect with the land, if our amazing Amherst trails and nature spots were easier to find?”

Or… does one simply find what they need as they are ready to find it?

With Love, Karen