The place where I do yoga is amazingly beautiful. It is perched on top of a hill, the driveway is steep and switches back on itself to accommodate the incline and distance. The house is surrounded by loosely tidy gardens…and the looseness of them is relaxed and beautiful…It makes the gardens more real. The yoga studio is attached to the far side of the house, overlooking the hill and across the valley to the mountain. The studio wall facing this view is all windows which just invites you to fall into the stunning view. To the side of the studio is a pond with a grassy bank on one side and tree covered ledge on the other side. The far end of the pond has some large rocks with two bunches of white birch trees….Again…stunningly beautiful. As I waited for the Yoga Teacher to be ready for our session, I was staring out at the pond and watching a dragonfly skimming the surface. The pond was lively with insects. On the far end of the pond, the water was still and the birch trees reflected, reaching towards me across the water.
When the Yoga Teacher came into the studio, she asked what I was seeing and I told her I was watching the dragonfly on the pond. She then invited us to start our session by spending five minutes outside….To find something “exquisite” and to spend time in meditation on it. I loved the idea! So, I went outside ahead of her (she was getting her timer) and walked down to the far end of the pond. I was barefoot…which is very atypical for me, but I had already removed my shoes for yoga…so was unshod and unsocked.
As I walked along the bank of the pond, I was aware of everything…but not in the tense, hypervigilant way that I usually am, but in a relaxed, “my body is here” way. The grass under my feet was soft and cool and slightly damp, the grass changed to luscious dense moss…the dark kind that looks like tiny little pine trees, soft and springy under my feet. (And it was the same exact moss from the Art Therapist/hill climbing dream and also was what I was looking for in last night’s dog dream as a soft place to lay down.)
Once at the end of the pond, I made my way onto a large flat rock…the kind that is slightly concave and makes a huge shallow bowl. I surprised a frog that jumped into the pond with a “plurp” as he hit the water. A squirrel briefly scolded my presence but then settled into the quiet. I looked at the frays of peeling bark on the birch trees and the medallions of lichen on a rock that was just on the edge of the water. It had different kinds of lichen, with different colors and textures. I became aware of the fact that as I was soaking all of this in…I was present. I was there. I was in the moment. The world had stopped whirling around me…my inner tornado had stopped. It was me, the rock, the tree….It just was.
The pond is on ledge, and the water has old leaves in the bottom….I know this kind of water, I have seen it in other places before…It is dark and brown…Not unclean, or yucky, but steeped, like tea, dark and brewed and dense. And water like that…you can’t see into it very well…but it does reflect nicely.
As I looked at the lichen covered rock and around that dark end of the pond….I saw the sky. Right in front of me, vibrant on the surface of the water was the blue of the sky and the soft flowing of the clouds. I watched the clouds appear against the edge of the shadow of the trees, and slide their way across the water. And I felt very moved…tearful. Something opened inside of me…softened for those few minutes and I felt it. I don’t know what I felt…It was big…But not scary. Nor did it have the menace of those kind of feelings that threaten to swallow me whole. I don’t know the right word for it…but in that moment, I wasn’t feeling fragmented and broken…I just felt me.
And then it hit me. The sky. I was seeing the sky. This sky, reflected in the pond…the right-here-right-now moment…This is what I have spent two weeks looking for. Do you remember? Two Thursdays ago, the Art Therapist charged me with looking at the sky…An assignment that I didn’t understand and haven’t actually even discussed again with him. And I have spent the past two weeks dutifully looking up at the sky…and not seeing. Sure, I saw the blue and some interesting clouds…but I was looking for something and just not finding it. But when I saw the sky in the pond…I knew immediately, that this was the sky I had been looking for. And I ended up having to look down to see it…Not up. And I wasn’t even looking for it when I found it. And it made me feel like crying…like something inside me got unstuck for those few minutes and I could feel it.
I tried to memorize everything about the moment so I could carry it with me like I do Pocket Peace. I don’t know if I did…but I have a pretty good picture in my mind of the sky in the pond.
I just don’t know the last time I felt that present…Or if I have ever felt that present. It was pretty amazing.