Just a note..., Life on The Mountain

Mindfulness: Spring Sunshine and Squirrels

Many spiritual traditions teach the lesson of mindfulness: focusing on the here & now, being attentive & mindful of everything around you, that rises within your mind, but without grasping to hold on to it.

I’ve been practicing today, and here are some of the things I experienced…

Sun & warmth, the warmest day of the Spring. It calls to me, begs to be lain in, luxuriated in like a long hot soak in a tub full of water. Spring sunshine on my bare body, resting beneath the warm, life-giving sun. Muscles relax into limp pools as they melt in the warmth. So nice, the kiss of breeze, rolling around hot skin, a cooling touch, so gentle. The trees toss & turn under the deep blue sky, swaying so gracefully. Birds, newly returned, serenade my ears, flashing here & there as they work on nest-building. A woodpecker hunts for food, his rat-a-tat-tat echoing through the tree-drum and off the hills. The sound of humankind, carried from near, and as sometimes happens here, far: car engines, traffic, planes passing high overhead. Skin getting too warm, sweat beginning to flow. Shifting positions, redirecting the strength of the sun to other spots, muscles long tight loosening up  in the relentless warmth. The sky seen through the intersecting branches, the blue-purple mountains beyond. So beautiful, so peaceful, so safe. Perfection.

And from earlier:

I watch a pair of squirrels, perhaps 20′ away, and they were so absorbing. The first one, dashing to the ground, digging furiously, then dashing back up to her fallen branch perch. She sits and peels her find, always her ears listening, pausing to check for danger, then back to eating her  prized find. Finished, she assumes a different position, body slung low against the branch, tail flat, front legs extended & head stretched up high. She freezes in position, and I think I would not know she were there, so perfect is her camouflage, her stillness. She hold this position a long time, and it reminds me of a yoga position. Soon she is back to the ground, and another squirrel, smaller, scrawnier, joins her. He has but one thing on his mind, and tries to mount her several times. I wonder how long it takes squirrels,   and if he has succeeded before she turns & chases him off.  He is more brave – or foolish – than her. He rustles through the leaves on the ground, but she clearly wants to have the safety of a tree or branch under her feet – she dashes down, focusing on finding food, and returns a few feet up a tree or a branch. Several more times, she assumes the odd position, once while “upside down” – her tail flat against the tree to the top, body stretched out against it, front legs stretched out holding her chest & head up high, and freezes in position. Marking  her territory? Spreading her scent to call more males? It is entirely ritualistic, intensely instinctual. Altogether intriguing.

Not a bad day, all in all. Headache rising now, and very tired, but that’s okay.

Much better to focus on the gifts the Universe provides than those She takes away.

(Sun image from virgomerry)

4 thoughts on “Mindfulness: Spring Sunshine and Squirrels”

  1. I could only read some of this piece. I’m going outside, just in the yard to get closer to nature and let it be, just how it is…

    I’ll come back to finish this 🙂


    1. I go outside many times a day, even if only for a few minutes. We have a screened in porch as well as a large deck. On the porch I have a “sling chair” I guess you would call it – canvas, hung by a rope to the ceiling. It is my salvation – it conforms to my back so well & takes the ache away, as I rock the pain from the arthritis in my bad knee away.

      From my sling chair I can just “be” and watch the play of sun on clouds & sky, watch the snowflakes fall, the swifts building their nests, or the squirrels as I mentioned above. It is the perfect spot for sunsets, and from our high perch on the mountain I can see the lights of Front Royal below us at night. It is also where I keep my ivory & stone working tools, and will work a little bit at a time, 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there.

      I truly think I would go crazy were it not for our porch & my chair. It is my link to the natural world, sheltered from the worst of the rain & snow, soothing to body & soul.

      It’s kind of funny because when we bought the house I thought the porch was gross & dirty & that I’d never use it, but other than my bedroom it is where I spend the most time. 🙂


  2. Hi Ash,

    I must say you sure make me miss the mountains. For several years I cried missing them, then I pretty much got over it. My son never got over it. I know this is the truth, even if he doesn’t say it. He said the other day he wants to go back and I shiver. So many things happened in A’ville. Sigh… He got so sick there and the people he remembers were not our friends in the end. Sorry I regress.

    I love your writing! It is absolutely beautiful. Have you tried the voice program? I have one but haven’t learned it. I need to figure out a way to write besides sitting. I’m going to doc today cuz legs hurt sooo much. I think it’s from sitting and typing. I have a small computer but haven’t figured out a position to be in while typing.

    I wish I had one of those chairs. I have a deck with woods and it is nothing like I was used to in the mountains. Like you, I had a view.

    I have a chair out there but hardly ever do I just go out there. I really think I would if I had one of those hanging. I have two trees right beside the deck and the lst people who lived here had a hammock there. Maybe I should look into it. Not for typing I guess, but for sky gazing and can you read a book while you lie in it?

    Thanks for writing. I loved reading this.

    PS Your reply is as good as the post :)!
    hugs and healing to you my friend!


    1. Hi Michelle!
      Glad you liked what I wrote, though sorry it made you miss the mountains. Asheville is a beautiful area & I would miss it, too! I’ve only been through there a few times, but loved it.
      You know, I fell in love with these mountains as a child, growing up in the suburbs of DC. We’d take drives out here and on the Skyline Drive in the Spring & Fall, and everytime we headed back to our house I’d stare out the back window, silently crying as my beloved Blue Ridge faded into the distance.
      As an adult, I first lived near Roanoke, then into the wilds of West Virginia, then SE Ohio, and finally made it back here after I got sick. I came back to my mom’s house looking for better doctors, then when I thought things were somewhat stable finally moved here. That was in Spring, 2000, so I’ve now lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere else in my life. This is home, where I’ve finally put down roots of love into the land.

      I’m sorry your legs are hurting – I write both on my cell phone as I am now, as well as on my ancient laptop, which is on an adjustable stand in front of a big, soft, lazy boy. I cannot sit for long now, so it’s great to have the cell to use from any position.

      Hugs & hope for pain relief!

      PS. You can find me on facebook as wolfdreams & we can friend each other!


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