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It’s all about the Journey.  Not the Destination.  Right?

Today’s mission:  to walk through the cedar swamp and reach the lake. 

Could it be done?  Would it be possible to actually navigate through dense undergrowth, across swampy streams, beneath whipping branches, around massive trees lying in dozens of different poses?

I tried last Sunday and failed.

Would today prove a success?

Time:  9:30 a.m.  Left note on table telling working husband my destination, in case the swamp claimed me as its own.  Began to meander through the rather tame maple, poplar, ash, spruce and oak woods that we call “our own”.

Oh look!  A wasp nest in that tree.  How close dare I get to snap a photo?

About a seven inch round wasp nest.  Better not get any closer!

About a seven inch round wasp nest. Better not get any closer!

About ten or twenty minutes later, the aforementioned swamp presented itself.  Time for the challenge!  Time to bravely attempt to penetrate its depths.  Can’t you almost hear the loon calling?  The ducks quacking?  Don’t you really want to see them?  I certainly did.  Time to enter the enchanted forest…

Look at those roots.

Look at those roots.

A damp and quiet hush exists in the cedar swamp.  Light shines irregularly, illuminating only what it desires.  If you’re not careful, you trip.  And stumble.  And mutter beneath your breath. 

If you’re careful, you walk slowly and dance almost imperceptibly with the landscape.  It blocks your way with sixteen fallen trees; you move rhythmically to the right or left, staying aware, trying to determine the flow of the hidden path.

Impenetrable swamp.

Impenetrable swamp.

The lake wavers in and out of vision.  You know it exists up ahead.  But how to reach it?  How to reach it without a soaked leg?  Without falling into a stream?  Without your clothes being torn to shambles by knife-like branches? 

“It’s about the journey,” you say, insistently to yourself.  To the swamp.  To whoever might care.

Ahhh, there she is, sliver of lake!  How can we reach you?

Ahhh, there she is, sliver of lake! How can we reach you?

But because part of you is remembering the importance of the Journey, and the way the mind can deceive us into thinking only the Destination has value…you stop and breathe and truly start to notice all the bits of beauty around.   And the cedar swamp IS the most beautiful place in the world, just on its own.  It’s truly enchanted. It only wants us to see its green and ragged world, its shadow and sunlight, its impenetrable delight.

Look!  Down on the ground.  A fish skeleton gleams up in its shadowed whiteness.

Fish bone

Fish bone

And because you’re truly present with the cedar swamp, suddenly no longer caring if you reach the lake or not, guess what opens up?  The lake!  Suddenly, there you are.  It’s still a little challenged to view it in its entirety, and a cattail swamp filters the view, but, hey!, it’s awesome.  You made it.  I made it.  We made it. 

The Mind has a big problem, in that it often then says stuff like, “OK, we’re here. Let’s go now.”  You just have to roll your eyes when the Mind says things like that.  You must then, painstakingly, either ignore the Mind or simply just sit down on the bank and relax and breathe and give thanks for all your blessings.  Just sit and let your awareness open up more and more and more.  Until, suddenly, you know it’s time to go home. 

So back through the cedar swamp you walk, looking, looking.  Listening, listening.  Feeling, feeling.  And still more marvels present themselves as you slowly travel back through the woods.

I am still amazed at this tiny mushroom-like creature growing on a log.  Have never seen one before!  Isn’t life filled with miracles, each and every day?

Wow, to think that this exists!

Wow, to think that this exists!


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