Fall has stripped the trees, and now the impending darkness of winter looms over us. Pretty soon the barren trees will be glistening with ice and the ground will be covered with white. That’s when I may bring my camera back out. It’s been a while since I’ve used it. Yesterday in the woods I found myself under a brillian umbrella of yellow oak leaves — almost gossamer with the sun shining through them. I just stood, staring, trying to capture and hold the beauty, thinking about all of the opportunities I miss when I don’t take my camera with me.
When winter comes, I will think of the world as being dismal and vacant and quiet of life, and I will hole up in my house, not wanting to go out into the freezing slippery world. My camera will prove to me that there is so much more to the winter landscape than stark and silence.
Winter consumes New England. It starts early and ends well into spring.
The reason I talk about winter is that fall, as beautiful as it is, is always a foreboding of winter to come. The winter world is beautiful but life is harsh. Fall is the time that I’m reminded of the concept of being in the here and now and not living in the future by dreading winter.
Yesterday I did an exercise. The purpose for sitting meditation practice is to learn the sense of meditation. In theory, that practice should carry over into the rest of your day. Last night I decided to continue my meditation as I walked doggy for his late-night walk. I continued to focus on my outbreath.
I think that’s what mindfulness is all about — meditation in action. Not just focusing on the outbreath, but focusing on the world around you — being totally present. It’s the pinpoint ability to focus that we’re practicing when we meditate. Then in the real world, when something tries to piss us off, we can use that ability to focus on what matters and not let ourselves get sidetracked from things we’re needing or wanting to accomplish.