|The Pacific Ocean from Red Hill 2/6/11|
Sarah and I have enjoyed several hikes recently. We're planning to go out into nature again today—this time out to the dunes by the Pacific.
Deng Ming-Dao wrote a wonderful book of contemplations called 365 Tao which I include in my daily morning activities. Here's the passage for Feb. 11—
Trail beside stream,
Rocky red earth,
Walking may be a good metaphor for spiritual life, but there are times when simple hiking is literally the best activity. When one walks in the woods or climbs mountains, there is a wonderful unity of body, mind, and spirit. Hiking strengthens the legs, increases stamina, invigorates the blood, and soothes the mind. Away from the madness of society, one is freed to observe nature’s lessons.
Erosion. Gnarled roots. The carcass of a dead deer. A flight of swallows. The high spirals of hawks. Bladed reflections of rushing water. Just budding bare branches. Gray rock, cracked, shattered, and worn. A fallen tree. A lone cloud. The laughter of plum branches. Even a little circle of rocks beside the trail—who put them there, or did any hand arrange them, and no matter which, what are the secrets of that circle?
There are a thousand meanings in every view, if only we open ourselves to see the scripture of the landscape.