The Wagtail Calls
Sept 12–16, Hunenberg, Switzerland
Seasonal Memoir Entry #26
I decided to take an early morning Sunday walk before the day’s cold rain arrived, and before I sat down to spend several hours grading and giving feedback to my GOA Positive Psychology students. With an umbrella in hand (which was needed just a few minutes into my walk), I deliberately left with only my keys; it was simply too peaceful to bring along the phone. I wanted to see what I’d observe on the walk, which would be for me only, and not captured digitally for posterity’s sake. Here’s what caught my attention, besides my aching left knee (caused by an inflamed IT band).
Rain falling on the rows of corn. I heard it before I even felt the wetness on me — a very subtle sound. The leaves of the stalks were catching the rain drops, and signalling the interruption to their morning. The cumulative effect was a soothing white noise, as if something more grand would come later.
Cows munching in the meadow. The rain picked up its intensity in earnest, but the cows seemed hardly to notice. Some in the small herd looked up at me out of curiosity, but it wasn’t until I got much closer to them that I again heard the cutting of the grass as the bovines hoovered up their fill. I could hear simultaneous suctioning and chewing noises; I took notice as to how active this act of grazing was, and not at all a lazy, passive one.
A sublime shrine at the edge of a wood. I had walked by this small monument before, which consisted of a small stone “house”, no larger than a few square meters. A sitting area allowed a visitor to look into an open, but locked chamber, which contained three wooden saints (Joseph, John, and Catherine), all facing a burning candle. The shrine offered a respite from the rain, but the whole presentation caught my attention, and I accepted its invitation to sit there and go to a deeper place.
A snail making its way across a yew bush. Aside from the sheer beauty of this young and healthy animal, it was the slow pace that caught my attention. It was moving at its own pace, as snails do (which would have been excruciatingly slow for humans and many other animals), and doing so methodically, using its ocular tentacles to make sure its path was clear. Breathtaking to just watch in silence.
Lessons abound on this walk, as I suspected.