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Cindy Woodall: Meandering with My Mutt

Ordinary wonders


Be forewarned, this article is about a ramble where nothing outstanding, amazing or spectacular occurs. Or maybe it does. ...
My mode these days is geared toward mindfulness. Having read a number of noteworthy books on the subject (my current read an awesome book by Rohan Gunatillake called “Modern Mindfulness”), I’ve decided that today I will engage in my own personal version of walking meditation, attempting to tune out the barrage of background noise in my head and tune into the here and now, focused purely upon the array of wonders set before me by Mother Nature. Jesse is moving rather slowly today, an ideal pace, as it encourages me to proceed likewise, taking the time to truly appreciate all that surrounds me.
To start with, there is the symphony that is the plethora of birdsong. Amidst this, a thrush sits atop a towering spruce, beak raised to the sky, warbling its melodic song, welcoming us into his world. Somewhat comedic, and seemingly in retort, a catbird shrieks the raucous mew for which it is named, admonishing us to keep our distance.
A string of swallows sits perched upon electric wires, breaking from their relaxation with elegant dives and swoops before returning to rest beside their cronies. A short distance down the towpath is a group of geese that is far more than a gaggle and much more like an entire town, waddling along with their almost-full-grown progeny in tow. Up ahead, a kingfisher maneuvers effortlessly, gliding above the surface of the canal.
Jesse and I saunter along the towpath in sync with the sluggish current of the waterway. Weeping tree branches droop overhead, limbs reaching into the water. Many of the trees lining the canal are grand in girth, humungous in height. They are hundreds of years old and will remain long after we are gone.

An abundance of wildflowers adorns the way – the last vestiges of bright orange day lilies, the vibrant rosiness of miniscule Deptford pink, and the gauzy flower heads of Queen Anne’s lace. Entwined everywhere, gracing the landscape, are the pale purple-pink blooms of crown vetch.
A gentle drizzle falls as our outing draws to a close, and I savor the coolness of the moisture against my skin. As we approach the car, Jesse proceeds to embark upon his own path of mindfulness, circling the parking lot, slowly taking in all the delectable scents of the dogs that have been here before him. I boost him into the back of the car, and as I towel dry his coat he leans into my hands, luxuriating in one of his favorite things – an all-over body rub. Dogs don’t ponder the past or worry about the future, they live in the present; they are masters of mindfulness.
Today’s has been a stroll about discovering the sublime within the ordinary, grace within serenity. I head home with a quiet mind, calm in spirit. Maybe our ramble has been quite remarkable after all. ...
Cindy Woodall resides in Upper Black Eddy.