Yesterday, Sadie and I drove to Carnegie Lake. Because it was so early in the day, it was only the two of us on the trail. I'm always glad to walk on the trails in Princeton, mostly because it's meditatively quiet, but also because the other humans we do happen to meet are so happy and friendly. I'm sure anyone would smile watching a three-legged dog burst forward, running so fast she almost trips, until she finally collapses at the feet of her destination, and all this with her mouth wide open.
Something I continue to love about walking on the trail is the realization I have, over and over, that there can be no question of intention, or perhaps there simply does not have to be. No need to explain who you are or even why you have come. Who or what would give mind to these answers, or dare to ask such questions?
As a child wandering, the woods could be no less than a series of constellations, a landscape where meaning wrapped around the limbs of trees and lakes the way it does when one imagines a thought. If anything, such an experience (if you agree with the contention) might reveal some of the complexities that surround existence, not only within what's traditionally titled the "natural," but many different types of landscape.
My experience at Carnegie Lake led to a poem. It appears in its latest form below.
It is not enough for you to stay on the path
and today you have caught yourself in a deep trough
of thorn. It must feel only like rough leaves
as it takes shape beside your canine hair.
You look at my face.
I think you want me to come along.
I am wishful in wanting your tireless sense
in hoping for the estrangement you seem to know
every time the trees move,
as if this were a sign from some strange God.
Somewhere close to stasis, we sit by the water.
There is no thing holding our selves to this ground
other than a complex mass of body.
I read this in a textbook in sixth grade,
yet I only know this as I rise from bed and fall
into the heavy weight of living,
which draws itself out into shadows of thread.
For now, we are simply here,
beside a lake and some ducks.
They seem to care less about our presence
than even the light,
which can be seen with arms of dark rain
reaching over the near-by highway.