Walking Meditation

Walking meditation with a snail.
No, really! Look!
Imagine carrying your house on your back.
Lifting, placing, heel then toes.
Watch out for the snail!
Feeling this muscle tighten while that one loosens.
Toes wiggling.
Attention gliding over ankles, shins, knees, thighs,
Noticing a hand clenched into a fist and a pinching between shoulder blades.
Soft front, strong back.
Left hand in front now just below my heart.
Thumb tucked safely between the other fingers.
The right hand gently embracing them.
The breath knows what to do.
I watch, hoping to learn its secrets.
A car whizzes by.
Intruding on the silence that isn’t so silent if you really listen.
Really. Listen.
Twigs snap and leaves crackle underfoot.
A dog barks in the distance.
Cicadas and a cardinal, first a solo, then a duet.
Diesel fumes.
Is that chai? Or just cinnamon?
There is another smell, you know the one, a mixture of grass and earth.
And something else. The air maybe.
Is there even a word for that?
Is it even a smell?
Or is it a sensation in my nostrils?
A red leaf flutters to the ground, resting for the briefest moment on my shoulder
Meow! Come, say hello to me
The little black cat beckons, offering, requesting friendship.
Or maybe that was me.
When I stopped to talk, listen really, to a young tree.
A quiet spot to sit, there, under another tree.
This one is taller, older, wiser.
And it offers shade.
The ground soft, pliable, giving, solid and strong all at once.
I walk these paths every day
But I’ve never seen any of this before.
I didn’t know moss green came in so many different shades.
There is a hole in the ground.
And another one two feet away.
Is one an entrance and the other an exit to and from an underground abode?
You’re crying, the pine cone seems to say, as it soaks up a tear.
How could I not cry.
I smile.