Tree Hugging Deluxe: An infinite Moment
We Head back from “enough” on the trail in the Galiuro Mountains. We have been on a stroll to what we are told is “a stand of aspens” where the trail turns and goes up to a peak in the wilderness.
The foliage has gotten thick, scratchy and we’re finding obstructions frequently. We may have missed our turn. Perhaps there is no stand of aspens. One day, I’ll return during a retreat in this canyon, so today, we are easily deterred. We only intended to enjoy wandering a naturist’s paradise, not bushwhacking through overgrown wilderness.
You can see and read the prelude to this story here:
We haven’t exerted ourselves and it is a fun comfortable return. There is no “trudging” on sore feet earning our way back to a camp. This is a walk in the park.
As I pass a stand of manzanita in bloom and creating buds, I once again smell a familiar scent passing on the wind. I know it from way back, but I just can’t place it. It isn’t the manzanita. This time DF is there as the breeze is up. She doesn’t recognize it either.
Several hundred feet down the trail, we are bypassing the road in order to ford the creek. I do smell something recognizable, it’s a skunk. I’m reluctant and alert, as I round a rock wall in a narrows. If there is a skunk in the way, I don’t want to spook it. There is no good way to get around it here. It could be a trap…We enjoy good fortune, no critter.
We come again to former landmarks. There is that one tall dead tree in the trail. It is unmistakable.
We have lost our sense of time.
We took so long with so many distractions on our way, we have no idea how long it will take us to get back.
Each landmark marks the trail, but we can’t remember where along the route we are standing.
With sunlight important, we just don’t know when we will get back.
The wind pops up and swirls through the canyon. DF raises her hands with joy, as the old tired leaves float gently down on us like snow.
DF stops to decide which pine-cone that she will carry back as a souvenir.
She has been talking of a tree meditation that she intends to do. She has gotten so involved with the moment, it has been forgotten two weekends in a row. Still, it is important to her. I suggest we do it now. We are crossing in a dry part of the creek under the canopy of a towering ponderosa red pine. If there is a tree to respect, this would be it.
She explains the ritual to me from her notes. It feels good to drop the backpack, camera and sarong shawl. I feel light, naked and even more free.
I walk up a hill that has been compelling to me, even before, as we came by the first time. A passageway leads me through some leaves and around a boulder.
I find a piece of the hill under the leaves has been scraped away. Something’s big foot has slipped down going up this incline. I half expect to meet a bear up there. I approach cautiously. I find nothing but quiet solitude. An open shady flat glade is there in the now wider canyon. I walk up onto a half buried boulder, climb up and stand. I survey the landscape. I listen, I feel it. I’m primed to do her meditation.
Satisfied of my moments of notion on the hill behind a boulder, I return to the streambed. There, I see that DF has already begun her meditation. I misunderstood that she meant that we wouldn’t neccessarily do this together, but it is no matter.
It is supposed to go roughly something like this, but I personalize it:
We are to begin by honoring. We’re supposed to give thanks. I give my heartfelt appreciation for the beauty, shade, fruit, nuts and home for the birds. Above all, I stick on the oxygen exchange. I allow myself to breathe deeply and then exhale. It relaxes me and I notice in full, the quality of the air up here. I smell this place, with its rich natural aromas. I feel a part of it.
I’m supposed to sing to the tree, something about the tree is a metaphor for greatness and the heart. The song is something about, “Pee Wheh Neh,” in a language I know nothing of. I think pee, I think dogs, and it is distracting. I smile at my mind’s lunacy and find other ways to show respect and oneness. I speak the phrase as I notice the magnificence around me.
The third step is to acknowledge one-ness. I’m already there, but then I remember the part that DF has told me about the lungs. The lungs inhale and then the fresh air branches out into them. Lungs imbibe like a tree nourishes itself. The tree also nourishes the lungs. I like that thought, noting the relationship, as I breathe in and out.
The next step is to let the mind disappear into Silence. I let the mind disappear, or should I say dismiss it and enter the silent experience of being ONE with all creation. The directions tell me, “Now that you do not exist as the mind thinks you exist, see yourself in all beings and all beings in yourself. Experience yourself as the unified field of consciousness that is indivisible, always and everywhere. Know that there is only loving awareness.”
The last step comes quickly. “Accept the perfection that is right in front of you.” I am in a perfect day, a perfect moment.
I begin with a kinship for brother tree across the way. Soon, I realize just how incredible and beautiful this spot is. I note the variety of trees, the colors, the forms. I’m appreciating all of this life around me in all directions.
I hae been busy most of this day. We haven’t stopped doing. Even when we stopped, we ate. This act is just being here and now. This is what I do. This is what I treasure in nature, a oneness and a loss of self. I’m so glad we are here doing this.
Naked, I am as the others. I sit, squatting on a boulder in deep fulfillment; my palms naturally have come together at my forehead as in prayer. DF is across the way, much the same. This is what we came here for, which is more than a distraction, but a distinct distance and grounding.
We are regaining what the other world, man’s world, has robbed us of, with its stress, threat and uncertainty.
In a just a few minutes, I have found my way.
We still have a journey back to Tucson, although I’m feeling that I’m already home. Right now, I feel comfortable here, as much as I would in a big backyard.
After our ritual, we’re once again on our way.
We creep over and crawl over a couple more fallen trees, which are lying in front of us, remembering these notable landmarks.
After several more creek crossings, wet and dry, we are surprised how quickly the broken gate has arrived.
From here, it is a short familiar walk to the truck.
It is a rough and bouncing ride back out in 4×4 low gears. First, we gather rocks and pile them up to smooth out the stair step that hung us up yesterday. Without it, the back bumper would definitely get hung up, banged and damaged. We bounce through the section that follows up the creek bed, feeling what seems to be every rock.
As the road bends up and out of the creek, there is a short climb that was easy going down. I suspect that it may be a problem getting up. FA-Wump! The trailer hitch shaft gets just a little, but enough to get a heart to jump, as the dirt gives way.
The sun is setting as we come out into the green grass of the ranches, the free range and its hills.
The 18 miles of dirt leave a thick cloud of dust behind us, until I see a ma, pa and two calves standing in the middle of the road up ahead.
I slow down.
In the foreground, four deer stand, then two begin to walk away. None seem to be upset by our noisy approach. I speak out loud, “Haven’t ya seen a car before. Don’t cha know what to do?”
The deer spook easily and get a couple of hundred feet out of the way in the tall grass.
The cattle are clueless.
Finally, one of the calves gets worked up enough to run off the side of the road.
Sis and Ma follow it.
It is beginning to chill; we turn on the heater low and continue to cruise freely back home.
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Mesmerizing story and the full nudity in support is always welcome and beautiful. The connection between nature and nudity is misunderstood by most people, you two always seem to bring that point home.
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This is true nature and true Naturism. Really enjoy your accounts of your hikes.