Walking Meditation

for Thich Nhat Hanh

Dimly we know the mystery 
in the deadfall that supports us:
the life in this place, they told us,
is on the ground.

Journal Entry, March 25, 1995
Slave Lake, Alberta

Finding a forest
older than yourself
you widen a clearing inside.
Listen through your toes.
You’ll hear openings

created long before we conceived
stainless steel corridors.
Fine white hair of fungi
grown tough with use,
whose nodules carried nitrogen

long before we knew
the simplest chemical equations.
Penetrate the layers of debris
foresters call decadence.
Let your feet caress

the round greenness swelling
each measured step
a Devonian incarnation.
Know the tubers that spread
with fibrous veins a thousand times

more intricate than the blue
on the back of your hand. Press
the pockets of balsam on the fir.
Essence of a life force,
origins we cannot fathom.

~ Audrey J. Whitson

Audrey J. Whitson is the author of a critically acclaimed book about land and the spiritual journey, Teaching Places (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2003). She grew up on a farm north of Edmonton. This poem is from a series she did on the boreal forest.

One Response to “Walking Meditation”

  1. Nicely textured !

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