One of the beautiful things about walking the same trail over and over is that each time you notice more and more about your surroundings. This week, I noticed some cairns, you know – those rocks that have been stacked on top of each other to mark a trail. At first I thought, oh look… someone made some cairns since last week’s hike! But then I thought, hmmm, maybe they’ve actually been here all along and I’m just noticing them now. (If you know which is true, let me know!)
This got me thinking about why/when/how we notice things. What is obvious to some, is not always apparent to others. And some people are simply more observant than others, like my son, who I consider a master observer. At 4, he can sit and watch all day. ALL DAY. What he’s seeing and soaking up - who can really say, but he is an active watcher. For a while this worried me a little as I feared his caution might mean something was amiss or that he was unhappy. But after much inquiry into the matter, I realized that he really enjoys watching and when he’s ready, he engages quite healthfully.
I, on the other hand, am more inclined to dive right in and process as I go. I tend to jump into things with a bit of over-confidence and then rear up when I notice the road blocks, missteps or challenges. Example – when we first moved into our new home I painted with gusto for 2 weeks which resulted in tendinitis in my right wrist. Its taken a few re-injuries for me to really take notice of it, but I am finally beginning to take care and pay attention. As a kid, I remember my mom calling me a bit of a bull in a China shop. I’m sure she was right but I couldn’t even conceive of another way to be or how to do anything differently. Rather fascinating that my son should show up and be so completely different in this way, and such a wonderful teacher for his mama.
Recently in my meditations, as well as on my most recent hike up the ledges, I started to wonder how I could bring this notion of slowing down and noticing more in my singing practice. (Well… I haven’t been practicing at all lately, but you know, these things ebb and flow, and I’ve heard a loud calling to do more singing lately.) The words finesse and artistic expression keep coming up. I’ve always had a strong, powerful and clean sound, but I think the strong bull inside hasn’t paid much heed to nuance and the intricacies of communication. Maybe the time has come? The thought of this is pretty invigorating, and actually makes me want to spend time in the practice room. What a pleasant surprise!
As I came to the end of my hike, I gleefully took in all kinds of fun new “noticings”. There was a delightful family of squirrels chirping high in the trees. I stopped to watch for a bit and they all seemed to dance weightlessly in the tip tops of the branches. And for the icing on the cake, as I pulled my bike off the rusty iron gate at the trail’s entrance, I happened upon the sign that clearly states the name of the trail as the Bristol Ledges Trail. Given the recent name change of this blog, I got a good belly laugh out of that one! I know it will take some patience and acceptance to make a habit out of becoming more aware, subtle, and present, but I’m already feeling its effect and loving it.
Hi, my name is Ali Dawson Gibson. I'm a healer, a singer and a teacher. This Blog, 52 Weeks of the Ledges, is from 2016 when I hiked this awesome Bristol Ledges trail once and week and shared my experiences. Enjoy!