Puppy Shadow and I decided to descend below the dizzying drama of politics on Election Day morning, and drove out to my favorite near-by forested place, the trails at Griffy Lake. I wanted to immerse myself in nature, to come back into my body, to let go of my obsession with the furious, divisive polarity that divides this country. And yet, I also wanted to take pictures along our hike, as I often do on Griffy trails. What you will see here, you might recognize from my previous walks, but each time, seasonal changes reveal tantalizing new colors, sounds, smells.
So, as usual, immersion and observation. These are the twin awarenesses that I have long aimed to cultivate, together, simultaneously. Gurdjieff called this practice, of developing a double-consciousness, “self-remembering,” and claimed that it enables a person who has been operating mechanically, pushed and pulled by outside forces, to gradually develop what he called a “magnetic center” which cuts the puppet strings and ignites authentic sovereignty. I discovered this inner practice, of both experiencing and observing, of immersion and observation, while in my mi-20s; indeed, as soon as I read about it in a book by Ouspensky, a disciple of Gurdjief, I began to practice it as a daily discipline.
Griffy lies only a few miles north of Bloomington. As soon as we drive down the hill approaching the lake, Shadow knows, gets excited, jumps to and from front and back seats. Me, too. We both love these hikes.
On our way up the hill. Who lives here? There are so many little hobbit places for critters. Is this one of them?
Next: Tiny pawpaw plants below the canopy. I’ve only eaten one pawpaw in my life, only one delicious, creamy, pudding like “Indiana Banana,” and that one I found with a friend in another forest nearby at least a decade ago. Where are they? I know they do occasionally appear, but I have yet to come across another one.
All the while we were hiking I had in the back of my mind to capture the glorious red leaves that were here a few days ago. That time I had forgotten my camera (iphone), and regretted it. Would red splashes still be here? Well, a little bit:
But that’s the only time I saw a hanging splash of red. Instead, just traces; once in a while a single leaf on the leaf-strewn trail.
Meanwhile, lots more tree views, and since leaves are partially gone, vistas behind begin to open up.
Meanwhile, all around, signs of the dying of the year, of wood and plant life. I admit: the nostalgia of this season makes it my favorite!
Some views are still obscured by leaves.
Though I’m usually vista-oriented, sometimes close-ups take my breath away!
Mostly, it was a gloomy, moody day . . .
And yet, sometimes, for a tantalizing few seconds or minutes, sun streams through, dapples surfaces, lights up consciousness . . .
Meanwhile, though we are seemingly “off the beaten trail,” i.e., “in nature,” we are actually on a trail that some humans just can’t help but put their mark. Just like dogs, only with scratches instead of pee . . .
Okay, time to go downhill, to the stream that feeds into Griffy.
Shadow gets a drink.
I love the ghostly Sycamores. See them, in the background?
Okay, time to turn around, head back to the lake.
When we got home, I told housemate Dan about my failed quest for large splashes of red, and he said, “You mean like the Japanese maple tree out front?” Duh! I hadn’t even noticed.
When I look back on this day, I think my quest for “red” symbolic of my need for what the Republicans called longingly, a “red tsunami.”