When I arrived in Putnam Valley last week, it was already dark. The dark had its treasures, all wet and black and creaking with night sounds. But that first morning, to wake to sweet cool air, still fuzzy with heavy sleep, to see a gray thread of mist and a freckled fawn drift together across clover and grass, to feel bare feet on cool deck planks slick with rain, to hear leaves rustle like creek water on rocks. To try, just for a moment, to be careful enough and still enough, to stop long enough, to really experience the first moments of that first morning.
Later that day I walked in the woods and found this series of stone walls. My wise companion, with the bodhisattva head and heart, told me that these walls are the ones that Frost referred to when he wrote:
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.'
Mending Wall (excerpt), Robert Frost
There is a deep wisdom in the ferns and stones and poplars of Putnam Valley. A wisdom that can be experienced but not known. A kind of evergreen wisdom that heals what it touches. And though I struggle now to capture it in words, perhaps I can simply point to it and you will see it, too -- without my naming it.