“Watch your step” would be a useful slogan for me these days. I especially like the word “watch” because it suggests the kind of completely committed awareness I want to foster in myself – an awareness that sometimes, sadly, seems absent in me for hours and days at a time. I want to be constantly on the alert, attentive as much as possible to the nuances of this oddly beguiling life I’m living. I want to watch what’s happening as carefully as a sharp-eyed sailor watches from the deck. This is a demanding mission for me, since a youthful heedlessness still seems more prevalent in me than awareness. I still sometimes see in myself the rash madness of my teenage years. At 78, I still sometimes come panting into a new day, dash through it, and then rush into sleep at the end, hoping that a few hours rest will help me race even faster tomorrow. We seem to live in a swift and hassled world these days, hardly the kind of setting to support “watching your step”, but I do want to give it a good try. Instead of simply glancing at the gifts August is giving us along the roads and trails these days, I want to occasionally stop and study them. Instead of quick looks, I want long looks. Instead of just speeding past the songs of birds on my bicycle, I want to truly listen, to sometimes let the bike come to a silent stop among their beautiful songs.

I thought a lot about ‘watching my step’ this morning as we walked the stony and steep trails in the Oswegatchie Hills Preserve. Sometimes the twisted roots of old trees served as useful steps up steep inclines, and we both kept a close watch as we climbed.

Sharon Z., 82, Blessings, CT

She constantly watches for wisdom,
for she knows it always knows 
where she is 
and loves to visit her. 
She knows it waits for her 
in the way trees stand so stately,
which is like special words 
and sentences 
for her, 
and in the stillness of mist
that makes her understand things.  
She stays silent in sorrow,
for the flow of wisdom 
is always inside it, 
and happiness makes her silent
so she more easily understands 
to let it go when it goes. 
She scans the hours 
for the thousand signs of wisdom 
silently waiting, 
and smiling. 

Below is one of the many pretty scenes from our walk …

and the sunrise sky from our sun-baked backyard this morning …

and the bunny who is our little enemy/friend, hunting for goodies in Delycia’s garden …

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