Trail beside stream,
Rocky red earth,
Walking may be a good metaphor for spiritual life, but there are times when simple hiking is literally the best activity. When one walks in the woods or climbs mountains, there is a wonderful unity of body, mind, and spirit. Hiking strengthens the legs, increases stamina, invigorates the blood, and soothes the mind. Away from the madness of society, one is freed to observe nature’s lessons.
Erosion. Gnarled roots. The carcass of a dead deer. A flight of swallows. The high spirals of hawks. Bladed reflections of rushing water. Just budding bare branches. Gray rock, cracked, shattered, and worn. A fallen tree. A lone cloud. The laughter of plum branches. Even a little circle of rocks beside the trail — who put them there, or did any hand arrange them, and no matter which, what are the secrets of that circle?
There are a thousand meanings in every view, if only we open ourselves to see the scripture of the landscape.