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Seasons of the Meadow, Seasons of Existence

As with all of nature, I find a seasonal rhythm in the practice of meditation. In spring the near constant chatter of the song birds in the nearby woods and meadow provides a counterpoint to anchor my wandering mind. Their ever changing slender melodies serve the purpose of a thousand temple bells; bringing my mind back from its busyness to a point of stillness; a reminder to be present for the one-and-only call of the all-precious moment.

By late July and on into the sticky mat of August the bird music slows, becoming more sporadic, muted and lazy with none of the brightness and energy of springtime calls. There are long lapses of silence as autumn colors up the big maple at the bottom of the driveway. Now here, at the beginning of November, with heavy frost in the mornings, the hummingbird feeders hang empty and the Romance Valley lies still and very, very quiet.

In the dark morning sits, the silence is deep and still; like something big sleeping beside you. The house is chill and a blanket across the shoulders feels just right.

Now every morning, just as the sun breaks free of the bluffs across the valley, a raucous gang of crows settles into the woods, down by the road, for a few busy minutes of raspy chatter. Their black silhouettes glide in from the northwest, banking and wheeling crazily against the empty blue sky as they make for their morning hangout. Their raspy caw-cawing echoes off the surrounding hillsides and – again like a temple bell – calls an end to the morning sit.

My mediation practice has changed with the passing seasons of life. Each phase of life reveals a unique season of this existence. Things seem a tad more settled now. Of course the chattering mind continues with its endless lists, quirky memories and thundering commandments and, as always, some sits are better than others, but all those distractions and interruptions seem a little less real; more perfunctory. Like the seasons of the woods and meadow, there are different sounds to tune into – and to let drop like the leaves from the trees – as one season of life moves into the next.

Mark L. Taylor

Romance Valley, WI. 11/01/10

Consider joining me for “Coming Back to the Moment at Hand: Applying Practical Mindfulness to Your Daily Life” here at RoundRiver on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010. For a full description check out the “Upcoming Events” link on the RoundRiver web page: www.round-river2000.com

Mark L. Taylor MA LPC SAC is a Wisconsin licensed counselor who works extensively with adolescents and their families. He also founded the RoundRiver Institute LLC, a learning center near Genoa, WI. Permission is granted for personal use of this material. If you pass it on to other individuals please include a link back to this page. If you wish to use it in a newsletter or publication please contact Mark at: www.round-river2000.com


Mark L. Taylor MA LPC SAC is a Wisconsin licensed counselor who works extensively with adolescents and their families. He also founded the RoundRiver Institute LLC, a learning center near Genoa, WI. Permission is granted for personal use of this material. If you pass it on to other individuals please include a link back to this page. If you wish to use it in a newsletter or publication please contact Mark at: http://www.round-river2000.com

© Mark L. Taylor and RoundRiver Institute LLC