Beneath the Surface

My daily walk takes me past a pond. As spring pokes its head up from the grasp of winter, I am transported back to some wonderful memories of when I was a kid. As with the Lakeside pond, the water in Polliwog Pond (named for the polliwogs that later matured into frogs) could be peaceful. No ripples moved across at all. Or the frogs and birds that stopped by to drink and eat caused a ripple or two. The wind would travel across, creating small waves. All of us neighborhood kids would ride our bikes over to this place, especially in mid-summer, looking for a place to cool off from the heat. To stomp around in the water was the height of freedom!

At times this last winter, the pond in Lakeside iced over. All but the very center of the pond was covered with a thin layer of hard and cold. And I was told that the ducks at Woodland Park would tumble and skate over the ice on their webbed feet to splash in the water in the middle of that lake. But this time of the year, the pond is liquid. If Duff and I happen to startle these birds as they sleep, they will waken and take off. They are like little swamp boats, with their flapping wings propelling them across the pond, their feet in the water, and tails acting as rudders. These little creatures create huge waves, which lap up on the shore only to be returned.

But underneath the ripples and waves on top of the pond, moving deeper and deeper toward the bottom, all is quiet. Sinking into the depths, like a leaf drifting one way and the next until it reaches the base of the body of water. There is a stillness, a quietness not found on the surface. Peaceful, tranquil, calm. Quiet, silent, still, serene. Unless there is a disturbance, everything is at rest.

My mind is like this pond. And I’ll bet yours is too. When life is chaotic and demanding, my thoughts are in a tumble. I find it easy to lose focus. To get overwhelmed by what seems to be important. To get distracted and disturbed by the smallest of things. But if I let go of the hustle and bustle, if I go beneath the surface, I find peace and tranquility once again. My thoughts slow down and I notice the magic of spring. The blooming buds are adding color to the trees, with the promise of apples and peaches coming soon. Birds burst into song, first with sleepy chirps then with full melodies, as the pre-dawn slowly announces a new day.

But how to leave the chaos behind? To easily enter the stillness beneath the surface? One simple way is to pay attention to nature. I slow down my breathing and begin to notice what’s around me. The new growth coming on branches of trees and shrubs, the warmth of the breeze on my face, the quickening of Mother Nature as She brings life to the Mountain. As I do this, my gut begins to relax and my shoulders drop. The muscles in my neck start to loosen and my face relaxes. The muscles in my jaw let go, as does my wrinkled forehead. The thoughts that seem so very important float away and I once again find the peace within, the calm beneath the waves of my tumult.

Enjoy the stirring of new growth on the Mountain. Live unstuck!

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