Fall Into the Moment…

Gorge--Blue vs Gold

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

—John Muir

(All the photos in this post are (c) L Egle, 2010. All rights reserved)

The Zen of Autumn There’s a place I go, which is not thousands of miles away, where the past, present and future become a timeless sort of momentwhere ‘nature reigns supreme’ and it’s easy to stop thinking and doing and to start…simply…being.

I’m not sure if the magic comes from what I see…the vibrant gold, orange and crimson colored leaves falling, like feathers, from the trees, to their new home:  the earth and the nearby water, which feeds into a nearby river.

Or maybe it’s certain leaves, some still green, remaining on their branches as long as they can, waiting for their moment…to fall.

It could very well be the water itselfwhich is neither a babbling brook nor a raging river, but something in betweenwhich keeps flowing and creating vibrant waves of color, blurring into each other, assisted by the shimmering sunlight.

What I do know is that when I sit on a boulder, amidst these gorgeous watery reflections, I feel somethinga zenlike “it”a Taoist “ah hah”and I’m beyond grateful for it. And I’m inviting you, right now, to join me.

Let’s fall…into the moment….together.

As the water meanders and makes it way to wherever, my mind slows down and I become part of this living water color, which looks and feels like something one might encounter in Japan or…simply somewhere else. But it’s neither of those places. And I think that’s the real beauty of it. It’s not…out there. It’s…right here. Somewhere you’d never expect (to be revealed later).

The rapidly moving water reminds me of my life, which is generally too hectic. I know I’ve been moving too fast latelymuch faster than this water and I’ve also been out of the moment too much. And out of balance.

But now,  for the moment, I’m actually…in the moment, breathing and taking it all in. And as this is happening, I have a brief, but important epiphany. Nature makes regular meditation, something that’s normally impossible for me….possible.

My mind wanders as I feel the cool, crisp air. I think about the days, which are growing shorter. I begin to plan blog posts. I wonder when I’ll get back to writing my memoirs….still stuck on a certain chapter. I think about a student’s essay, one that wasn’t passing.

I picture my new nephew, just three months old, and anticipate seeing him. I crave a cup of hot cocoa….imagine the warmth of a fireplace in a cabin…then, thinking of wintera season I dislikeI fantasize about a trip thousands of miles away–somewhere warm… I then wonder about the logistics of the upcoming Thanksgiving meal…who’s going where, etc.

And then, I catch myself. Those moments are not this one, the water reminds me. Just look and listen, it whispers…

Past, Present & Futurea Timeless Moment
I hear the pastthe water that’s made its way beyond my boulder. It’s there, but gradually fading into the distance…

I can also catch a glimpse of the futurethe water that’s up ahead and moving in my direction. But it’s not here yet…soon, it will be. It’s OKand even goodto peek at it. Just not too much.

And the present is….right here. I think of Ram Dass: “Be here now.” I remember the time I met him, many years ago, and the hug we shared and how he signed a copy of his book.

I also remember the book’s message and so, I return to the moment, which nature calls me to. It’s the nowwhich is the one to be cherished. And if my mind drifts again, all I have to do is…look at the beauty around me. Listen to the sound of the water, which is continualy moving. See the vibrant colors. Feel the gentle breeze. Take in the fresh autumn air…

So…what and where is this special place where nature creates a zen-like harmony that I enjoy so often?  Where is this magical place that I rush off to as soon as I get back from a long trip, thousands of miles across the planet?

It’s a place known as “The Gorge.” The water is the South Branch of the Raritan River and the area, which appears to be a gorge within a mountain (but isn’t), is called  the Ken Lockwood Gorge, named after an outdoor journalist and conservationist who was an advocate for land conservation. And it’s right inare you ready for this?

New Jersey. Yes, NJ. It may surprise some, but those of use who live here know that there are some real gems if you just travel north, south or west of New York.

It may also surprise you that I go there so frequently. Even though traveling far and wide makes me happy and puts me in the moment more than anything,  I recognize that the same thing can sometimes happen….right here.

I think I’ve said enough at this point…I’ll leave you with the words of others. Their  quotes seem to capture “it” for me…which is why I want to share them with you…

When facing a single tree, if you look at a single one of its red leaves, you will not see all the others. When the eye is not set on one leaf, and you face the tree with nothing at all in mind, any number of leaves are visible to the eye without limit. But if a single leaf holds the eye, it will be as if the remaining leaves were not there.

Takuan Soto

Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.

Albert Camus

There is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.

William Cullen Bryant

***************************************

How About You?
Is there a special place in nature—a river, a park, etc.—that you find wonderful, which happens to be local? Where is it and what is it like, especially now in middle of autumn? How does it make you feel?

37 Responses to Fall Into the Moment…
  1. Jeff Stroud
    October 20, 2010 | 2:18 am

    Hey, Lisa,
    Great journey to the here Now! Beautiful photographs, captures the moment and the movement as well as the stillness of fall…

    Well done, I have heard of the Gorge but yet to venture there! I am glad you have that space…

    I have my little wood here in Magnolia, that I photograph often and walk in three or four times a day with my dogs…

    I am Love, Jeff
    Jeff Stroud recently posted..Remain True…My Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 20, 2010 | 1:31 pm

      Thank you, Jeff. I’m thrilled that you like the photos…I have great respect for your work and your eye!

      Meanwhile, the place you write about, in Magnolia, sounds lovely…I enjoy seeing those photos and hearing about what you’re up to. Keep ‘em coming!

  2. Sprite
    October 20, 2010 | 3:27 am

    wow, Chicky, this is one of your best and I am glad I could visit it with you here until I get there :) It has put me into a zen moment, great job Lisa!
    hugs n peaches,
    Sprite

    • CB Driver
      October 20, 2010 | 1:33 pm

      Hello, Sprite–and happy birthday! This blog is dedicated to you and our mutual love of nature, Gaia and CB adventures! If/when you visit, let’s go hang out on that boulder! xox

      • Sprite
        October 24, 2010 | 5:38 pm

        already there, grin

  3. Emma
    October 20, 2010 | 3:37 am

    Ah, beautiful! :)

    I like all sorts of natural settings, including just walking down the street to the park where I can sit on a blanket and listen to leaves rustle in the trees!
    Emma recently posted..Fuel for the Creative FireMy Profile

  4. CB Driver
    October 20, 2010 | 1:34 pm

    Thank you, Emma. Glad you liked it! I also love the sound of leaves rustling…it signals that time of change–the new season–and it’s really lovely!

  5. janet
    October 20, 2010 | 8:05 pm

    Very nice! Great photos. :-)
    I really enjoyed the journey, and can absolutely relate to the way nature makes meditation possible in ways I never find I can manage “on the cushion”. What is it about the natural world that compels us to Be Here Now? I think it has to do with the way it vibrates/resonates, somehow on a closer, more intimately familiar wavelength than man-made arenas.

    For me, the meeting of Lake Michigan and the sandy shore are wonderfully evocative of Autumn. The water has a different color than in July, I swear it! The angle of light in October taps into a different spectrum or something, but whatever it is, I love it! The sand seems whiter, and I make a point to put my bare toes in its autumnal coolness. The shoreline feels representative of the transition that is Fall.
    janet recently posted..art in the city -pt 3My Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 21, 2010 | 4:17 pm

      Thank you, Janet…awesome that you enjoyed it and can relate to it! I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who struggles with the “cushion.” I’ve always done better with walking meditation and drumming–approaches in which the mind has something more to focus on first before it can free itself. What you said–that there’s a different vibration that resonates better there vs in the more artificial settings–makes sense.

      I believe you re: the color of the water at the lake in the fall….perhaps it is the angle of light. Nice that you have that that beach and its sandy shore up in Michigan. I’ve heard it’s really beautiful there. Someday, I’ll have to visit your state. Perhaps if I ever do a cross-country trip…

      Thanks for your visit and comment. Both are greatly appreciated!

  6. Steve
    October 21, 2010 | 3:28 pm

    This is like a medidative state you’ve gone into. Very serene and relaxing. I even found myself more at peace after reading it.
    Steve recently posted..Your Million Dollar IdeaMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 21, 2010 | 4:20 pm

      Steve–I’m glad that you entered into a meditative state as a result of reading this post…that was my intention (one I didn’t realize I had until I’d really gotten into the writing). I’m happy you felt more peaceful….that’s always a wonderful thing. Thanks for the feedback!!

  7. Mike Spinelli
    October 25, 2010 | 2:03 pm

    Wow, Lisa! I love this article and I can really relate to what you have written as nature has the same effect on me. Reading your article made me feel as though I were back up in Upstate New York living by my stream in the middle of an old growth forest. I used to love sitting by my waterfall or just going for a nice walk in the woods at this time of year and I miss that. It just is not the same down here. I have one red maple and a few sweet gum trees on my property here but they are the only deciduous trees I have that change color before dropping their leaves but that does not happen for months and then within weeks they flower and new leaves are popping out. It is just difficult to notice the subtle changes in the seasons down here. The days are still in the 70′s when my trees drop their leaves and it just is not the same! Thank you for this wonderful article and beautiful photos. I felt as though I were right back up there in my forest and I could even feel the cooler temperatures and smell that refreshing autumn air! : )

    Have a wonderful day my friend and thank you again for this nice trip to the Northeast! I hope that you will write another amazing article like this during the winter because I miss that too! : )

    Mike

    • CB Driver
      October 25, 2010 | 9:36 pm

      I am so glad that you had that experience while reading this post–I’m thrilled, actually. It’s one of my favorite places in the world, believe it or not, so I really like to share it any way that I can.

      You used to live in Upstate New York and are now in Florida, right? NY has some fantastic nature, so that must have been wonderful to live there. Also, you had a waterfall? Wow…

      I will do as you suggested–and write something in the winter–great idea! It’s my least favorite season (although I can find and photograph its beauty via the starkness that it offers), but if I get out on some of the non-arctic days, I like it…a little bit.

      Meanwhile, you have a wonderful day, down in Florida. When it’s January and cold here, I’ll be thinking of you! :)

  8. Burt Kempner
    October 25, 2010 | 9:38 pm

    Beautiful, just beautiful. Kept me nice and peaceful through a hectic morning. Thanks, Lisa.

    • CB Driver
      October 26, 2010 | 11:09 am

      Burt–Glad you enjoyed it and that it kept you calm yesterday…that is wonderful! You’re welcome and thank you!

  9. Emily @travelated
    October 25, 2010 | 11:18 pm

    This post makes me feel very calm… ‘the zen of autumn.’ The changing of the seasons really affects me, too :)
    Emily @travelated recently posted..A Weekend in Colonia- UruguayMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 26, 2010 | 11:08 am

      Emily–Nice to hear that and happy to see that you enjoy the ‘zen of autumn,’ too. Each season does have a certain effect on us, doesn’t it? I personally love the way autumn looks and the way spring feels. Thanks for the visit!

  10. Zablon Mukuba
    October 26, 2010 | 8:10 am

    the photos are awesome, its funny how sometimes we forget the beauty that is in front of us.

    • CB Driver
      October 26, 2010 | 11:10 am

      Hi, Zablon. You are so right about that! As much as I travel and see the beauty out there, I have to remind myself that it’s here, too. Thanks for your visit and the feeback!

  11. CG Walters
    October 26, 2010 | 9:27 am

    beautiful and inspiring, Lisa.
    Thank you.
    blessings and continued inspiration,
    CG
    CG Walters recently posted..The Aching HeartMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 26, 2010 | 11:15 am

      Thank you, CG. Appreciate your visit and your words. Your work inspires me, as well!

  12. Mark
    October 29, 2010 | 4:58 am

    Lisa, thanks for reminding me how fortunate we can be if we just take in the priceless moment of being in the present!! Your writing has captured a mood I hope to carry with me every time I find myself overburdened by the backward and forward glances I too often take in life! And it doesn’t surprise me one bit that this beautiful place you’ve written about is in your own “backyard” so-to-speak…that’s often the case with a lot of us overlooking what is right around the corner from us! Great job again and thanks for providing such fitting inspiration for ANY season!

  13. CB Driver
    October 30, 2010 | 12:22 am

    You’re welcome, Mark. Wonderful to hear that my words and photos inspired you. Me alegre mucho!

    It is amazing, isn’t it, that we do have this type of beauty–and opportunity to use it as a vehicle for returning to the moment–locally… Hopefully, I’ll write more posts like this one in the future and perhaps about this particular place during other seasons.

  14. Karyn Colombo
    November 3, 2010 | 8:57 pm

    Love it, Lisa! Beautiful photos, recollections – I think one of the last times I was in NJ, we hiked at the Gorge?

    • CB Driver
      November 12, 2010 | 5:36 am

      Thanks, Karyn. Yes, I think we did. Wonderful place, isn’t it? Hope you come back soon!

  15. Helena
    November 7, 2010 | 7:39 pm

    Great pics. and enjoyed reading!

    LOVE NY state for beautiful fall foliage road trips and weekend excursions. From Vernon, a 15 min. drive drive north to some gorgeous mountains and roads!

    • CB Driver
      November 12, 2010 | 5:37 am

      Hi, Helena–thank you for visiting! Yes, New York State. I’ve been exploring that more lately and realizing just how amazing it is up there. Lucky you to be so close to it!

  16. Gerry Vitiello
    December 22, 2010 | 8:50 am

    Nice work CB, looks like you put alot of dedication to this, gonna enjoy your posts!
    Always me,
    Gerry

    • CB Driver
      December 22, 2010 | 3:15 pm

      Thank you for your feedback, Gerry. I did put a lot of work into it. So glad you enjoyed it!

  17. Aaron
    January 2, 2011 | 1:46 pm

    That was beautiful!
    Aaron recently posted..2010′s Weirdest Travel ExperiencesMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      January 2, 2011 | 5:56 pm

      Thank you, Aaron….glad you took a few moments to appreciate the beauty of the moment! :)

  18. Natasha von Geldern @NvGtravels
    October 24, 2011 | 12:05 am

    This is a wonderful and thoughtful piece, thanks for sharing. My favourite place in autumn was (until recent move) Epping Forest near our home in London. You can see a shot of the forest in its glorious autumnal guise at the end of this post on east London: http://www.worldwanderingkiwi.com/2011/10/top-10-things-to-do-in-east-london-uk/
    Natasha von Geldern @NvGtravels recently posted..New Zealand: The world’s best travel destination?My Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 24, 2011 | 9:25 am

      Hi, Natasha. Thanks so much! I took a look at the link and must say–wow to that forest. Looks lovely! There is something about autumn, isn’t there…? I also adore spring, but for very different reasons.

  19. Roxanne
    October 24, 2011 | 6:25 am

    Autumn is by far my favorite season. I recall beautiful fall mornings in New England: the foliage, the first hints of smoke emanating from fireplaces and chimneys, the warmth of the light. I miss it all dearly, and am grateful to you for bringing its sights and words back into my life.
    Roxanne recently posted..Taking a cue from Joan DidionMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 24, 2011 | 9:30 am

      Thanks so much, Roxanne. So glad that this post put you in the Autumn moment once again. I’ve never really seen the foliage in New England and must do that one of these years. I’m sure its beauty is beyond words!

  20. blair collins
    October 24, 2011 | 7:31 am

    What a great start to the day. The pics and quotes are great. The first pic is subime. Thank you.

    “No matter where you are, there you are.”

    “The way to do, is be.” Lao ToZ

    Peace

    • CB Driver
      October 24, 2011 | 9:33 am

      Hi, Blair. Happy that you enjoyed it. Great taste in quotes, by the way!

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