the flaming leaves and sacred spaces

There was a poem I memorized in high school. From memory:

Cannon River, fall

Cannon River, fall

Thy winds, thy wide gray skies,              thy mists that roll and rise,                       thy woods, this autumn day, that sag    and all but cry with color, that gaunt crag to crush, to lift the lean of that black bluff, oh world I cannot hold thee close enough.

Long have I known a splendor in it all        but here such a rapture is                           it stretcheth me apart.   Lord, I do fear thou’st made the world too beautiful this year.                                                                  My heart is all but out of me.  Let fall      no burning leaf; prithee let no bird call.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay, I think.

The skies were gray, the trees were flaming, and the poem came into mind. I went out to do some work with the land bridge erosion site – I seem to have decided to go ahead and repair it – and I simply could not come back in. I wandered along the old road, and in the creek with my boots, and into the Jizo garden in the pines, feeling the sacred places, wondering if there were any not sacred. And I visited the little creek, and the maple grove; I thought about which trees to cut and which to leave when I thin.

And I thought about the amazing amount of work there is to do here, and how important it is to let the land nourish me. For tomorrow’s sesshin, I added the possibility of an hour walking in the land, because of that nourishment.

What a gift it is to be here.

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