CommonPlaces Breaking60 TravelingNotes UU Exploration Belief and Practice

The Word for the World is "Forest"

This is the text for a guided meditation, adapted from a passage in the short novel by Ursula K. LeGuin of the same title. It was written in 1990 and accompanied the sermon entitled here Wilderness. The horizontal dashes (--) are pauses for silence; the longer pause before the chime is about three minutes.

 

Come with me, into this clearing in the forest. Stand if you wish. Close your eyes, if you wish; remain a while here with me.

 

--

 

All the colors are of rust and sunset, brown-reds and pale greens, changing ceaselessly in the long leaves as the wind blows. The roots of the copper willows, thick and ridged, are moss-green down by the running water, which like the wind, moves slowly with many soft eddies and seeming pauses, held back by rocks, roots, hanging and fallen leaves.

 

--

 

No way is clear, no light unbroken, in the forest. Into the wind, water, sunlight, starlight, there always enters leaf and branch, bole and root, the shadowy, the complex.

 

--

 

Little paths run under the roots; they do not go straight, they yield to every obstacle, devious as nerves. The ground is not dry and solid but damp and rather spongy, product of the collaboration of living things with the elaborate death of leaves and trees, and tiny mushrooms in circles.

 

--

 

The smell of the air is subtle, various and sweet. The view is short, unless if looking up, you happen to catch sight of the stars.

 

--

 

Nothing is pure, dry, arid, plain. Revelation is lacking. The colors of rust and sunset keep changing in the hanging leaves of the copper willows, and you cannot even say whether the leaves of the trees are brownish-red, or reddish-green, or green.

 

--

 

Let each other go. There are no companions or adversaries here.

 

--

 

Let clothes, shoes, possessions, adornments move away from you, for there are no shops or artisans here.

 

--

 

Let the past and future move away from you, for time is motionless. There are only moving leaves and changing colors here.

 

--

 

Be silent.

 

--

 

-- (CHIME)

 

Return with me, open your eyes, reach out a hand to a friend.