As I get older all I want to decorate with are rocks, leaves, pieces of wood, some beeswax candles. When I travel I find myself bringing home cones from trees unusual to my locale, or new stones that have been polished by the sea, and they adorn my windowsills and table stands.
One of my desks looks out on a black birch forest, and this is where I brought my laptop today. Black birch are very tall, straight deciduous trees, and these here are old-growth with few lower branches. You can look a long way into the forest, its floor blanketed with fallen leaves and without brush. When I sat down to write I fully intended to discuss the definition of green. But looking out at the forest I saw some gold-orange leaves float to the ground, slowly, gracefully, and gently, and the beauty arrested my attention. I often see a pair of foxes in the forest. They are especially vivid in the winter, against the snow. A bit ago a young stag walked by; his horns were about 8 inches long. I am surprised that my dogs didn’t start barking, but they are in bliss by the warm wood stove and couldn’t be bothered to rouse themselves.
I tell my daughter that when I die I hope the only “stuff” she will have to get rid of, all that will be left, are a lot of stones, cones, nothing that she can’t just throw into the woods. Unless she wants these bits of nature as her own companions, in which case I hope she enjoys them as much as I have. Each has its own story.
A friend called to say that when she was on her walk this morning she passed a woman who said, “It is so peaceful today.” My friend started paying attention, agreed, and called me so that I, too, might pay attention to how unusually peaceful everything feels today. I’m off for a walk when I finish writing this piece, in fact, to bathe myself in the peace.
I realize that I bring pieces of the peace inside with me when I decorate with stones and wood. The peace is in the very makeup of my collections. Being in tune with the peace of them is part of paying attention, and maybe this is why I am so content decorating with a number of rocks lined up on a windowsill. They seem to be holding the peace in my home.
What was I to write about again? Oh, the definition of green. I think I just told you about my definition of green when I became sidetracked looking out at the black birch forest: Items that have nature’s true signature in their composition while not harming our health, and that can go back to where they came from without a trace.