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When our cat first steps outside the gate of our little front yard, on his blue leash, he sits motionless. Waiting, calm, taking in just where he is. Like him, I feel the ground under my feet, the smallest movement of the air. Like him, I slowly become more present, moment by moment. We witness what is real, allowing that which is not, to fall away. Memories of similar walks or imagined future walks evaporate. This walk, now, is all that matters. Now is sufficient, just as it is.

We feel the contours of individual wood chips on the ground with the soles of our feet. Before us, thick pads of woven dark red strands of redwood bark draw our eyes before we acknowledge the redwood trees standing before us. How deep and thick the thick padding is. What lies beneath their protection?

What thick padding of prior experiences interferes with our ability to be here now?

Pre-scents, born on the slightest of breezes, awaken our noses, which twitch as they explore what is blooming and pollinating today. No need to analyze or label what arises to near-consciousness; just let it/them emerge.

Like our noses, his and my ears are vastly different, in their ability to perceive. Through my deafness, the warning alert of a crow, traffic sounds from afar, and the chirp of a finch in the distance arise. Surely he hears, smells, and sees endless symphonies of sounds, scents, and colors! Yet what I experience is enough for now.

And still we wait, taking in all that encircles us. We stand still, attentive, yielding who and what we think we are so that we might embrace all that is in this moment- all around, below, above, and within us.

Finally, having arrived and been embraced, we are ready, and so we step forth, gratefully present to that which is.

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