One Woman’s Treasure

One Woman’s Treasure

Sometimes I lose my sh*t. Like when people throw crap in the river.

In the woods beside the river, there is a hangout for locals, with logs in a circle, rickety webbed lawn chairs, and once-ergonomic office chairs. I understand the need to claim a place as your own, a place to meet with friends. (I even wrote about a hangout in my book, Breathing With Trees.) But what enjoyment comes from throwing trash on the ground? Or in the river? My river! My sacred place.

As I stood at the water’s edge, I fumed. It was hard to ignore the rusty metal bars of the patio swing chair discarded in the river. I sang my morning song of gratitude to Mother Earth and apologized for the sin against her. Giving thanks lowered my anger a few notches. Down to mere annoyance. Still, it was challenging to complete my meditation, with that thing triggering my emotions.

The 3Rs—reduce, reuse, recycle. Perhaps the chair in the water was being repurposed, as a trigger for me to explore my emotions?

The next day, as I approached my sacred spot at dawn, a great blue heron lifted off its perch—the discarded metal frame—and took to the sky. A magnificent 5-foot wingspan overhead before it settled on a nearby dead tree.

What a blessing! A heron had come to share my sacred space. I’d seen herons in the river before, but they always waded further up the stream. It had come to my spot because of that piece of metal junk. It cared not that the trash was polluting the stream. It simply made use of what was available to roost, to rest, perhaps to search out fish. It flew in and flew out. There was no anger, no annoyance.

As I pondered this, I remembered the words of Dali Lama regarding another emotion, “If you can solve a problem, what need is there to worry? If you cannot solve it, what use is there to worry?”

Perhaps anger is the same? If there is an action needing done, do it. If there is no action you can take, what is the use of anger?

Right now, the river flows high and fast. But when it is safe to do so, I will don the hip waders that my husband kindly bought for me to use in our home pond, and I shall pull the trash from the river. It does not belong there.

But the memory of the heron will linger on, the treasure from the trash.

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