Yesterday I got off work at 4:30, called a friend up and suggested we go for a hike. By 5:30 we were at the trailhead of Cougar Mountain, near Issaquah. It was pouring. Ten minutes into the hike we sheltered under a large cedar, watching the rain batter the leaves in its descent through canopy and understory; the leaves of the small maples hopped around like they were keys on a giant typewriter and somebody was typing very fast. No water came through the cedar tree.
The downpour subsided, the rest of the hike wasn't so wet. We made a 5 mile loop, dusk coming on darkly as it does in thick forest. Near the end, as we dropped down off the hill into a deep, spacious stretch of woods, the sun slipped below the clouds in the west. Its light entered the woods among the trunks of the trees. I don't know how to say this. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. I didn't know quite how to see it. Too, too much. I've never wished more fervently for the brain to be quiet, though such wishing is, of course, the very noise it is wishing away. The rain had passed but the foliage dripped and a breeze kept things turning.
The light, well, I don't know what it did: flawlessly geometric in its horizontal bearing, in its perfect radiation from its source; it penetrated the woods and hung suspended in the air, without body and yet so very, very there. Through its beams drops of water fell from the high canopy. The underside of the leaves of the taller maples were pale orange, and shook slightly in the breeze. The shafts of light moved, twinking in and out of space as the trunks and foliage through which they shone moved. Everything moved and I wanted to still it, to stop it and keep it. That is the problem: the desire to possess. It is enough to be here, of it. This is something I tell myself, but the telling is noise.
Can I say anything worthwhile? Go to the woods sometimes; be there.