Reflections on a Brief Respite at Indian Creek

25th April 2011 by Paul

As the golden sun sank slowly in the late afternoon sky and threatened to dip below the surrounding red rock hills, we pulled into Indian Creek, and nestled ourselves between two old fallen trees in time to catch the last of its warmth.

campfire cooking

campfire cooking

I soon had a fire started, and went about readying the pot while Helen chopped vegetables and sliced the beef that had become frozen in the back of the truck.  When the onions went in, the pot hissed and spat loudly and I had to stir quickly to avoid burning them.  Next, the meat went in, and was soon browned, seasoned and left to seal.  With a little water added, some garlic, salt and pepper, and with vegetables, and a stock cube crumbled in, the pot was left to simmer while we explored the brook that babbled past camp beneath an inch or two of ice.  The stream seemed unmoving, yet the sound of rushing water filled the air as the Indian Creek went effortlessly about the business of being a creek. 

Mediating on the river

Mediating on the river

We made long, perilous steps from rock to rock, in a giant game of stepping stones across the frozen ice, until we reached a flat rock where we could sit cross legged and contemplate the beauty of the place.  It was lovely, and a secluded spot where we could lose ourselves in thought.

How often do we really stop long enough to allow ourselves to be re-absorbed by the nature of all things?  As a child I recall spending long times fascinated by nature – allowing a slow moving caterpillar time to creep millimetre by millimetre up the whole length of my arm; watching a spider weave it’s whole web and then settle at its centre, in anticipation of it’s next meal; or lying face down in the long grass, chin on hands, watching the way the wind made the long blades dance, and smaller particles of vegetation quiver at their base.  

sparks fly

sparks fly

And yet, as we grow older, the busyness of life begins to push us along, until we truly are racing out of control towards the crash barrier at the end of it.  Life is best enjoyed slowly, it seems.  Yet we are often in such a rush to get things done, to cram so much in, that we are in danger of arriving exhausted at the end of it having endless regrets of what might have been.

“I don’t have time” is such a common excuse for being unwilling or unable to decide how to use each moment of this one prescious life we all have.

As darkeness came, we sat in silence back in camp, mesmerised as the fire danced around the pot, flames softly flopping and popping around the burning wood.  Occasionally, a knot would pop loudly, sending a flurry of glowing red embers skywards in the hot air as if in a rush to join the billion stars hanging glittering in the black sky above.  

cheers

cheers

The stew went down well, and the fire provided an entertaining backdrop to an evening of conversation about our journey so far, and what might become of us when it is all over.   In a place so still and quiet, so perfect, we remind ourselves that whilst our goals are important, and our resolve undiminished, it is ultimately how we travel that will determine our sense of success in the long term.

“What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare…”

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