Silence and Presence

19 03 2012

Today, I went to visit a special, sacred stone that I have frequented for over forty years. It is a limestone boulder that was left on top of a hillside in the last ice age. After walking up through sighing aspens, I sat upon the stone and gratefully looked west to the surreal snow-capped Rocky Mountains. The chilly wind abated, and, for a rare and pleasant few minutes, I got to experience muffled silence. I cleared my mind and focused on what I could sense. It was a timely break from a world of earthly commitments and I lay down on the stone so I could watch the clouds morph about. I then started to remember a day in the late spring of 1972, when my father and I hiked up to the stone. We had been hurling homemade boomerangs, and raced up the hill to see who could first touch the boulder. I do not remember who won the contest, but the feelings and images of that time are so vivid in my mind – how wonderful it was to share it with my father, who was so kind and full of stories that day. I sat up on the stone, and wished he could have been with me there, but then knew he always would be. Next, I remembered using the stone for a place where I kept a collection of cow, horse and deer bones. Boys collect all sorts of things like that, and I was fascinated by them. I wondered about the history of the boulder, and if ancient aboriginals had lain upon it like I was doing. The stone is timeless, and its energy is eternal. Every creature that comes to it is just a fleeting presence. After I had felt such a wonderful sense of peacefulness and connection to the place, I stood up tall to view my surroundings. From the stone, one can view four of Alberta’s natural regions – the mountains, foothills, some parkland and, in a gap between low-angle thrust faults (lower foothills), grasslands can be seen in the far eastern distance. I hopped down, expressed gratitude to the stone, and went back down the hill path in a far more present and conscious state of being.