Follow the river

It’s 6:15 and I start my trail in the forest, along the river. Morning mist hovers over the water. The air is crisp and fresh.

I woke up before 5. Having prepared almost everything the evening before, I only needed a few minutes to prepare lots of coffee, wash and brush my teeth. Not yet fully awake, I took off for a one-hour drive to the south of Belgium. I wanted to be there at sunrise.

I try to keep my balance on the narrow trail, on the steep forested river valley. I can hear countless birds singing at the same time. I can hear my breathing. As it starts to get warmer, the smells of the forest wake up. My olfactive memory recognize some of the smells and instantly connects emotionally to them. Some others are intriguing and feel almost alien.

I stop to have a drink of coffee. Despite the little sleep I’ve had, I am aware of every little thing I do. What sometimes seems so damn difficult – to stay anchored in the present and just be with whatever arises – now happens effortlessly. The vapors of the hot coffee dance in front of my eyes. They mingle with the river mist.

From time to time, the trail disappears in the thick vegetation and reappears a few meters ahead. There are no trail signs and markers, and the GPS does not identify anything and cannot guide me. I just follow the meanders of the river. I go with the flow.

It’s not the first time I wake up very early so I can start my trip in the wild before sunrise. I never regretted it. There is something strange and beautiful happening at this time of the day. Something replenishing. Even the quality of our solitude and of our dialogue with ourselves is different. Everything is more in focus, more salient, and clearer.

The first sunrays find their way through the trees. A new day is here. I’m fully awake.

5 thoughts on “Follow the river

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