Windows and Doors Open

By Linda Oshins

Spring! Daffodils in various shades of yellow, cream and white! Bleeding heart among Virginia bluebell. The early spiral of ferns unfurled. Flowering trees right and left. But I can still take my daily walk and find myself several hundred feet down the road without having noticed my surroundings. Lost in thought. Lost in time.
But every spring I remember to do this walking meditation. As I walk, I cycle through the senses.

Seeing……….hearing……..tasting…….touching…….smelling…….mind. Seeing……….hearing……..tasting…….touching…….smelling…….mind.
Seeing……….hearing……..tasting…….touching…….smelling…….mind. Seeing……….hearing……..tasting…….touching…….smelling…….mind.

Over and over as I walk. When I say “seeing” silently to myself, I notice what I’m seeing. When I say “hearing” I notice sounds. When “tasting” I am aware of sensations in my mouth. When I get to “mind” I notice whatever is arising in my mind. The Buddhists consider “mind” another sense organ, just like the eye or ear. An organ of perception, not the central definition of who you are. You are not that.

I’ve done this meditation in two ways. I cycle through the senses rhythmically and equally, moving to the next one every 4 steps or so. Or I stay absorbed in one sense arena until a thought intrudes, and then I move on to the next. Either way has its gifts.

Time slows, stops, but also passes fully in that when I return home I have a long trail of memories of spring in its fullness, not the plan for my next blog or the decision about a diner menu. My lungs are full of its smell. My mind is still.

In the north country now it is spring and there
is a certain celebration. The thrush
has come home. He is shy and likes the
evening best, also the hour just before
morning; in that blue and gritty light he
climbs to his branch or smoothly
sails there. It is okay to know only
one song if it is this one. Hear it
rise and fall; the very elements of you should
shiver nicely. What would spring be
without it? Mostly frogs. But don’t worry, he

arrives , year after year, humble and obedient
and gorgeous. You listen and you know
you could live a better life than you do, be
softer, kinder. And maybe this year you will
be able to do it. Hear how his voice
rises and falls. There is no way to be
sufficiently grateful for the gifts we are
given, no way to speak the Lord’s name
often enough, though we do try, and

especially now, as that dappled breast
breaths in the pines and heaven’s
windows in the north country,
now spring has come,
are open wide.

͠ Mary Oliver