I am staying at Norma's masterpiece of architecture in the woods of Banner Elk, NC. It is a place of natural wonder, a place for meditation and contemplation. Going from the bustle of New York to the stillness of Banner Elk, the mind still comes with me. It creates a similar environment no matter where the body goes. Where ever I go, there I am. Will the mind ever be still? If not, let it think about beautiful and noble things.
Chip came over to deliver a truck load of wood to the house. I greeted him cheerfully and started to help him stack the wood under the roof of a shed up the hill. Chip appears to be about 70 years old. He has been living in this area for 40 years. He has a strong southern accent and a deep connection to this land. Chip pushed a heavy wheel barrow of wood up and down the hill. I was surprised that a man of his age was able to do this. He gave me a pair of gloves. "Be careful handling this wood, you can get splinters. I don't need gloves since I know how to handle it." I was grateful for the gloves. For his simple care. I stacked the wood under the roof as neatly as I could. Norma likes things done neatly, so I try to do my best. After a few trips up and down the hill, Chip sat down in the wheel barrow and rested. "This is good wood. It has more BTU's than most." Then we had a discussion about trees and how certain kinds of wood burn longer than others because of their density. I felt the energy of the wood, and it was powerful. Suddenly I had a deep appreciation for trees. My body was cold up in these hills, and I needed the fire in this wood to keep it warm.
Chip had been to larger cities but preferred to live here in the hills of North Carolina. "Why do you like this area the most, Chip?" "Well, I guess it would be its beauty." I looked up. Sunlight passed through the branches and lit up the leaves with a warm golden glow. I pointed at this scene. "Chip, just look at how beautiful it is." Chip spent a minute gazing up at the golden leaves. "It's good to meet someone who knows what I mean."
A couple days later, Chip came up to the house to collect his money. As I gave it to him, he pointed out some trees on the property. One of them was a locust tree. "Bees drink from the flowers of that tree and take the nectar back to their hives. There, it becomes locust honey. And if you eat this honey, you won't get allergies." Suddenly I had more appreciation for the bees and the trees. Mother Nature gives people healing powers, and She does not ask for anything in return.
I play harmonium outside on the deck now, sending energy to the trees, the plants, the bees, the butterflies. My heart is filled with gratitude for all my fellow creatures here. I embrace them with this music. I bow down to the Creator that gives so much for my benefit. How can I give back? Thank you, dear Chip, for your wisdom.