Red Efts — When the Mind is Ripened

WoodsAnother rainy walk in the woods. And this time I saw Red Efts galore — easily 10 times as many as yesterday.

Have more emerged with the damp weather? Am I just more aware of them and therefore more likely to see them?

Might both things be true?

Well, I lean in the direction of Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote:

“Our eyes are holden that we cannot see things that stare us in the face, until the hour arrives when the mind is ripened; then we behold them, and the time when we saw them not is like a dream.”

So it seems to be with the Red Efts for me. And, to be honest, it’s making it harder to walk in the woods. After all, I don’t want to kill the little creatures, and they really DO seem to be underfoot a lot. And those are just the ones I can see.

What about the ones that are under the leaves? And then what about the hundreds and hundreds of them that I’ve stepped on through the years?

I do try to walk lightly. But OMG, it’s easy to drive yourself to distraction, once you start thinking about it.

Another consideration, honestly, is everything else that I miss as I walk along the path, trying not to step on any Red Efts. One day not too long ago, I saw an owl flying silently through the twilight trees. Sadly, that’s not a sight I’m likely to see now since my vision is trained almost exclusively at the ground.

So, there’s another lesson here, but I’ve not quite got it yet. It has to do with noticing and opening to new things and at the same time holding what you know. I like the image of the mind ripening, nourished by experience and leavened by deepening wisdom.

In practical terms, I think it means I need to do my best not to step on the Red Efts. But I also need to raise my eyes in readiness for the owl that swoops through the hemlocks on silent wings. Oh, and I also need to not trip!

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3 Responses to Red Efts — When the Mind is Ripened

  1. Katie says:

    I’ve loved these last two posts – so true! What a great reminder to look beyond ourselves.

    Stupid question: what’s a red f?


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