Monday, 8 August 2011
Cuel - A new place to meditate
The old rustico where I like to meditate is owned by a family who use it most Sundays during the summer, and they probably will into hunting season. Now that it’s August and Italy closes down for holiday they spend more time there during weekdays. Anyway, the consequence is that I have had to find alternative places to meditate.
On our mountain there are a number of clearings in the woods, where the hunters set up pill boxes and bird traps. I stumbled across one of these just ten minutes further on from my rustico. If you forget what it actually is, a place to trap and kill animals, it is a very peaceful and pretty place. I have sat and meditated here a few times, but even though I am not squeamish and probably have eaten some of its trappings in my local trattoria, I eventually decided that meditation in a place set up to kill didn’t tally and so I went in search of another spot.
I’d been told that there was a clearing high up, called Cuel, where some of the trees where very old, one in particular was said to be 500 years old. Apparently there had been many more trees this old but they had been chopped down during the war to build cabins for partisans. I went in search of the 500 year old tree, sure that it would give me the perfect energy for my meditation, which after 18months of practising I am still struggling to master.
It wasn’t difficult to find the clearing, it was only another ten minute walk from the hunters spot. When I arrived at the clearing the first thing that I noticed was the spectacular view across to the pre-alpi, interrupted only by the puffy white clouds that floated past, some of which I was looking down on.
Then I noticed the wild apple and pear trees,
then another old rustico and standing beside it was the beautiful old tree.
The trunk was about 2.5m, maybe 3m in diameter and the lower branches at least 1m.
The bark low down was thick and craggy like the skin of a really old person who had lived their whole life in the sun, but up above I could see that new healthy branches had sprouted and the tree looked as if it would easily live another five hundred years.
I walked around the tree looking for somewhere comfortable to sit and meditate, and I wasn’t surprised when I discovered low at the base of the trunk a bench like formation inviting me to sit.
So I sat, closed my eyes and meditated. To be honest, I still couldn’t master it and I haven’t been able to since, maybe I never will, but I have had glimpses of where I think it will take me. These glimpses and also the calm and peacefulness I find sitting under the old tree or outside the old rustico set me up for the day and make me more prepared for any difficult situation that may arise. Mind you I sometimes wish I could stay up there all day, but knowing I can go there the next day I can walk back down with a smile on my face and spring in my step.