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A Walk with Lili

Early morning on my last day at Skowhegan, Lili, following me with her camera, guided me to a path/ trail on a small ridge in a wooded area beyond the last field above the studios. I heard at first the roar of the traffic in the not too far distance, perhaps the only busy road for miles around, but still present.

As I set out, I set the ground beneath my feet/ and listened/ as my feet one step at a time, felt the rocks and the moss beneath me. The day/ the morning could not have been more lovely as I felt my way along, still beyond the direct sunlight- the sun still relatively low in the morning sky and below the hill to the other side to my right. Soon I came to the first older tree. I do not know the species in this forest, but a deciduous tree. I felt with my left hand its aliveness. I felt it for a good long time and was in good contact with it, eventually feeling its roots beneath my feet and its connections to the other trees close by along the path as if it was communicating to the community that I was there. Along with this I began to feel the trees sense of time, and everything slowed down. As I moved on, my left hand seemed to be most able to connect and feel the trees, both larger and smaller or younger. As I moved along the trail step by step, slowly I looked around and upward. I could see different patches of the forest to my right and to my left- different greens responding to the movement of the light. I thought about painting this forest as I had many times in the past. I entered the sunlight. There was a patch or section along the trail that was fully lit but speckled with the shadow of leaves dispersing the light. The sun was not yet warming me, neither had it been cold in the forest- really an ideal day for comfort. I walked on, pausing at each perception from time to time- step by step- not wanting to hurry, staying in the present. At one point I heard and then saw a bird, which seemed to be chirping at us, but then I heard it had a friend that it was communicating with. And there seemed to be a few more of these birds around. Many times too I stopped or slowed to look up at the trees as they rose- and I felt other trees with my left hand. At times too I used them with my left hand to steady myself, to keep my balance as I walked. The trail was easy enough, but I did not want to stumble. For a moment my mind got ahead of myself, and I started to look forward, and I caught myself and slowed down my walking and brought down my eyes and consciousness to my steps, to the ground, and its softness, and I looked out to the forest. My mind did travel through to my past, to memories, to my first time at Skowhegan, and to my then girlfriend Sharli, but it did not stay there long. That was a memory. That was all, and my mind came back to the light filtering thought the trees- to the green- to the yellow/ green, to the yellows. I rarely saw the sky and didn’t register blue, but only a slightly toned white.

As I walked on, I saw a wooden structure ahead I did not think it was the end of the trail, but Lili called out to me that she was out of film. Lili had followed me, and I had been aware of her behind me but not overwhelmingly so, as her presence was quiet and far from intruding. She had a light presence, and had from the first moment given me the space and the time to experience this part of the Skowhegan woods. I don’t remember looking back at her once she released me to the trail, though I surely was aware she was behind me. When I turned my head right and left, I did not allow my vision to include her filming. So I stopped, turning my vision as she came into my peripheral vision. She told me when we stopped that the structure was probably an artwork in wood- it had lovely texture. We traced our steps along the trail to the car. We chose not to bushwhack a direct route.

My right hand was holding the microphone the whole time, mostly against my chest (my heart?)