We had been traveling for ages – being chased, more like – at a paced hike through unwieldy terrain, roots and underbrush, and I could feel my body pleading against future steps. The rain had kicked up some time ago and, though the dense jungle canopy shielded the majority of the drops, it brought with it an unbearable humidity that weighed on my clothing and my heart.
“Here,” my teacher slowed his pace approaching a shallow cave created by the roots of a great tree separating the earth. “This is the perfect place for a quick break,” as he set down his pack.
“Shouldn’t we keep moving?” I countered, baffled at his jaunty disposition.
“I’m a little hungry, aren’t you?” He had cleared out a space and begun setting the works for a small fire amongst the dirt within the cave.
“This doesn’t really seem like the time for a leisurely snack.”
“We’ve had an exciting morning. Food, rest, and mediation. Sit.” He was seated, kneeling with his legs underneath, in front of the simple fire pit, with two small portions of our rationed food in either hand. I sighed and rolled my eyes and stepped down into the cave beneath the roots to kneel across from him. He reached across to hand me the small bundle of dried fruits and meats then lowered a single palm over the prepared kindle. Within moments a spark and then embers, a steady spread until a fire lit.
“Eat, calmly, and let your thoughts wander.” His voice seemed to divagate within the cave and he closed his eyes. Everything about him fell dormant except for the simple motion of his arms feeding food to his mouth and the churning of his jaw.
I watched his example and closed my eyes, struggling to pull my thoughts away from our pursuers or the future what would come if they managed to capture us. I chewed anxiously on dehydrated mouthfuls, my mind racing, concentrating on channeling drills from the day prior.
“Stop trying,” his voice flowed through my mind like a breeze. I opened my eyes to look upon him there and for a moment I found him difficult to perceive. “Just do. Chew and relax. Absorb your surroundings.”
I closed my eyes once more, took in a deep breath, and turned my mind away from my fears. I focused on the warmth of the fire, the crackles of the kindling, and the rain fall outside, until my thoughts left me and I floated into a state of autoscopy free of time and my understanding of space. I traveled like air through the trees, brushing the leave and carrying with me dirt and pollen and seeds, the very breath of life. I became the crashing waters, and the shifting earth – the primal powers both fearsome and superb. I was at balance and, for once, for what felt entirely too brief, I was at peace.
“Better?” My teacher’s voice again. I took a deep breath, my worldly senses returning, and opened my eyes to look up at him standing.
Daily Prompt: Snack
Word of the Day: divagate