By Barbara Janelle M.A.

Previously unpublished

I sat above the small pond hidden in the woods, my back against the big white pine, and asked about life here. The pine showed me how time is music that flows without interruption. There are no separate pieces, not even days and nights. All is part of what preceded and what comes next – a NOW without beginning or ending. Energy- matter ongoing in a stream of NOW.


I am closer to comprehending this after these last few months on sabbatical in Maine. I learned of the little seasons this summer by watching the plants and animals and insects and weather. The procession of wild flowers, Blue-eyed grass, Daisies, Black-eyed Susans, Queen Anne’s Lace, Goldenrod, Jewelweed and Asters: each flowed into the next and yet the Goldenrod did not bloom with the Daisies.

The Hummingbirds, so demanding at the feeder in July, chose the wildflowers at the forest edge in August as they sought different sugars in preparation for their September travels.

The most distinctive teachers of flow are the mushrooms whose appearance is like a parade, as each successive kind develops. Some stay for a while like the Orange Fairy cups that come in mid summer and are still smiling. The big coral fungus seems to appear over night and leave almost as quickly. Last week the little brown mushrooms appeared in the driveway, then the parchment grew fast on the old log. Yesterday, there were mushrooms at the base of the hemlocks that were not there two days ago.


Like notes in a piece of music, each being comes in when it is needed, sings its note and makes way for the next. All are interconnected and interdependent and cooperative. It is a very different view of life to see it as a flow rather than as isolated events. Perhaps both understandings are valuable.