Tonight I stepped onto familiar tracks in the moonlight. I adore this time of the month with the moon lighting the way, with the silver light on the trees and forming pools on the autumn ferns it is indeed something special. I realised as I walked that the wrong mindset could make the wood an intimidating place. So often as a child I was told to focus or concentrate, all well and good if you are solving a mathematical problem or a test of detailed observation. I find a clear mind helps with the task of walking in such conditions, not a focused mind.
By allowing all your senses to inform you of the general surroundings, the chances of loosing footing in the darkness or moonlit shadows is reduced, as is the chance of being disturbed by a shadow or movement in the darkness. Sound carries so well in the still wood, from a moment standing still I can hear owls and distant traffic. any disturbance in the undergrowth is easily detected. My sense of touch tells me of every breath of wind and the ground beneath every footfall. My sense of smell picks up the aroma of the autumn fires within houses close to the wood, my eyes are treated to the illuminance of the full moon and the sight of the stars in a clear sky above the wood.
From experience I am aware that fear causes focus, a focused mind centers on a point and quickly analyses it before deciding on fight or flight. It disregards the peripherals and prepares itself for a preconceived threat.
By relaxing the mind and educating the subconscious, so much more information can be gathered. Fear is an essential part of our make up and evolution, it often guides our movements to preserve us. But a life lived in fear misses so much.
With the exception of my old dog I am the only one who perceived the treasures before me tonight and I will gladly share them here.