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Breath-less

"In which Bear shows Girl how breathing can be…simple."
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Afternoon was getting on. The Girl had spent a lazy day, rocking on the front porch and looking at the mountains, feeling very much as if they were looking back at her. Later, she had discovered some jigsaw puzzles in a closet and selected one. She laid it out on the sole table and started sorting the pieces, looking for the edges.


Bear wandered over after a while to see what she was up to, then started pointing out pieces she'd overlooked – until she got sore and told him to knock it off. He chuckled, but wandered out to his favorite spot on the porch and settled down, seemingly waiting for the mountains. Or something…

She eventually finished the edge, creating the outline of the puzzle, and decided to stop. She wandered back out to the porch, rocked for a bit, then said, "Bear?"

His head swung to look at her, "Girl?"

"I'm sorry I shouted at you."

He laughed his deep, throaty laugh. "Perfectly okay, Girl. I hate backseat drivers myself. And I'm a really bad one!"

They sat in silence for a while, then he got up, and said, "Come with me, please." And loped off the porch, wandering towards the woods.

Puzzled at first, the Girl got up, stretched, then hurried to catch up, finally placing her hand on his back, both to help her keep pace, but also to let him know she was there. He turned his head and grinned – she was starting to understand his expressions – then looked forward.

They were following a trail that seemed familiar, although she couldn't quite place it. Then he veered suddenly, down a path she would have completely missed, had she not known it was there. They had to push their way through the undergrowth but eventually found themselves on a different ledge, overlooking the lake, one she hadn't seen before.

The Bear said nothing but just sat, so the Girl set herself down, sitting tailor-fashion, on the ground and waited.

While she waited, she looked out at the view. It was stunningly beautiful, like so many views here in the mountains.

But the more she looked, the more something profound seemed to happen to her. She tried to figure out what was going on, but finally just gave up.

And gradually, she found it. The scene before her seemed…perfect. It was almost as if it had been composed like a painting by a brilliant artist. Everything ahead of her – the dead tree, the overhanging branches, the mountains off to her left, the dappled reflections on the water far below…it all seemed in harmony.

It inspired quietness.

The two friends sat in silence. Not doing anything, not saying anything, barely moving.

Eventually, Girl found she was barely breathing, and her breathing was even and measured. It reminded her of the week she had spent once at an ashram in Big Sur. They had been big on breathing – and had made a big deal about it.

Here, she found herself just…doing it. It soothed her.

Finally, when the sun started to go down, the Bear stirred himself, got up, looked at her, and said, "Come. Let's be getting home."

She slowly rose from her cross-legged seat, looked around, took a deep breath, and said, "Thank you, Bear."

Then they wandered home.


It had been a good day.

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