There are some meditations that cooperate, and some that just won’t. There are some days I set foot into the woods and my thoughts slough away effortlessly. And there are days when the thoughts wrap around me like a boa, constricting my breath and my pace as I walk along the path.

On days like that, when the thoughts insist on slithering about, I like to pick a topic. If they’re going to wind around like that, they might as well wind around something useful.

Yesterday was one of those days — perhaps the pinpoint focus of my workday had kept the thoughts too caged-up. So I gave them a theme: think about the memoir piece we’re working on. A mantra, if you will.

“Was that a woodpecker?” the thoughts wondered.




“Butterfly. Butterfly. Butterfly.”

Memoir. Memoir. Memoir.

“Is it warm enough for snakes yet?”




Eastern Rat Snake, crossing mind and path.

• • •

Image: “Nala Damajoute, Snake Charmer,” 1883, courtesy of the Shelburne Museum.

Photo ©2012, Jen Payne

(Editor’s Note: Recently, WordPress implemented something called “infinite scrolling,” which allows you to over-consume information by simply scrolling down to read post after post after post ad infinitum. But my intent, as the author/owner of this blog, is for you to read each post on its own; to sit with it and enjoy it, unencumbered by the clutter and distraction that is so commonplace in our world today. If you are of like mind, you can click on the title under “Recent Posts” to the right. This should take you to a single page with a single post.)

8 thoughts on “Thought-Charmer

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    1. It’s so funny. I got closer and closer and closer. Then woke, that night, with a start, wondering: what if it bit me? (They are not poisonous, it turns out, but it’s funny it didn’t occur to me to even think about it, it was just so beautiful.)

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