Trail Sketches Revisited

Trail Sketches: The Art of No Expectations

Local News News & Updates

By Timothy Hull

There was a particular kind of silence to this New Year’s Eve, which is fine because the state of things requires a little more contemplative quiet. The winter walloped us with a late December storm, high winds and some destruction. It was as if 2020 was determined to careen its way out of our lives, unwilling to go quietly. Yet on the actual eve of the year’s change, it was still and calm, only some distant fireworks and the clamoring of our own bells could be heard through the flats between Edenville and Amity.

One week into 2021 and I feel that I’ve experienced the 7-day trial run and I’d like to cancel my subscription! Yet onwards we must sally forth, like time itself. This was the first year in memory that I didn’t bother to make any resolutions, lofty goals or grand plans for the coming year. No, I decided if 2020 taught us anything, it’s to practice non-resistant allowing. 

What does that mean? To me, it’s a sense of simply not getting myself stressed out about things I have no control over. It’s a sense of getting quiet and listening for the still, true voice inside of me. It’s understanding that what you resist, persists. 2020 taught me to trust in the process of the unfolding of life, to appreciate any and all moments as they arose and to not make too firm of a plan because it likely would become an issued rain-check. 

In fact, in 2021 I thought to allow inspiration to guide me. Like just today, I was walking to my studio to work on a painting when instead of going indoors, I just kept walking and walked for an hour along Chardavoyne Road and then into the woods where I followed a busy stream upwards to the incredible glacial rock outcroppings on the property of the Chardavoyne Barn. Not accessible to the general public, there is a special rock up there, poised vertically atop a steep hill. I climbed up to see it, wearing tennis shoes and dressed not so smartly for the cold (when you’re following inspiration, you don’t have time to dress appropriately) Now, I’m not going to wax (too) philosophical about the unique and special nature of rocks in this region, but they certainly do have a sense of place and presence. Set aloft by nature, ancient civilizations, or an industrious farmer, a large rock in a unique setting can be awe inspiring. If you believe that the spirit of God pervades everything, then it’s not a stretch to feel presence in stone. 

Where is this story leading? I’m pointing to the fact that I set out to go to work and I ended up on top of a hill marveling at an impressive rock; and I have felt more enriched by that insouciant diversion. There’s something to that old cliche “Take time to stop and smell the roses” 

Well, that’s what 2021 is going to mean to me, a practice in the art of no expectations and following inspiration. Try it, you never know where you’ll end up! 

Trail Sketches Revisited
Trail Sketches Revisited


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