Walking the path that follows the cliffs along the river near my home, I often think about the people who lived here thousands of years ago.
They must have found this place an oasis of shelter, water, fish, and game in the middle of the harsh virgin forest. I imagine them making camp along the limestone outcroppings, keeping their fires and defenses close to the stone, bathing and playing in backwaters, picking berries, hunting deer.
I have recently paid attention to the fact that my solitude is always an accompanied solitude.
Last year, I took part in several group walking meditation sessions in the woods. During these walks, I found that was I flooded with images from the path and the season, and with associated images of people I once knew and events evoked by the trees and plants, and I realized that the group experience only compounded another type of experience, that of being accompanied by other inhabitants of the landscape of my mind.