Uva ursi grows like a carpet in the sands of the National Seashore here on Cape Cod. Also known as Bearberry it holds the sand down, keeping it from eroding + blowing away; a tough job this time of year when the winds howl and the chop of the seas can be felt on your skin no matter how far you are from the ocean.
The new plant growth turns a shade of red when in full sun, while the older growth maintains its evergreen leaves. And although there are no longer bears on Cape Cod, its namesake would have you guess otherwise. These days, the bright red bearberries are food for birds and other wildlife during the dark days of winter.
Thomas + I found this patch along a trail in one of our favorite spots in Wellfleet. Between the pines and the bearberry, it winds through the woods and empties you out onto the top of a dune that drops off and down to the ocean. Over the years we've been walking there, you can see the woods closing in on the trail. We now have to duck + bow between the branches. We step gingerly around the tendrils of bearberry. We notice the only footprints in the sand are not from feet but from paws. I'm aware of the quiet in the part of my mind that is usually revving like an engine. It is silenced by the uva ursi swirling at my feet, by the boom of the ocean waves I feel in my bones.
It is here I am reminded that the awe of nature brings peace of mind. It is here thoughts are replaced by color, by feeling. The mind shuts off and the senses take over.
I make a silent vow to get here more often.
Wishing you peace of mind during this brain-revving, busy holiday season. Take a long walk, short walk, any walk you can get in.
Breathe in the silence.