Today we were on a mountain in New Lebanon, NY. We walked a mile up a dirt road, and half way up there was an old (150 years?) slanted heavy stone post in the ground on the roadside that said “NY-MASS state line/ Boston MA 146 miles/Albany NY 26 miles” (or something to that effect), after which the road curved around, and one didn’t know if one was in Massachusetts or in New York. We had driven yesterday from Cambridge to Williamstown MA, (and at one point had to go on a long detour off of Route 2 because part of it was covered with mud in Savoy MA from the heavy rains brought by TS Lee) and had spent four hours climbing around on Mt Greylock before settling into a beautiful Bed and Breakfast for the night. We drove and hiked and slept and drove and hiked and ate and drove, and covered many many miles.

This afternoon though, we were walking along a wood road off the aforementioned dirt road, and I spotted a very small orange Newt, who looks like a Salamander, but he’s bright orange with little spots and his skin is dryish as opposed to a Salamander, who’s skin is wettish. I watched him for a couple of minutes as he moved along a mossy outcropping of rock, very quietly and unobtrusively, surrounded by a big forest and looking so tiny in a big world. I wondered how he got to the spot he was in, and I wondered many other things too. Where was he going? How would he ever find another Newt? Why did the creator make him orange (perhaps to make it easier to find him? or to warn predators that he wouldn’t taste good?) or to put it another way, why did he evolve into a being who is bright orange only in this particular stage of his life (the “eft” stage)? These and many other questions drifted through my mind as I watched him inch a teeny bit forward here, a teeny bit forward there. He would move a leg, and then seem to contemplate for a minute or two whether this was a good idea, then move another leg.

We walked up the road a ways and then walked back a few minutes later , and the Eft had moved a whole foot/12 inches!! He was not on the rocky outcropping anymore, but was making his way out over a Beech twig that had fallen onto the moss beside the wood road and was itself was covered in fallen matted Beech leaves. I realized then that this small being was going exactly where he needed to go, at exactly the velocity he needed to go at, and that almost nothing in the universe would or could change that. I then perceived him as setting a great example for me and for all other humans, especially those caught in traffic jams, and/or who are otherwise beset by forces out of their control which seem to be thwarting them from where they want to be. His world is perfect exactly as it is, and any questions I might pose would only diminish this perfection. I am led to questioning my own mind which is often full of questions and questing, and to see how important it is for me to see myself as just fine, right where I am.

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2 Responses to Newt

  1. Every time I am stuck in traffic I will remember the wise Newt.

  2. Sara Wright says:

    I have loved those little guys since I was a small child. My brother and I would race off into the woods after a rain so we could overturn rocks and see them under leaves. This reflection of yours carries a timeless message… one we all need to follow for our sanity.

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