I sensed a touch of embarrassment (or was it guilt or regret?) as my friend described her feelings.

I don’t remember her words but I sensed what she was seeking. I checked to make sure. No, I wasn’t projecting. Yes, she wanted what I‘d heard her imply.

I caught it, perhaps, because I’m often seeking it too.

The desire to slow down. Even more.

Even though we’re already going at a pace that many might already consider slow.

It was that hint of embarrassment/regret/guilt that struck me… that fear, that worry… around the urge to slow down. I feel that often. Sometimes I notice it, and often I don’t. At times it leads me to speed back up only because I think I should.

But there it was — the wondering about why we seem to keep wanting this. How we keep slowing down and yet that only seems to make us want to slow down even more.

Now I am projecting. But that’s how I often feel.

And then I returned to working on the burial mound that my partner and I are creating around our beloved mule, Felipe, who passed away last week.

Felipe choose this place to rest, and around his body we are making a terrace, a garden bed.

Felipe’s Park.

This spot, where he surrendered his 35-year-old body to the earth, is one of the most beautiful places on our land. Covered in blackberry bramble and small pine trees, we’d not appreciated it before.

It lies just outside of his corral, where he’d wandered, and stopped. He could have gone far, off into the woods. But here he let go.

At times that knowing soothes my heart. I tell myself it’s because here he felt loved. Safe. Home. I will never know if that’s why he died here, but I do know those things are true.

And here we build.

Slowly.

Slowly, because it requires me to choose each stick, each log, each bunch of pine needles, to fit them into a growing terrace, built into the side of the hill.

Slowly, because I need to pause, at times, to cry.

Slowly, as I feel the warmth of the evening sun coming through the trees, I smile. What a magical spot this is.

Slowly, as we build Felipe’s park, we heal.

Here, in this spot, we try to accept endings while creating beginnings.

We build a terrace from rich fertile earth… with fallen leaves and branches… slowly, as we remember our fallen friend.

We mourn. We connect.

Day by day, bit by bit, we heal.

Slowly.