A Walk

It’s not just the movement or the fresh air. There’s something else, deep, that gets satisfied. After sitting at a desk all day, with my mind deep in the far corners of the web, a walk puts me right into the world of physical things. The infinite subtleties of light, texture, and smell are a relief.

I prefer walks along the Laguna to walks though town. With its huge oaks, slowly-moving water and noisy birds the Laguna has a calmness that allows my awareness to expand. I can look far and it stretches the tired muscles of my eyes. The interactions between the inhabitants have an organic feel, so unlike the predictable ordered interactions of my code.

I love the transition from “creator” to “player” that happens when I leave the computer for a walk in nature. Instead of being responsible for EVERYTHING, I get to watch things happen and be acted upon. There’s a letting go of control, like releasing a breath held too long. It’s so easy to get caught up in control of everything. Our modern conveniences allow us to control light, temperature, cleanliness, growth. When I step into a wild place, I’m reminded that I’m not it’s master, a part of it certainly, a steward perhaps, but I can’t tell the hawk to dive, or the mouse to nibble.

Passing the blackberry bushes in bloom, buzzing with bees, I can almost taste the sun-warmed juice running down my tongue. The flowers smell a bit like the berries taste, how perfect.

I often leave my phone at home when going for a walk. It changes something. With it, I can access the global world and it can access me. As I put it on my desk before heading out, there is a brief moment of anxiety. It’s got a grip on me for sure, but when I leave it a home, I feel again like my young self playing at the river, a little lonely, a little bored at first. Now, I appreciate that feeling. It makes me aware of all the little lives around me: the grass, insects, animals. Instead of holding an invisible thread through my phone to all the world’s knowledge and all the world’s people, I connect to my immediate surroundings. I become aware of the wind on my face and the expansiveness of my awareness. It reminds me of a story I heard, in which a child who has been raised on TV and video games goes out into nature. His comment: “It’s so high resolution”. Perhaps it’s our attention, squished, streaming through the silicon and metal threads of digital communication that provides the contrast. Out here it’s super-broadband, all senses firing. I love it.

A snake flies by, held in the claws of a white-tailed kite. The kite circles once and lands in the top of a tree. It looks like a nest, perhaps occupied by his brooding mate. It is late spring and babies of all kinds will be coming soon.

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