Tuesday, May 12, 2009

wilderness

I tend to use my writing as a barometer of how life is going for me. As I look back over the years of these posts, I can usually tell what general frame of mind I was in. Whatever seemed to be the general tone of my existence usually leaked out through my keyboard to leave a permanent recording of my mental state. Someday, someone could come along and trace my progression into madness….whatever. Probably some first year Psych student could pull that one off. If the writing can tell something , then I guess probably the silence can as well. Some weeks, the words just run over from my life onto the screen. Sometimes the inspiration doesn’t come so easily. It’s been so long since I’ve even felt like writing. It may be the longest gap since I began this almost 3 years ago. I’m not really feeling very much inclined this morning to write either.
Last week, my wife and I took a short sabbatical to worship the mouse down in LA. We took full advantage of the sun, the palm trees, a wonderful hotel , and a low attendance week to ride ourselves into a relaxed state. We watched people, gave other people something to watch, and generally enjoyed being unplugged and unattached to cyberspace for the week. When we got home we engaged in some gardening and other domestic niceties. I was quite empty by the end of it, but it was a good empty. I highly recommend it.
While I was gone, wanting to feed my love for reading, but needing to not read “work” stuff, I took along a used copy of Into The Wild, by Jon Krakauer. It’s the story of a recent college graduate who gives away his savings, his car, disconnects from his family, and sets out across the country for a couple year odyssey living on his own, eventually being discovered dead from starvation in the Alaskan wilderness. It is a fascinating account pieced together from interviews with people he encountered along the journey and through journals and photos left behind in the wake of his travels. It has also been made into a movie that I have yet to see.
It was the wilderness aspect that was fascinating to me. In my younger years, I was fortunate to spend many days in the Adirondack mountains in northern New York. As remote as some of that experience was, I was never in danger of starvation. At worst, I might have had a meal delayed for a few hours while I pursued some renegade trout up a mountain stream. It hardly compares. I do remember the ability to have a clear mind while in the wilderness. To have no thoughts but the moment, and no worries except the next adventure is something that doesn’t come along often. As odd as it sounds, I had some of that again in the midst of thousands in a place called Disney. Could that have been wilderness? Didn’t look or feel much like the environment I was reading about. But it was peaceful in an odd sort of way. Being not that much of a people person, living an urban existence, that realization is very encouraging to me. Wilderness can be where you make it to be.

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