Into the Hot Windy Afternoon

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“None of your knowledge, your reading, your connections will be of any use here: two legs suffice, and big eyes to see with. Walk alone, across mountains or through forests. You are nobody to the hills or the thick boughs heavy with greenery. You are no longer a role, or a status, not even an individual, but a body, a body that feels sharp stones on the paths, the caress of long grass and the freshness of the wind. When you walk, the world has neither present nor future: nothing but the cycle of mornings and evenings. Always the same thing to do all day: walk. But the walker who marvels while walking (the blue of the rocks in a July evening light, the silvery green of olive leaves at noon, the violet morning hills) has no past, no plans, no experience. He has within him the eternal child. While walking I am but a simple gaze.” ~ Frédéric Gros

“I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

It’s a fog, a good fog, that nestles within my head this morning. Perhaps it is simply shock. After many months of sedentary life I finally got out and walked along the West Rim trail, out along the Rio Grande Gorge. Yeh, it was nice – to put it mildly. My hope had been for some privacy as I walked, but there are obviously many tourists in town. Despite my druthers I still found all of those well-dressed people with shiny smiles and demeanors to be welcome companions out in that wide-open place. I felt happy for them to be walking in this place for the first time. But, back to the shock. With over 10,000 miles of bicycling under my belt I think I can accurately call myself an athlete. My best ride was a 30 day 1800 mile solo ride. That’s a brag, BTW. Now, having let depression whittle me down to near couch potato status I am mentally shocked to confront this oversight for the travesty it is. Physically speaking the body just says “that was good, let’s do it again”. No judgements like the mind can make. Just aches and soreness. So many people espouse the virtues of being in the here and now. That’s where the body is, by necessity. Listen or not, feel or not. I’ll listen to my aching body today as I navigate my workday. Though I would likely rather not . . . ummmm, let’s just say that my cynicism, when in gear, eschews participating in assigning merit badges for taking a hike. I cop to the negativity of such a view, but the view can also be instructive in that upon recognizing the cynicism I can pretty much also recognize the naturalness of simply sharing about having walked 6-7 miles out on that trail of breathtaking beauty. I don’t need no stinkin’ merit badge. Perhaps the most disturbing part of breaking a long spell of sedentary behavior is that I had a hard time keeping my mind open to the spiritual level as I walked. Or did I have trouble at all? Really? Yeh, I had a little hope/fantasy about stalking the Great God Pan out there. I used to do that up in Rio Chiquito Canyon back in the day, and the results were compelling and somewhat spooky. The truth is pretty simple. I’m just out of shape – on all levels. With practice I can open up to the spiritual level gradually. After all, it’s not that the spiritual level is lacking. It’s always there. Always engaged. What is lacking is simple awareness of the engagement with Spirit. If you think you are outside of that connection, think again. There is no way out. Though I would rather have started earlier in the day, to take advantage of cool Springtime air, I wandered right into the hot windy afternoon. Yet that as well felt good. And, of course, sunlight cleanses the aura, defrags the electromagnetic field, promotes healthy levels of vitamin D, whatever. All of the above. I’ll leave it at that. The workday is soon upon me. I feel good about it.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

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