Monday, November 2, 2009
We modern American people spend too much time indoors, too much time in boxes, staring at boxes like TVs and computers, eating food from boxes. Even reading involves staring at a box of sorts. Any vision of the natural world is seen through windows that are usually square and reveal a box shaped world. We are boxed in. As my friend Sharon Austin would say, It ain't right.
One of the most important components of my Plan to Stay Sane is this edict: Spend Time Outdoors. And I do, but not nearly as much as I used to. When I worked at Healing Arts, my commute was a 25 minute walk. Though I did not enjoy that walk when it was 100 degrees or during an icy rain with lots of wind, almost every other day of the year I benefitted from all that fresh air, natural light, and weather. Now that I work across the street, and especially now that Jake is gone, there is no walk built-in to my day.
I still walk every day, but somehow I'm not paying as much attention to the world around me as I used to. It might be that I'm not slowing down the way I had to with Jake (since he was compelled to stop and sniff, and perhaps pee several times on every block). With Jake I always had to stay alert; he might take off after a squirrel or a UPS truck might pull up right in front of us. Jake did not like UPS delivery people, oh no. So I was always mindful when I walked with him.
Now I can wander around and stay in my head the whole time. I can walk fast and furious like other Washingtonians. There are benefits from that, but it also means I've kind of lost touch with the rhythms of the landscape. For instance I was astonished yesterday to see that, sometime in the last few days, since I took the pic attached to yesterday's post, the trees in the little triangle park across the street have ditched their leaves. Below is a pic of the same trees, taken yesterday. Wow. When did that happen??
My days off this week will be busy. I have errands to run, I'm going to do some teaching, cook dinner, plan a workshop and go see a neighbor about a ghost who is really bugging her, but I'm also determined to take a long walk, as if Jake was with me, during which I'm going to look around, reconnect with the trees and sky. I've got to get outside the box! Or else!!