Monday, November 2, 2009

Boxy



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!!

26 comments:

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

You are "boxed" into your mind, yep, we all need to get out, slow down, look up and 'round & about as we go. I'll think about this as I go for a walk this lovely November morning. Have a wonderful week. Lizzy

Angela said...

Have you ever read the book by Bruce Chatwin about the Australian Aborigines (forgot the title), how they create the world by walking and singing? We were made to walk, he says, babies sleep while being carried by their walking mothers, our whole body AND mind stays sane. People who live in the desert, they know. Must think of the title, I loved the book.

Angela said...

The Songlines, 1987.

Merle Sneed said...

Sometimes I feel like my life is a giant box.

willow said...

Wow, I love those tree pics! Yup, we get all cob webby in our boxes, don't we?

tam said...

One day, when I build my ultimate house, there will be no boxes and very few straight lines. what a delicious autumn you are having.

debra said...

Enjoy this day of the full Beaver Moon.

Mrsupole said...

Great pictures, and I wonder where did all the leaves go in just a few days? Did you have some winds? You are so right about the boxes, and needing to get out and walk around. Lately I've been thinking that when I am fully recovered that I might walk around the block every once in a while. In CA, rarely does anyone walk anywhere. We really have to make an effort to walk and then again it is not always safe. Gonna have to have hubby make me a stick if I am going to walk.

Thanks for confirming for me that walking is so good for our minds, body, and soul.

God bless.

Joanne said...

In my own home, I like the boxiness of the rooms, each one dedicated to a different mood, purpose, essence. But it's interesting the places we can go to get out of the box ... outdoors, anytime. Within music. Lost in a good book. So many ways for the walls to come down in thought.

Meri said...

Having just come back from Egypt, I am still outside the box and very much in timelessness. I hope I stay here a while longer.

lakeviewer said...

Reya, there are many people who don't know what they are missing by spending their entire lives indoor. We moved to this place for its natural ways and we were healed by them. Just throwing a crab pot and waiting for those creatures to make their way into that box opens your eyes to the liquid/sandy world of crabs. We got to retrieve our nerve endings and all our senses.

This is a very important post.

Linda Sue said...

Reya, The tree bones are beautiful, favorite sort of trees are the naked ones, not all fluff and colour but more interesting twists and tangles.
If it were not for my pooch I would not go out as much as I do. Especially in the sort of weather we have up here...I am so much healthier because of the pooch but sometimes I would rather not have to take him for the daily long strolls and sniffs. I like boxes, I really do.

NanU said...

Boxes everywhere, keeping us in, keeping us out, keeping our lives partitioned, dividing up our minds. Get out of one and there's always another. The thing is to make peace with the good ones. I think you're actually pretty good at that.

Nancy said...

I know exactly what you mean. I spend too much time on the computer. Too much time in my chair, perched at the window. Not nearly enough time outside. I will remedy that with a long walk every day, regardless of weather. Okay, well, maybe not when it's howling, but most other days. :-)

Hammer said...

I see your point, but I fear that without boxes, my entire gender would be unable to function.

Steve said...

I stayed inside much of the day yesterday, and as wonderful as it was, it felt great to get out and stroll around at dusk in the field near Dave's with my new camera. I have to get outside and wander, if only for a short time each day!

ellen abbott said...

I'm lucky in that I arranged my life to be able to spend as much time outdoors as I can. My shop and studio rooms must have views of the outside and when we were hunting for property, one of the prerequisites was that the house must have lots of windows. I don't do curtains (have mini-blinds though). when I was river guiding, I would be outdoors 24/7, even sleeping under the stars unless it rained, for 3 to 10 days at a time. I gotta tell you, coming back after a long trip, it took several days to get accustomed to being indoors again.

Tom said...

looking forward to reading about your adventure outside the box...next week i have a last vacation and am reallly hoping the weather allows for hiking--i mean serious mudgrubbing hiking, the kind only a 30 minute shower will wash away. That's outside the box, right?

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks Angela I will definitely get my hands on that book.

Merle, at least it's a great big box.

I walked for an hour after work today, took my time, looked at the sky and smelled the air, you know. It really helps me. As Rosaria says, it is healing to spend time outdoors, it really is.

Nothing better than going camping, or to camp, or figuring out a way to spend a week mostly outdoors, like you did Ellen or as Tom will next week. Maybe I need a couple of days out in the country somewhere. Hmmm ...

Reya Mellicker said...

Hammer as much as I detest all gender generalizations, I did laugh at the bit about the two brains.

I do have a nothing function (not a box) - it's called meditation. I go there every day.

Miss you.

Elizabeth said...

You go girl!
Yes, the dog provides built in exercise outdoors and walking meditation time.
Squirrel alert.

Nature is good
boxes less so.
The dog park has become a big social event in my and Buster's day!

steven said...

hi reya - i'm so with you. i work inside a building comprised of rectangular cement blocks, which connect together to create more-or-less rectangular rooms which collectively form large rectangular buildings.
my remedy for this is to ride something with two round forms that creates slight curving lines of travel. i ride on little streets, big streets, and country roads. i also walk in woods. as much as possible. elizabeth of nyc just wrote to say that she thought you would like to go on the wlk i have posted today. you're welcome always reya!!! steven

Barbara Martin said...

I understand perfectly, and I do need to get out walking more myself to rid myself of cobwebs. Perhaps tomorrow if the rain stops.

Ronda Laveen said...

There is something about being with animals outdoors that brings your perspective out of your head and into your senses. The are shorter. Their view point and smells are different. In order for them to live and survive, this is a requirement. Yes, it is harder to stay in that space without their help.

I tried to view Hammer's two brains but couldn't get it to work. I am busy on this end too. Have wonderful days off.

Whitney Lee said...

I believe you see quite a bit through the lens of the camera. I for one, benefit from the beauty you post on your blog.
Because I have a dog and a child I am often outdoors. You're right; there's a necessary awareness when you're walking a dog. I enjoy the occasional walk by myself because it gives me an opportunity to meander and daydream in a way I cannot do when I'm walking the kid or the dog.
I have a thing for pictures of trees and leaves; these are just spectacular.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, Whitney.

And Ronda, as always: yes.