[NOTE: Revisit of last year’s Christmas-themed post. Enjoy!]
On Monday, a bright, textbook sky blue morning, I picked up Marie and her son, Loki, and we headed up to Weedon Island Preserve. We were going to be the only people around, given the sparse parking lot. I love that. Don’t get me wrong, I love Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, but it’s too in the city and heavily trafficked. I’m trying to get my Henry David Thoreau on. I’m trying to loose the coil that is society for the next few hours.
I was led to reflect on Walden, one of the first books I read after deciding to cease living my old existence. My favorite chapter of the book, and I know you’ll think me strange, is The Bean-Field. His fastidiousness in accounting for developing his garden reminded me of how much I sought to control every value of my life as if it was a line item. It’s not that simple though; not every aspect of life can be quantified.
In the past few weeks I experienced a dynamic, negative shift in my professional aspirations as well as a negative shift in my personal relations, one in particular Marie witnessed herself this past Friday. We reached the lookout point and we got to the discussion of values, the who and whats in our life we’ve assigned priority to, and why. Revisiting the events of last Friday, it was evident that there was way too much expectation out of individuals on my end, as if I was going to find The Total Package upon every new relationship I build. The reality of it, as Marie succintly pointed out, is that will never exist in an individual or a thing, and the best way to keep Angst at bay is to carve out the part of the individual or thing you do value and hold on to that. Find contentment in what works, and acknowledge not everything is going to be fulfilling. It’s fatalistic, but easy to digest.
My focus returned to quality of living. I relaxed against the wooden bench, eased my spine, and felt the twists of Angst unfurl slowly. I tipped my white hat over my eyes and felt a long overdue relaxation. It was then that Marie mentioned she couldn’t find her camera. “Dammit, I just got comfortable.” I shifted slightly, ready to remove my pose. “We’ll double back. It’s got to be on the trail. You stay there.” Now that was nice of her. I heard the stroller and the whine of the boy dissipate towards the island, and I drifted away in a cat nap.
This, I realized, is the essence of being. My hands are not manipulating anything. The hard drive that is my brain has slowed its spinning to a dull loop. The breeze, perfect against my skin, the sun, warm enough to cause slight sweat. I felt cleansed. The act of Being is such a rare engagement. To detach, to be one with the sky and the water and the earth, reminds of the fickle nature of humanity. While cars zip around carrying frantic holiday celebrators to and from stores and to and from houses, fufilling social mandates of the season, I am here, Being. This is the best celebration I could possibly engage in, and a cherished gift.
I wrote myself a letter once I got home, and my plan is to read it on New Year’s Day. If I am lucky, I will Be on that day. I hope you will Be, too.