I have dropped the ball. Not failed, just have not upheld my end of the bargain. My goal when I buckled myself into the driver’s seat of TomTom (the nickname for my car) two months ago was to post each day or two and to share reflections and pictures of my trip to the Southwest. The pictures issue ended up being one of poor planning: it is hard to download them from my camera when I forget to bring my computer. The reflections issue rests on the simple fact that the trip was life changing. That is a big, warm, comforting space of tranquility to distill into words. Thus, I am admitting fear in attempting to do so.
Removal of myself from my own project and joy (eco.log.y) has been a nagging reminder that over thinking can, and often does, foster paralysis. Yet even internal conflict has a way of finding, and fighting for, the path through. This morning I woke and was presented with the question, “have you given up or simply been absorbed by living?” As I looked out the window, across Malibou Lake, surrounded by the chaparral covered hills of Southern California, and listened to the breathing of the two dogs that lay next to my bed, I answered with a big smile. “I have been living!”
You see, in expanding my horizons and interests, I have also condensed and sweetened the juice of knowing what is at my core; the outdoors, friends, science, physical activity. Downstairs, on the kitchen table is a microscope and vials of ants to identify. Outside is a new surfboard and gentle shore breaks. Tranquility rests in knowing I have learned to balance play and playful work. Learned to embrace the small as an element of the big. Learned that expanding into the world can be a path to understanding the framework of our inner workings.
I will leave you with these words from John C. Van Dyke’s The Desert, words that accompanied my morning coffee.
“What is it that draws us to the boundless and the fathomless? Why should the lovely things of earth – the grasses, the trees, the lakes, the little hills – appear trivial and insignificant when we come face to face with the sea or the desert or the vastness of the midnight sky? Is it that the one is a tale of things known and the other merely a hint, a suggestion of the unknown? Or have immensity, space, magnitude a peculiar beauty of their own? Is it not true that bulk and breadth are primary and essential qualities of the sublime in landscape? And is it not the sublime that we feel in immensity and mystery? If so, perhaps we have a partial explanation of our love for sky and sea and desert waste. They are the great elements. We do not see, we hardly know if their boundaries are limited; we only feel their immensity, their mystery, and their beauty. And quite as impressive as the mysteries are the silences.”