Ah, city life. It’s good for a few things but for me, at the end of the day it’s repressive, stale and overwhelming at times. So many people in such a small place. When you walk down the street the rule is look forward and don’t make eye contact, or the person may say hi and ask you how you are.
For me, living in a major city is like sleep having deprivation. My body is always tired and never feels totally rested. The longer I stay, the more clouded my mind feels. After a while you just lose sensation and drone on, going through the motions, one foot following the other.
In times like this, I think of the great wanderers like John Muir, Grandma Gatewood and other naturalists who found joy in leaving the crowded populations for something more. While it’s one of my life goals to walk the Appalachian Trail, for now I will just have to settle for smaller section hikes and daily walks.
“Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action.” John Muir
Walking lately has been such a breath of fresh air. Clearing the cobwebs of my mind and getting me out of the city funk that has held me for far too long. I’ve noticed too that the rest of my family has benefited from our hikes and camping trips. My kids who are forever attached to some electronic device have started looking less grim when I say let’s go adventuring today. They are also fighting less. My wife who is always as beautiful as a shining star looks even more remarkably radiant when she’s out in the woods.
Last night I went on a long walk and realized I’m still letting one foot follow the other. Left foot right foot, repeat. But now it’s the journey not the destination that makes the difference. Walking at 2mph affords you the time to unplug and look around. Without the electric white noise your free to think, free to dream. T.E. Lawrence said “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”
Maybe it’s time to become dangerous and dream with our eyes open. What could we accomplish? Let’s take a walk and dream.