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Idle thoughts and Realizing the Way

“Haven’t you met someone seasoned in the Way of Ease, a person with nothing to do and nothing to master?” …Yung Chia The Song of Realizing the Way.

I suspect it will take me a long time to actually be on mountain time–for my mind, impulses, and need for distractions to slow enough that my actual speed synchronizes with the tempo of a sunset, or the arrival of spring, or the way an elk moves across the deep snow, or press into the deep breaths of bears lumbering through forests.  I still make lists in the recesses of my brain of projects–fix the fence, clean the attic, hike those hills.

Trying to capture a full double rainbow--impossible!

Trying to capture a full double rainbow--impossible!

The best of me is spent wandering with no intention or direction.  I might begin with a ‘goal’ in mind, perhaps find some arrowheads or evidence of the nights’ activities in the woods.  Soon I’m wandering–“tooling around”  I like to call it.  My feet guide me while my mind rests, open, no thought, just present, alert for the dangers of the wilds.  Then I am my happiest.

Strangely, in those hours, I’ve accomplished nothing, built nothing, cleaned nothing, fixed nothing and probably not even seen one person.  But my body is relaxed, my mind free, and many times I’ve discovered a new flower, or scat; noticed animal evidence I might have missed or discovered obsidian shavings, maybe a buffalo tooth.

Vulture chicks

Vulture chicks

“Idle hands do the devil’s work” joked a friend with me the other day.

“Never heard that before”, I replied. Must come from deep in our puritan work ethics.

I, for one, want to become comfortable with idleness, daydreaming, and random muckiness.  Yung Chia might agree.  For me, it seems so much harder to cleave and sunder the addiction to speed our society perpetuates; to be comfortable traveling at the mph of a drying dewdrop, to sit with boredom and feel my smallness in the universe, to allow the silence of a night sky.

These are primeval rhythms, hidden deep in the recesses and folds of old human time.  I suspect that, with enough patience, these familiarities will surface and subsume me.  At least, I ride on that hope.

Occasionally my dreaming connects with these old stories–I know the future or suddenly I’m wise.  These channels are there and can be opened, but for now I am mostly like the rusty cans I find along my walks, relics of modern life lying on ancient earth.

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One Response

  1. Beautiful vulture chick pics! What’s the story behind them?

    Mountain time, per Leopold: “Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf.” Or something like that. But we (human people) live and we die, and in the meantime have only our own emphemeral standpoint from which to view things. For thousands of years, we have taken without returning, building a vast, unsustainable machine. Now, more than a few are trying to figure out how we might halt & repair the damage before it’s too late. Good luck on your path.

    Like

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