Saturday, November 2, 2013

Not grand

We're in the midst of a beautiful autumn here, all blue sky and bright leaves. It won't last long, and I got up this morning determined to get out and enjoy the splendid day. Just as I was headed out the door I felt a sort of mantle of resistance settle over me. My desire to go hiking became a desire to do something, anything else, and I considered opting instead for a morning at the computer. I kept moving, though, mostly from force of habit. All the way to the park I thought about how much I didn't want to go there. Turn around. You're sick of these walks. You need to take a break from them. Go home and make some other use of this day. But I pressed on, and once I got to the park it seemed stupid not to do at least a short turn down one of the trails. After about a half hour of steady walking, the pleasure kicked in. I knew it would. It always does. I call it pleasure, but I actually mean something much more intense than that word suggests. I'd call it bliss or joy, but those don't seem quite right either. It's a quiet surrender of the self that happens. There's no loss of the self, no transcendence — I am very much present and entirely *me* — but I feel connected and somehow permeable to everything around me. Even though I'm aware of a few annoyances and the handful of actual dangers, I feel at odds with nothing. I resent nothing. Maybe the word for this state is "undefended" — not a grand word, but there's nothing grand about the experience. It's extraordinary, but not grand.

Photo by Maria Browning. Click on the image to enlarge it