Self Analysis, Approaching Life, Appreciating Small Moments
09/11/2010 65 °F
Such a quiet morning. The river flows with a healthy chuckle. I feel the urge to grab my trusty hiking stick, and explore upstream. I resist, for now. The peace of the scene keeps me held in place, overcoming my urges by its own force of serenity. A soft breeze rolls over me, gently bobbing the ripening apples on the ancient apple trees behind me. I decide to grab one, and taste for ripeness. It’s close, but it needs one good night of frost to sweeten it to perfection. The light overcast sky is almost a perfect white. It is bright where the sun threatens to muscle through- but doesn’t. It’s content to be a benign presence this morning. The sun knows its power, but like all good rulers, it knows when to show force, and when to leave well enough alone. A bird chirps here and there, but really, that’s about all that is up and about this morning, other than me.
I look at these quiet moments as a chance to replenish my life‘s batteries. Moreover, these smallest moments in my day, are what I live for. I wrote to a friend of mine a few weeks ago, trying to explain my mindset while I’m traveling.
“Travel mode Tom is a sponge trying to inhale as much textures of the area that I can, to hopefully be able to share with others somewhere down the line. It also involves focusing on the present, to seize the day so to speak. Sometimes it looks for smaller moments, that make an impact, and other times it looks simply for the quietest whispers of a scene. A feather tumbling along a sidewalk, almost weightless. These smallest tendrils of a day add up and can make a good day phenomenal. If you notice them.”
She wrote back saying she like the way I worded this passage, one I didn’t think too much about as I wrote it. Upon rereading it, I realized how much I enjoy observing the small things in life. Since then, I’ve tried to be more observant of things I had taken for granted, such as the pleasant morning scene I enjoyed this morning.
I am in between trips once again, and I’m growing restless by the day. It’s kind of a “hurry up and wait” situation. My next job begins on the 18th of October, sailing the west coast of the US down to Baja, Mexico for the winter. I am so excited about this job, sometimes I don’t know whether to smile, laugh, scream or vomit. I’ve been hired on as a deckhand on a small cruise ship that explores pristine areas of the world. A dream job, one I never imagined myself lucky enough to find. And here I am. This opportunity came about for me, because I was in the right place at the right time. I made a positive connection and I acted upon their advice. The only way I made that rendezvous was by quitting my day job, and striking out into the great unknown.
I’m about to embark down another unknown river of life, chasing my dreams, and being challenged and rewarded on a daily basis. It’s a good life, and one that I’ve found I thrive in. Since my own philosophy has acknowledged that life is a continual flow of change, it made sense to me that instead of trying to organize life into increments of time, structure, routine and security- wouldn’t it be better to simply let go, and see where this flow will take you? So far, it has been very interesting.
When I cut the cord of security two years ago, actually, it was four years ago (when I moved out of my apartment, and into my van, beginning my alternative lifestyle) I had no idea where my life would be going. I knew I was heading to Alaska. Beyond that, my journey would be what I made of it. Where I went would unfold as inspiration, and circumstance presented itself to me. I can’t say I am a mystical wanderer, full of secret knowledge of life’s mysteries. I can say however, that I am a free spirit, ready and willing to jump at life’s opportunity, should it strike my fancy. In two years time, I’ve chased my own rainbow, not looking for the pot of gold, that’s a fool’s errand, but just digging the intense spectrum of colors and landscapes that my journey has offered me: Southeast Alaska, Jasper, Banff, and Kootenai National Parks, Two months Ski Bumming in Idaho, the Vancouver Olympics, Southern Idaho, Road Tripping the Pacific Northwest to Alaska, The Brief Alaskan summer, Dealing with Self Inflicted Drama/Mental Pain, Being re-inspired by the Great Plains, Chasing Summer, Landing my dream job, Spending a week in Southern California, and now a chance to recharge at my family’s oldest home. This is my life. A continual enjoyment of all the world offers me, whether it is phenomenal landscapes, wildlife encounters, or self-doubt, heartache and mental fatigue, each new experience gives me new perspective about life, and myself.
I’ve decided that I have a new policy, that every day, I should look at least one beautiful scene, whether it be a landscape, a flower, an apple pie, or even a certain German girl I know. So far, this policy has been a good one, and I would gladly recommend it to you.
I’ll leave you with a passage to mull over:
“ ‘Sherpa’ means ‘easterner’ in Tibetan; and the Sherpa who settled in Kumbu about 450 years ago are a peace loving Buddhist people from the eastern part of the plateau. The are also compulsive travelers; and in Sherpa-country every track is marked with cairns and prayer flags, reminding you that man’s real home is not a house, but of the road, and that life itself is a journey to be walked on foot.” ~Bruce Chatwin- What Am I Doing Here?