“I remember what the city has to offer: human companionship, major-league baseball, and a clatter of quickening stimulus like a rush from strong drugs that leaves you drained. I remember how you bide your time in the city and think, if you stop to think, ‘next year...I’ll start living; next year...I’ll start my life’. Innocence is a better world” (Dillard, 1974, p. 82).
One fall day in October...
Today my daughter said, “How come you are getting less grumpy?” As we walked along the pathway by the river I listened to the chorus of trees, leaves, and branches swaying in the wind. It was such a beautiful day. It smelled so damp and fresh and as I reflected on my daughter’s question my eyes welled up with tears. I felt all my senses reawakening to the aliveness inside and all around me. I felt like I’d completed a marathon - rushing to get to work on time, rushing to get my daughter to and from daycare, rushing, rushing, and coming up for air periodically. My body felt like it could use months of sleep, rest, stillness, and walks by the river to recover from my life in the city. I wanted more time to breathe, to sit in the stillness, do art, laugh, and play.
Today I felt a peace I hadn’t felt for a long time.
How do I live in this world and sustain that peace?
I always felt the pace was too much for me in the city, a pace that I could not keep up. I used to think there was something wrong with me but now I am wondering if it’s not just something wrong with who I’d become - so detached from my true nature, from nature - the colours, beauty, creativity, and peace of this place.
“As the expressive and sentient landscape slowly faded behind my more exclusively human concerns, threatening to become little more than an illusion or fantasy, I began to feel - particularly in my chest and abdomen - as though I were being cut off from vital sources of nourishment” (Abram, 1996, p. 25).