Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What Passes As A Road

If you look very carefully into the dark part of this photo that I took by leaning out of the truck window, you will see a sort of path through rocks. This is what passed for a road in Hack Canyon (see yesterday's entry). It wound about, occasionally disappearing. For some odd reason I was not anxious, not a bit worried about being approximately 80 or 90 miles from pavement, let alone people. It strikes me that one of the joys of being in the wilderness, is that it presses us into The Now. One has to be alert, vigilant, wary for where the paths do and do not lead, on the watch for peril and beauty all jumbled up together in a sort of Magnificent Demand. At that point I cannot fret about the past or worry about the future. Nothing exists but the moment. When this picture was taken I was entirely there - the only part of my life about which I had any awareness was unfolding as the seconds passed. Each second that passed vanished from my attention. Psychological literature has quite a bit to say about why people who have experienced great trauma often withdraw and live in remote areas. They usually attribute it to a need to be somewhat anti-social. But I think it is something else. I think that in places like Hack Canyon, there is no past. There is no future. There is only Now. And Now happens without having to try to get there. It is the only choice, so there is no choice to be made. And in the Now, all that matters is the immediate experience of the day. It is at once a great freedom and a great obligation.


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