Nearly every day now, Stephen and I walk around the woods, slowly, taking one careful step after another, highly aware of where our feet will next land and the degree of vibrations, knowing that the slightest molecule out of place will alert any insect basking on a leaf to our presence, and they will flit away. So, we have to be more than quiet; we have to know where each body part will next end up, while our eyes scan the many, many branches and leaves for the tiniest movement, like a flicker of imagination.
Hence, we find it difficult to define a particular significant event in our lives that has prompted us to embark upon this journey of exploring the lateral, as what finally prompted us to break free of civilization and its psychoses was not any single event or whether any single event is significant or insignificant. Every happening we have witnessed since we were borne is still present in our lives, continuously with distinction, but without detachment. Therefore, we are incapable of a vantage point of reference objective enough to separate any singular event from a continuous, lateral stream constantly evolving. Is not the expression, experience, and exercise of Curiosity, want of learning, and awe of the unknown the very drives of any journey?
That we were involuntarily committed to State Hospitals and diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may seem like a significant event. That we are mentally disabled and social security disability recipients might seem like a significant event. However, each of these happenings obviously have impact upon our lives, they are not peculiar in life, because they are not the result of cause and effect, but a current constant presence. Our psychiatrists pointed out to us that our diagnoses are simply a manifestation of the way our minds work and the way we perceive the world in which we are aware. Our minds pay exacting attention to detail; our minds metabolize every environment. Although, it may seem as if being committed to the State Hospital, being on social security disability and diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are significant events in our lives, they are not. . . at least not to us. They are among all that composes our lives, merely threads in a tapestry of an existence. And it is that tapestry that prompted us to seek the freedom of the Out Side, the Out of Doors, not any particular event, significant, insignificant or otherwise. Minds like ours love information and knowledge, because we can then comprehend the How’s and Why’s involved in truly living (whatever that may turn out to be), that connection to the only home Stephen and I regard, Earth. This same sense of mind, this imagination, that we apply to seeking information and knowing, we also apply when we are walking in the woods, something we love to do and do as much as possible. We see a reciprocal relationship among the trees and soil and rain and sunshine and shadow and elevation, etc. and can perceive how the forest works together and how we are part of that forest.
Richard Feynman is quoted as saying
“People say to me, “Are you looking for the ultimate laws of physics?” No, I’m not… If it turns out there is a simple ultimate law which explains everything, so be it — that would be very nice to discover. If it turns out it’s like an onion with millions of layers… then that’s the way it is. But either way there’s Nature and she’s going to come out the way She is. So therefore when we go to investigate we shouldn’t predecide what it is we’re looking for only to find out more about it. Now you ask: “Why do you try to find out more about it?” If you began your investigation to get an answer to some deep philosophical question, you may be wrong. It may be that you can’t get an answer to that particular question just by finding out more about the character of Nature. But that’s not my interest in science; my interest in science is to simply find out about the world and the more I find out the better it is, I like to find out…”
~The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, 1981 filmed interview
This same pleasure of finding things out, the ‘unknown’, prompts us to seek, not only the unknown, but to seek at all. We have minds; therefore, we seek. . . as simple as that. And like Richard Feynman says of the character of Nature, we cannot define a particular significant event, because we cannot define an insignificant event. We seek, so every event is as significant as it is insignificant; we do not see a difference. See, it is more than just numbers (mathematics, or science, if you will, as Richard Feynman also points out), but the deeper meanings behind the numbers, like deciphering an elaborate chaotic, spiraling mystery. For this same “unseen force” also drives the quantum mechanizations of human systems, i.e. society, industry, etc.
Sometimes, while we walk or during the interesting and wonderful evenings beneath the open sky and weaving, tussling tree branches or in a perfect pause of stillness, we push all of that aside for a moment, and think about sitting behind desks, sitting behind the wheel of a car, sitting in a waiting room, standing in line, talking on the phone, texting, watching TV, plugged in…and are marvelled at the possibility that others would choose that over walking around seeing what you can see. Instead, why not walk around on the planet seeing what you can see? Not hurting anyone, not harming anyone, not fighting, just walking around seeing what we can see. Every so often, one or more of us will meet, as friends, and converse, sharing with one another all things that we can see.
What will we learn from this? We don’t know, but we are learning to really observe, to be aware of our surroundings, to examine what our eyes see, to intuit motion, breathing, air, aromas. What we learn expands with each new time we are outside, seeing what we can see. It has only been about two months and we have seen such wonders of life that we are humbled.
We all have but a minute length of time to spend on the planet, why should we want to spend it sitting down, standing up, opening our mouths only when someone tells us that we can?
Why not see what we can see. . .?