May 24, 2022

The Covid garden is looking good!


One travels to run away from routine, that dreadful routine that kills all imagination and all our capacity for enthusiasm.

-Ella Maillart


The past few days have been quite warm, with temps touching 70℉.  I worked up a sweat, walking in shirtsleeves, and Waldo worked up a thirst.  Today, though, the temp has been in the low 50s with a mild breeze and I’m wearing a light jacket.  The sprouting and budding plants don’t seem to mind the colder temp and Waldo really enjoys it.  There are even a few bugs flying around, no mosquitoes, but plenty of ticks.  Birds are abundant and making their songs and calls while squirrels run about, doing whatever it is that they do in the spring, with abandon.  Nobody seems to care about the cooler temperature.  Including me.

I’m reading about The Lewis and Clark Expedition with my grandson.  In 1803 to 1806, the Corps of Discovery traveled some 4,000 miles on their own, each way, out and back, having nothing to help them survive but what they carried with them, what they could find on the way, and what some friendly Indians gave them.  They went all the way from Pittsburg, PA, down the Ohio River, to the Mississippi River to St. Louis, then up the Missouri to parts unknown and eventually came to the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean.  No European had trekked the entire distance before and no one knew what was really out there.  There were rumors of wooly mammoths, mountains of rock salt, a lost tribe of Israel, volcanoes and the dream of a Northwest Passage.  They knew that the Missouri River ran through the area and that there were Indians and mountains to be crossed, but little else.  They also knew that on the western side, there was a river, the Columbia River, that ran east, but didn’t know how far it went.

My grandson is twelve years old and has never done any real camping.  I’ve tried to impart to him a sense of what it must have been like for those guys, but without some exposure to living in the wilderness, it’s pretty hopeless.  He’s a city boy.  I take him out on the rail-trail when I can talk him into it, but he’s more interested in playing video games.  I also have trouble explaining to him what motivated the men to go.  I tell him about a sense of adventure, the glory of being where none of your people have gone before and the enticement of being able to tell others about it when you return.  But, I think, all that is beyond him — for now.

There’s something else that appeals and draws me into nature.  The sense of leaving behind my everyday mundane life, at least for a while, and all the worries that suck me into my normal day to day existence — an escape, while at the same time, I’m open to and welcoming of something new.  I certainly felt that when I was growing up.  I also felt it when I went flying.

On many occasions, alone in the cockpit, throttle and trim set, there was little to do other than look out of the canopy.  Thousands of feet below, on the ground, were roads and highways, cars and trucks, cities, people and all the stuff that made up my ground-pounding life.  But up at altitude, there was just the sky, the horizon and an occasional cloud or two.  I felt as if I was above the world I knew, separate from it, in some kind of hiatus.  It was liberating and exhilarating, even if temporary.  There are many things that I enjoy about flying, but that is definitely one of them, even when I take a commercial airliner.

I feel the same thing, to a lesser degree, every day when Waldo and I go walking.  My life isn’t as complex and full of stuff as it was before I retired, but still there is that sense of being somewhere other than in the mundane world created and populated by man.  It provides a change in perspective that allows me to see my other life as one outside of that life, rather than one intimately a part of and drowning in it.  Removed in that way, I can think about whatever issues I may have in a less intimate and painful way.

For Waldo, this is his everyday life.   I’m not sure how much reflection he’s capable of, or how much he benefits from the change of scenery, but I do know he’s eager to go when we’re on new and different walks, like the ones we do with Christine and Phyllis.  Variety is the spice of life and that, too, is a motivating factor in seeking time out in nature.

I’m definitely ripe for a new adventure.  But for now…

This’ll do, Waldo.  This’ll do.


Looks like a jungle…

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