May 28, 2024

Early morning walk.


Bliss is when you have surrendered your worldly self to your inner self.

-Tapan Ghosh


Moss, liver wort and grasses are now all very plump and green.  The low-lying leafy plants, like garlic mustard, lesser celandine, hairy bittercress, and motherwort, are all sporting large leaves and some have flowered.  The many ferns are unfurling their coiled-up branches.  The smaller bushes, like autumn olive, Bradford pear, common milkweed and oriental bittersweet are already in their prime, sporting well developed leaves and some have flowers.  The Japanese knotweed has large leaf-bearing stalks poking up from the well-established root systems of seasons passed.   Even the larger, taller trees, like the oaks, maples, sumacs, black walnuts and so many others, are sporting yellowish to pale green leaflets in their upper branches.  I’ve been watching as spring burgeons forth from the ground upwards – low lying plants maturing first in order to gain unshaded solar radiation before the taller plants can plunge them into shadowed darkness.  It’s, literally, like watching grass grow, but taken in short snippets, then melded together into a memory-movie, the developing season can be compressed like time-lapse photography.

There are more animals out and about as well.  Squirrels and rabbits run here and there, doing their seasonal romping and cavorting.  I even saw a possum slowly waddling across tarmac this morning, crossing the road for why?  The plethora of birdsong has increased in volume and repertoire, and I even heard one Emmy-bird the other day (they migrate and only show up here in late spring).  On warmer days, with temps well into the seventies, bugs are out and buzz around, but not yet the annoying ones, like gnats and mosquitoes.  I’m sure they’re out there, but, because Waldo and I stick, mostly, to the blacktop, I haven’t seen any ticks yet.  Waldo likes to roll around in the fallen leaves and on the grass, as well as wander under the drooping leaves of weeds and bushes, so, in the past, I have often found ticks in his hair as I pet and scratch him.  But I haven’t found any yet this season.  Summer is not far away.

When I’m walking with Waldo, my mind time-shares these thoughts and observations with watching Waldo and enjoying (and sometimes being exasperated) seeing him entertain himself, but I also have other ideas floating around in my head.  I just finished my second novel, Bikerman’s Quest, and all that is in there too.  When doing the writing, my focus is up close and personal, making the whole thing work.  Now that it’s done, I’m looking at it from a distance, encapsulating the story in my eternal search for meaning.

I got the idea for the story one night, about eight years ago, while driving home from work on my Super Glide Custom, Harley Davidson motorcycle.  My mind wanders a bit at those times too.  Motorcycle meditation, I call it.  Anyway, I bumped into the question, “What would life be like if you had absolutely no needs?”  Suppose everything else was the same, you don’t have any “superpowers,” but you don’t need to eat, drink, sleep, breathe or have any other needs?  What if you were invulnerable and immortal as a consequence?  What would such a human life be like?  What would motivate you to do anything?

So, I formulated a plot that made such a thing plausible (with some suspended disbelief on the part of the reader) and let a story unfold to explore just these questions.  I threw my main character into a maelstrom of conflict — fighting with the Russian Mob and taking them down, then trying, and failing to disarm a thermonuclear bomb (I do love a good action/adventure thriller), to test my thoughts about it all.  I think anyone with an open mind will find it entertaining and thought-provoking.  It contains not so much answers as thoughtful questions.  Keep your eyes open here and on social media for the details when I find a publisher.

Anyway, I’m out here on the rail trail with Waldo, with all these thoughts and ideas echoing around in my mind, and it occurs to me.  At this moment, in this place, I have no unmet needs.  I can just let all that hurley-burley go and enjoy what is happening in the here-and-now.  I can inhale the breath of life that Mother Nature wafts towards me and bathe in its awesome beauty.  I can smile and laugh at Waldo doing his Waldo-thing, as he also lives in the moment.  I can “watch” all the thoughts, ideas, impressions and reactions that bounce around in my skull, without getting wrapped up in any drama.  I absolutely have no need to do anything about any of it.

At this time and place, I not only don’t have any unmet needs, or even desires, it’s also easy to imagine that I’m invulnerable, because I am invulnerable to what is likely to happen any time soon.  It’s easy for me to have the mindset that I am immortal as well, at least in the sense that when I think of the foreseeable future, I am alive; I’m not about to cease to exist. That’s very liberating.  I can just walk along, out here in the woods, with my good friend Waldo, and exhilarate in all that life has to offer and feel like I don’t have to do anything about anything.

Can there be a more meaningful existential definition of bliss?


Waldo’s in his own world…

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