Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Deep-fried, battered, bacon cheeseburgers and why being OUTSIDE beats blogging about it every time!


It was soooo good to have the grey skies, the wind, and the rain today! The cool, wet, blustery weather was comforting. The hot, dry weather we've had here on the Island for so long brings a "tension" to the deep forests and an unforgiving "hardness" to the forest floor. It also makes for some pretty scary wildfire conditions. With each falling raindrop, however, the earth softens and all vegetation and forest life seems to relax with an almost palpable expression of relief.

With the thick overcast, and the sun still hidden, very little light penetrated the early-morning trail route on Mt Tzouhalem. At the top, the winds from the south-east ripped across the summit. Clouds raced across the sky while columns of mist seemed to boil up from the Cowichan Valley below. It was wonderful to be outside and to greet the sun as it rose above the mountain. It was so good to feel the cool, damp earth, long in need of refreshment.

With the days of summer becoming more the substance of memory than anticipation, there seems to be less time these days for blogging. There is, after all, a need to focus on the Fall activities that must be planned and carried out in the months ahead. In addition, there are all the emergent pastoral needs that come up that require time and attention. I don't begrudge any of it. I love parish ministry, but I know that to stay healthy in body, mind, and spirit, I must spend time outside. And the older I get, the greater is the sense of urgency to be outside as much as possible. Blogging, of course, is a bit of an "inside" activity, at least for my internet connection.

As I'm sure others do, I occasionally wonder why I ever began this "blogging" in the first place, some two years ago. As all bloggers know, it can be an enjoyable and satisfying avocation. But what's it really all about? Is it an activity of a malnourished ego, hungering for the attention and affirmation of others? Is it a context to experience a kind of emotional catharsis, by speaking boldly in the relative safety of near-anonymity? Is it a disguised search by the lonely for inclusion in a "community" of like-minded people? Or is it just a great way to share a passion and learn about the passions of others? I think that's the reason for a lot of us. An odd thing though, this blogging, the sharing of thoughts, and reflections, with an readership that is largely a mystery, both in size and identity.

Blogging requires the use of a technology that can become so demanding and intrusive that I sometimes wonder if, if fact, many of us have become enslaved by "The Screen" - both computer and television. Although I have not yet been tempted to cut off the internet access, we tried, unsuccessfully two weeks ago to cancel our cable television. On those rare moments when I am desperate for some flickering distraction, it seems all I can find to watch that is remotely entertaining these days is on the "Food Channel", most notably Guy Fieri on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives". (If you're laughing at this admission, then you've probably never seen the program or else you have low cholesterol and absolutely no sense of humour!) I feel a need to watch the National News, but everything else seems to be an extraordinary waste of time now that "Survivorman" is into mega-reruns. Your "mileage", of course, may differ and I'm sorry if I've offended your viewing tastes. No, actually I'm not that sorry.

Anyway, we called the cable company and they informed us that instead of us cancelling, they would be pleased to reduce our monthly fee for the next six months. Huh??! You mean these things are negotiable?? But understand, they gently reminded us with measured tone, if we cancelled their cable television service, our internet fees would go up. Their best advice, therefore, was that we take the discount and keep the service. Well, my first thought was that, yeah, I'll take the discount and...oh, never mind. Knowing that we had failed miserably to take control of a "Screen" in the house, we took a small amount of comfort in knowing that for the next six months, we would be paying less for watching Peter Mansbridge report the news and having the vicarious experience, through Guy Fieri, of eating deep-fried, battered, bacon cheeseburgers. (Hey, he's very funny and I just hope he doesn't make himself sick!)

So, bottom line? Blogging is kind of fun but being outside provides the biggest rush of all and that's why it was so important to get out of a warm, dry, bed and onto the cool, wet, trail this morning. It's the natural world outdoors, far away from "The Screen", that offers all of us a most amazing source of wholeness and health, for body, mind, and spirit. To be honest, I can't imagine how anyone can resist its call. And then, of course, if you have the inclination, you can always blog about it later!

Duncan.

Images: From this morning's trail run on Mt Tzouhalem, Vancouver Island. (Yup, if you've got sharp eyes, those are regular trail ruuning shoes we were wearing for today's wet conditions. It was an interesting experience having run strictly "barefoot" for the past couple of months. Felt quite disconnected from the ground, much "heavier", and not nearly as much fun as VFFs. I must admit though, it was nice to have dry feet. :) )

8 comments:

  1. Hey, the rain really was a blessing yesterday...it felt good to be outside walking in the cool fresh air getting a bit wet...I must confess though..I am pretty much addicted to the "screens" in my life but then where would you bloggers be if no one read your latest ramblings! lol
    L

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  2. Great post, Duncan. You touch upon so many things I also note and wonder about. Thanks, too, for the shout-out a couple of posts back!

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  3. You are absolutely correct, L, and we treasure the faithful "friends of the blog" such as yourself!

    Hi Jill, Yes, it's a peculiar medium but how wonderful it is that so many folks have discovered a joy in recording their thoughts for others to read. Always enjoy yours. D.

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  4. Hi Duncan and Joan

    I always find it very interesting how a walk changes a person's whole being. Come home exilerated, flushed, absence of stress and usually much happier. Wonderful the old saying "body heal thyself". Good for the body and good for the Soul.

    Thanks for great blogging - something I always look forward to reading.
    - Sheila

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  5. exhilarated :>) -s

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  6. Hi Sheila and Anon, great to have you drop by. Solvitur ambulando - "it is solved by walking (or running or paddling or cycling or...!)" - I don't know who first said it...but it's sure true!

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  7. Know what ya mean about having to get enough "outside time". And it's not about "smelling the roses" - it's about being in a "place" that is truly liberating. Just doesn't happen much for me "indoors".

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  8. And I say AMEN to that, Gen! Duncan.

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