The Morning Walk

The morning walk is a spontaneous thing. It has no set time of beginning or end, no specific place or direction. It carries no obligation, no demand, only impulse. It is an exploration and it happens at a pace that allows for observation and wondering (and wonderment).

The time and the place for the morning walk comes with arrival in the bush. But arrival is not (only) the event of finally finding myself physically located in the bush. It is much more. Arrival is a slow process of changing awareness – actually, “process” leaves the wrong impression. The latter implies a structured sequence of steps that can be activated at a given point. Arriving in the bush is not that, and it is; the planning, the preparations, the journey through civilisation, then the middle world part… This is to a large extent process, and it carries with it a certain type of awareness and sensitivity – directions, rules, traffic, petrol points, and so on.

But as I approach the outer edges of the middle world, “process” becomes more and more unstructured – making sense of a maze of tracks and footpaths and scatterings of huts, talking to randomly-encountered people to gain as much information as possible of what lies in the near-environment, and so on. Things become random, and my awareness itself needs to change.

For me, this change is something like an unplanned journey. It is spontaneous, impulse driven, instinct directed. It has urgency to it though, driven by survival, but it cannot really be rushed. It is a gradual awakening, an opening of the awareness to different impressions, an adjustment and sharpening of the senses to the signs, the smells, the sights, the feel of the bush, its spirit. It can (and for me, usually does) take days, and during the transition, there is of course the danger of missing something important, which could have consequences…

With this transition, also, comes adjustment of my inner rhythm to a different cadence, not of a clock, but of sunrise, sunset, light, darkness, heat, coolness, wind, rain, physical strength, fatigue. These different impressions and the different rhythms slowly take possession of my mind, calms it, re-focusses it, purges it, teaches it acceptance (of the next unplanned event), makes it resilient to adjust, awakens creativity to innovate with what it has at its disposal, right there. It adopts a more philosophical attitude too. Inquisitiveness is allowed in. Questions like how, when, why, about observations, sensations, emotions, life, evolution, purpose, physics and more, are contemplated.

In my body it seems to stimulate fortitude to take on challenges, dangers, hard knocks. It also brings a basic kind of wisdom – there is no rush other what you create yourself, avoid this, there is no sense in that, take the easier route, check first, give yourself time…

Even as I sense these changes to a re-focussed and generally more robust being, I become more aware of my weakness, my vulnerability, my very superficial cognisance of the intricacies and the immensity of forces around me. This strengthening realisation instils a certain tension that stimulates and hastens the transition, somewhat at least, until, slowly, comes an equilibrium that I guess can be described as state of highly sharpened peace…

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