The other day it was my birthday and in honor of that, I did a few things to commemorate hitting my mid-30’s that filled my soul.
Fill my soul.
I love those words. They make me think of Emily Dickinson poems that take the mundane and portray them in a whole new light such that when you realize she’s talking about a leaf, or nature, or even death, her words are at once understandable and extraordinary at the same time.
Many of my friends and family now know that I am beginning to work full time at a place that I love. Even though I’m a teacher, the work at my school will require my presence over the summer. I’m simultaneously gearing down the academic year while preparing to take on administrative tasks at the school.
What does this have to do with walking? Everything. Bear with me: I promise not to go on too many erudite ramblings that require knowledge of the 4th dimension.
I got to thinking about where I work.
I am so very lucky. I work in a place where there’s no backstabbing or gossip.
All religions and beliefs are respected.
The students and staff all cater to environmental sustainability, social justice and work for The Greater Good.
It makes me want to be a better person all-around. No, for the moment, I’m not thinking about engaging in any Salt Marches (and blessings to Gandhi), but I am feeling jazzed about creating my own little movement.
Here’s where my birthday walk comes in. I headed to south Asheville, to one of my favorite spots to unwind: Bent Creek. I headed out on a trail around the lake:
I kept thinking about the Global Education program I’m going to coordinate next year. After much research for a recent graduate course, I’ve researched how to infuse it into my school’s curriculum.
The four focal points of it are: multiculturalism, intercultural relations, social justice and environmental sustainability.
Oh how all those things resound with my fluttering heart!
As I continued walking, I kept thinking of not only teaching, but expanding. By that I mean addressing my need to leave this planet in a better place than when I began.
I reached the lake. Suddenly I thought to snap a black and white photo in honor of timelessness.
It was a Wednesday afternoon and the vacant beach was at once slightly haunting and inviting.
My mind began to race. It was supposed to be a relaxing walk, but my form of relaxation is contemplating all the possibilities.
I started thinking about preservation of this. Preserving plants and birds and lakes and mountains. Of replicating the peace and unity and love that I feel when I am at work. Yes, at work! I know how that sounds.
I also know that I am not nearly the first, thousandth, or millionth person to think these thoughts.
So many of us want to make a difference but we don’t always know how.
As my mind wandered through the paths of its own winding networks, forgetting to smell the flowers and taste the sunshine, I silently gazed at the burgeoning leaves that painted the landscape.
I happened upon a bridge and still, the questions and thoughts kept bursting forth, like the drip from a faucet that is steady and doesn’t stop.
I kept thinking how I’m going spread the love, the peace, the tolerance, the trust, the justice, the hope, the goodness of what nature has to offer, but I hadn’t come up with a solution.
I took a moment from my meanderings and sat down with my dog. He was with me on this lovely hike, though I wasn’t completely present to him because deep in the recesses of my mind, my thoughts were wrapping around themselves in the same way a long coil of thread wraps around a spool, thickening layer by layer….
I breathed in the warm air, reminding me to slow down and feebly attempt to calm my mind. I continued on my afternoon journey until I came upon another watering hole.
Then I thought of it: I’m creating a personal philosophy to live by, to guide me as I wade through the river of life so that I stay afloat and hold in my palm all my values, morals, philosophies and hopes all wrapped together in a triangular water droplet that magically reflects the spectrum of the sun and breaks it down into the colors of the rainbow.
I’m still drafting it. I don’t even know what to call it. But I know one thing: it takes into account everything I’ve said here: respect for the Earth, social justice, harmony, tolerance for all people around the world.
When I finish it, this will be the first place to which I post.