Waldo in Wyoming
If I were a dog, upon seeing it loaded for a trip, and after the door was opened, I’d be the one bounding into the truck. With paws parked on the armrest, head thrust completely out the window, my exhilaration would be complete as gums would flap in the breeze, eyes as wide open as they could be.
I suppose we all have wondered, ‘what is that dog thinking?’, as we smile and cruise past. Better still, we are as that canine; thoroughly awestruck by the wonders, and totality, of the experience. For myself, if not my head, surely my being, is craned as far as it can get out that window and into the Great Everything as the miles fly by.
I recently told a close friend that when I travel, I do so almost in total silence. More precisely, I don’t listen to the radio except perhaps when I first get behind the wheel. At most, I’ll catch a snippet of news before I grow weary of the Chicken Little mentality that has infected our journalists and turned countless numbers of people into mindless self-indulgent lemmings. Generally I’ll follow that with a briefing on expected weather. Rarely, if ever, do I listen to music, it gets in the way of the other senses and becomes little more than noise; out of place and unnecessary. I want to immerse myself in my surroundings and revel in how it makes me feel; alive and full of wonder and grace.
Take today for an example. Though not part of the original itinerary, as I cruised towards Wyoming, it struck me I’d not been to the Devil’s Tower. It is the very first national monument; I had to go. A cup of coffee, a full tank of gas…and off I went.
As the incredible scenery availed itself, I let my mind wander as I am want to do. I can’t say exactly how a certain thought ‘arrives’? It always amused me that my brain was some kind of roulette wheel, especially when I traveled, spinning until landing on the moment of consequence that then demanded and consumed my attention. For all the hundreds of thousands of miles I have covered, I assure you, they are far, far less than those I have allowed my thoughts to cover. Always will it be that way for any of us I am sure.
The ball stopped on ‘boredom’ today. More specifically, the impossibility of ever being left without something to interest me. It wasn’t always the case. I cringe thinking of bad habits, foolish behaviors I once elevated to an art form trying to occupy myself. I think now they were intended perhaps to distract me from searching, or discovering, what mattered. I chose then to live at a speed of life meant to blur my surroundings. If things were kept out of focus, I wouldn’t have to worry about being seen; mostly by myself.
Nature, changed all of that. At first, a visitor in its domain, as the excursions became more regular, the pace slowed. I became so much more aware and appreciative of the lessons that surrounded me. We each look at the mountains, the Sea, even the wide prairies and plains and surely the heavens, and are so moved. It would be a fools errand to argue otherwise. And its power, its reach, touches all. It matters not the gender, age, culture, or even the particular time in history. I am certain that many of the problems and challenges faced individually and collectively are a direct result of losing the ability to wonder. It’s funny, the more we try to control only serves to show how little control we have. It strikes me that the ‘secrets’ in this life are found in the opposites; but more on that at a later time.
Back to being bored…it became apparent to me, that to be in such a state, can only mean I was boring myself. We get what we give; either to others, our behaviors, how we treat the other creatures of the earth, and unquestioningly, to ourselves. It can be no other way. The biggest lesson in Nature, in this life, is we evolve. To remain inquisitive is the lifeblood of our existence. Understanding that an answer begets ten more questions, requiring more effort, more propulsion. It is impossible then for me to ever be bored and since Father Time remains undefeated, it is incumbent to keep moving, keep traveling, keep discovering. And bounding into the car whenever the opportunity presents itself.