He Did Not Know How To Simply Feel It As It Is

Yellowstone Nat. Park
Sept. 17

After a breakfast of coffee, toast, and some of my camping buddy’s
oatmeal, David was anxious to get on with his hike. Our chance meeting
was nice. He was a very interesting person, and, in the middle of bear
country, he was also a welcomed guest. He was just as surprised to see
me as I was to see him. He hadn’t seen anybody for two days before he
ran into me. He was from Arizona and had been hiking the Yellowstone
Lake area for the past week. He told me it would probably take him one
more trip to Yellowstone before he would complete his goal of hiking
every major trail in the park. That was a lot of hiking.

We listened with great delight to the elk. The bugling of the bulls
differed one from the other. By the time we had finished our dinner,
the elk were all around us. About seventy-five yards away stood three
large bulls. David had been listening to them for the last three
nights, but on this night, he actually got to see one. It was a
fantastic experience.

As far as I could tell, David had pretty much hiked all the major
parks in the country, and was an expert on Death Valley. “I got so
well known in Death Valley,” he said, “that my maps and notes (he was
an amateur cartographer), were filed by the Park Service right next to
the official maps.” David was a walking encyclopedia, too. I could
point out a plant, and he would give me its scientific name. He was a
bit perplexed by me, though. He couldn’t understand how I could enjoy
just sitting. We were opposites in that regard. We both loved nature,
but for him it seemed to be all about showing off his “notched hiking
stick,” while for me it was more about escaping “the need to show off
anything.” It felt strange to feel close to a person on one level, and
yet be so distant on another.

As it turned out, though, quite by accident, he did get a glimpse of
the difference that separated us. This morning, he asked me what I was
reading. When I told him Alan Watts, he said, “I never heard of the
guy.” He looked at the book and on the front cover were the words,
Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown—A Mountain Journal. He then turned
it over and read out loud the blurb written on the back cover:

These ruminations, assembled in the form of a journal and here
published in paperback for the first time, were written at Alan Watts’
retreat in the foothills of Mount Tamalpais, California. Many current
themes are discussed, including meditation, nature, established
religion, race relations, karma and reincarnation, astrology and
tantric yoga, and the nature of ecstasy, but the underlying motif is
the art of feeling out and following the watercourse way of nature,
known in Chinese as the Tao. Watts suggests a way of contemplative
meditation in which we temporarily stop naming and classifying all
that we experience, and simply feel it as it is.

He handed me back the book and said, “I’ll check it out sometime when
I’ve got more time,” and then he was off on another one of his
twenty-mile hikes.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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One Response to He Did Not Know How To Simply Feel It As It Is

  1. Opposite characteristics are easy to be attracted to each other.

    I think you don’t like sitting that much. But you don’t have much money. And too lazy to move your butt to earn money. So you choose to sit there and wait til some day out of the blue a huge container of 100 dollar bills fall down from the sky next to you in a desert where there’s no one else around you (so you don’t have to share). After that you can be free to be around the world. Ah ah ah!!:D

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