I suspect that most people can recognize beauty, but wonder how many are truly grateful for it. Some call it stillness, others solitude. Many find the notion and practice too unsettling. How many cherish its intimacy? The need for solitude does not necessarily mean that one needs to be alone, though that is healthy at times. It is more about perspective, not only for the senses, but the deepest part of being.
Civilization, like technology, though valuable and remarkable, can be a costly distraction.
In the culmination of decades of research, Sherry Turkle writes, “We remake ourselves and our relationships with each other through our new intimacy with machines. . . . People are lonely. The network is seductive. But if we are always on, we may deny ourselves the rewards of solitude.”
On that day outside San Francisco, I was reminded of the refreshment available in shared stillness; that the entropy of nature is not quite the same as that of civilization. A fallen tree offers a different lesson than a condemned house, the broken branch a different story than a broken car lever. It is not necessarily about being an artist, or even being a friend to one; though art provides valuable reminders. It is about fostering awareness of the many gifts that life offers, attentive to the refreshment available in uncultivated lands—in quiet natural spaces.
Yet be warned: “It’s a dangerous business . . . going out of your door . . . You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J. R. R. Tolkien - The Fellowship of the Ring.
Adventure demands courage. It requires patience. You may come home tired. That is the nature of beauty, however. That is the nature of growth.
So here’s to more of us stepping outside together.
by J.D. Grubb