The Second Gaze – Transportation

This past Sunday, as I was driving home after being at church, our car rolled over 100,000 miles as I was driving across the Ohio River.  That 100,000 miles is the equivalent of driving the circumference of the earth (at the equator) four times over.  That is a lot of miles.  We bought that car in mid-2013 around the time I bought my first fitness tracker.  In approximately the same amount of time that we’ve driven 100,000 miles, I’ve walked or run nearly 37,000,000 steps which works out to nearly 17,000 miles. So, I’m nearly 3/4 of the way around the earth!  Another measure is that this is the roughly the equivalent of Forrest Gump’s run across America in the movie.  That run took Forrest “3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours.”  It took me longer than that…

I don’t know how many of those miles were outside, but many of them were.  On hikes, walks, and paths near and far.  As I reflect back on them, I remember a book I have read several times since I was encouraged to read it in 2013.  It is called The Wisdom of Wilderness by Gerald May and the following words from the book  speak to what I have experienced as I have taken many of those 37,000,000 steps…

What we are missing is fullness of life. To put it simply, in concentrating on one thing at a time, we miss everything else. Going shopping, we miss the sky. Doing work, we miss the singing of birds. In conversation with one person, we ignore the presence of others. Through it all, we fail to appreciate our own precious being—the soft flow of breath, the beating of heart, the subtle beauty and wisdom of body, the sheer pristine wonder of being aware. One could say these are only aesthetic qualities, unimportant in handling the real tasks of daily life, but our handicapped awareness has serious and far-reaching practical implications as well.

The Wisdom of Wilderness by Gerald May loc 935, Kindle version

“The sheer pristine wonder of being aware.”  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  While we have done a lot of miles in the car in that same amount of time, being in a car does not capture the same as walking in the middle of a thick fog, hearing the birds speaking back and forth, breathing along with the breeze, taking in the majesty of the colors of a sunrise or a sunset, seeing wildlife running across the path (as I saw three deer do this morning).  These moments renew my soul and lift my spirit.    

I love reading in the Gospels the stories of Jesus and his disciples just walking from one place to another.  I know they didn’t really have other options available to them but when I am walking, it is a beautiful thing to reflect upon the fact that Jesus did the very same.  I wonder how many steps he took in a day?


Categories: The Second GazeTags: , , , , , , ,

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