Trudging through two feet of snow in subzero temperatures on my Ojibwa snowshoes, my heart is beating a little heavier but it’s the only sound that pierces the cold silence. From time to time, Max checks back with me after whatever mad dash his nose takes him on. I’m alone with my thoughts as I move slowly through the woods and I feel renewed.
I used to cross country ski. I also once owned a snowmobile. I’ve long enjoyed snowshoeing but now it is my exclusive means of travel through the woods in the snowy wintertime. In the summer, I like to walk. I used to prefer biking. Roller blades, dirt bikes and golf carts hold little interest for me. It has occurred to me over the years that I’m noticing more as I slow down. The little used deer trail through the woods. The wildflowers that just bloomed today. The birds nest. The piece of garbage littering God’s green earth that I stoop to pick up because I’m just walking. I wonder about that little piece of garbage and how it got there.
If transportation is a metaphor for life, I think walking suits me just fine. Speed is nice I suppose but it begs the question of why we are in such a hurry in the first place. I’ve found that there is a big difference between moving faster just because I can and choosing the pace at which I move. Humans weren’t invented by Henry Ford. When we move as we were made to move, the world around us seems much more interesting because we actually see it. I’ve come to the conclusion that if it weren’t for avoiding accidents, there is no real point to keeping my eyes open when riding a four-wheeler. After all, I’m truly seeing very little and missing much of what could be seen.
Life at a walker’s pace allow me to notice, makes me ponder and brings thoughts to me that would not otherwise have popped up. It’s also a bit rebellious. The world says to do things one way because I can, mind-numbing as it may be. I would rather do things in a way that I want to because it makes me feel alive.
Copyright 2014 Daniel Blake