I was driving home at sunset when I noticed a flock of geese cup their wings and glide down to the water. They were ready to take a rest after a busy day. It was then that I realized how disconnected I had become from the natural world. That was about to change.
We live in an indoor and artificial world. We live in a multitasking world. Often, the “multi” doesn’t even mean two. Earlier in the day, I had been “attending” a webinar on my laptop, while researching law on my iPad, while emailing on my phone, while writing a letter, while paying bills.
I wasn’t multitasking because I think it is fun or because I think I’m important. It seemed that the world had taken charge of me and made me do it just because the technology exists and the world doesn’t care about sanity for any of its inhabitants. Multitasking doesn’t lead to any kind of satisfaction, even though I think I get a lot done. The problem, I believe, is that I don’t accomplish anything human. I just accomplish a whole lot of stuff that leaves me hollow and numb. I’m left feeling that I don’t have a soul.
Two things seem to change all of that and I’ve found, if I aggressively retake control over my time, I can salve my wounded soul. The first thing is singular focus. Shooting and casting are generally my means for singular focus. A gun might be loud and it might recoil a great deal but shooting requires me to focus on one thing. The same is true with casting and it’s become my favorite form of fishing, whether or not I actually catch fish, because I’m just trying to do one thing. That one thing may require a great deal of concentration and mental effort. It may be difficult. But it is just one thing.
When I’m done shooting or casting, I find that I have released tension I didn’t even realize I had. Any problems I had previously been facing are smaller or nonexistent. I again feel aware of myself, my surroundings, my body and my mind. I can once again hear myself think and I’m not hearing dozens of voices screaming at me.
The other salve is simply getting out of whatever enclosure I’m in. I’ve noticed that if I just take my dog for a walk, both my body and heart are lighter. I’m experiencing real things again. Wind is real. Sunshine is real. Trees are real. Most things indoors or on a screen are artificial representations of fake real.
Being outside on a chilly day initially, but briefly, makes me feel uncomfortable. I feel the cold and I feel the raw. But then I realize that I can feel. I’m no longer numb. I button my jacket and move forward, thankful to the cold and the wind for having brought me back to someplace good from someplace unknown and harmful.
Even through the car window, the sight of the geese brought me relief. I let out a deep breath, and my soul felt as if it was starting to be cleansed. Of course, wounds don’t just need to be cleansed. They also need to be salved. I then remembered that my next task was to pack for deer hunting. That would be my last task for a while because, you see, tasks are not what is needed. Deer hunting is what is needed. Focusing only on the woods and what it would have to say to me. Salve for a wounded soul.
Copyright Daniel Blake
One Reply to “Salve for a Wounded Soul”
And He will raise you up on Eagle’s wings came to my mind. Thoughtful essay on both the “tasks” that we handle and the resultant loss of focus. The hikes we take are my recharge. I loved your thoughts. Thank you.