work vs. the I

Yesterday I awoke to the pattering of a third day’s endless rain. The dog was whining, hungry and a bit confused by her new surroundings. My neck hurt from the foam pillow. I made my way to the coffee maker. The lake view from the cottage window was like you’d dream of if you dreamt of a wooded lake cottage in Nova Scotia. The house was set high on the hill surrounding the lake. The back yard dropped steeply towards the water. The other bank was lined with big stones and trees and brush thick like jungle.

After breakfast I pulled the plastic two man kayak into the warm water. I stood in the centre of the boat and rocked back and forth a little to test its tipping point. Once satisfied that I could stand without rocking too much I cast off with one end of the two headed paddle in my palm and the other pushing through the water. I paddled around the lake checking out the lily pads and the rocky far shore. I went around a bend to see if I could spot the beaver who’d made his home from the timber on the hillside. No luck. Maybe my brother was right; I’m too noisy in the woods.

When we arrived home I called to check the buoy readings; four feet at eight seconds and hardly any wind. I loaded up the log and wetsuit and made the irie drive to the coast. It’s not often that I listed to Marley these days but he seemed appropriate. I parked on the bluff and walked out to check the point –knee high and glassy. The other side of the headland a zoo- complete with lots of donkeys. I slid for two leash-less hours on the 9’6” -floating just inches above the rocks and going as slow as is I reckon is possible to move on a wave. No matter whether the waves are head high or barely rideable, the feelings of connectedness to the I and to the greater natural world are the same. Peace.

No I’m back to work and the song Work comes back to haunt me after yesterdays living. The Rasta uses a word called “livity.” No doubt it could be used in many ways but for me what always rang clear was its definition relating to quality of life. I am disillusioned with the working life. I’ve known this since I was 19 years old when I had my first serious job working at a public library. We spend a majority of the waking hours of our life doing someone else’s bidding (and they too for someone else). We are disconnected from nature, from the power of our minds and bodies to overcome the adversity of survival, from weather, from the senses. I know what you’re thinking. Get over it. This is how things are. Or perhaps you’re the person telling me to get up and do something. “If you don’t like it then do something” you say. Maybe I will.

Last week I locked this page because I didn’t want to continue on with it. Sometimes it feels that it’s more pretentious than I feel comfortable with. I cancelled access to it for a couple of days and I received an email that inspired me to keep it going. However, I still have a gnawing feeling that it needs to come to an end. There are many great things about the WWW. But as you all know it is virtual –and in every way and sense of the word. I often sit in front of this screen reading about exciting things, adventures, ideas, and pursuits. But what I am reading is usually short and illustrated (as websites should be) and does little to really make me think beyond the immediate idea. Some argue that our quick access to information will make us evolve into beings who no longer have the ability to engage in complex abstract thought. We simply won’t have the ability. Worse than forgoing abstract thought is foregoing our bodies, the vessel for our thoughts and emotions, friendships, adventures, etc. Sitting in front of this screen day and day out does little for my body. We are defined by how we spend our time.



Anonymous said...

Thoughtful words Ras. Whatever happens, just keep surfin'


Anonymous said...

I vote you stay a little longer, let us know your escape route.

colleen said...

So true, all this that you write. About how we spend our time, our disconnect form the natural world, not doing what we love..
I have to say I feel a little less alone and feel connected when I read your words and can relate. Sharing that is powerful and to me a positive use of the WWW, as long as we continue to connect with the people in our communities and day to day lives, too.

Gazelle said...

If you need to lock the page, I understand. But at least offer an explanation before doing it.

Glad you changed your mind.