For the last month I, like many others, have been out of work (stupid pandemic).
Beginning on the first of May, facing a potential sixteen week furlough, I
was freaking out a bit over the prospect of being unemployed for essentially the first
time since I was a teenager. I really do enjoy my job, rising early, challenging
myself mentally, interacting with my co-workers, working towards a series of
goals, and leaving with a sense of accomplishment, so with seemingly
nothing to do I feared I’d find myself in a dark place, lacking motivation, or purpose.
I came up with a fairly simple early morning routine to help me ward off the
depression. I begin each morning by taking our three year old dog, Hank, for a 2-3
mile hike in the woods. Hank is a fine, fine young man, sweet as can be, a good
listener, and more importantly, he is super athletic with boundless energy.
Hanky and I spend somewhere between forty five minutes to an hour and a half every
morning on some single track in a nearby park where he answers the call of the
wild, chasing chipmunks, squirrels, birds, and lizards while I simply walk along and
I have had a love of the outdoors, and of dogs, since childhood so it made
perfect sense that I should try to incorporate two of the most calming
influences on my mental state into my new schedule. I thought to compare my morning walks
to meditation, however I can’t say that I am committed to, or even trying to be so totally
focused on the moment to say that I am quite meditating, but the connection to my
surroundings, to nature, is there. The immersion into the riotous disorder of nature; the
overlapping and simultaneous blending of all life, everywhere, all at once, is peaceful and
calming to me in such a way that I leave the woods energized, and properly balanced from my
It occurred to me, during one of these walks, that this is most certainly a religious experience
for me. For anyone doubting the validity of that statement, there’s an old saying I stole from a
grey bearded biker I met years ago that’s stuck with me and I feel applies perfectly here, “I’d
rather be on my motorcycle, thinking about god, than to be in a church, thinking about my
motorcycle.” Using your imagination, I believe you can edit that to suit your
particular religious experience, don’t you?
Old Johnny Muir was right, when in nature, one receives more than he seeks.
For me, I believe it to be wholly communion.