Saturday, December 16, 2006

The luxury to ponder

The days have been cool, or cold, and the nights have been freezing, freezing cold, and with our very primitive heating system, I can say that warmth is but an imagined state that seems to keep me moving so that my imagination doesn't dwell upon it. So I've been taking many hikes into the desert, meandering hikes, and being bundled up to retain the heat that my body is producing, I attempt to maintain a sort of comfort zone, where I can amble to whatever catches my eye, yet not huff and puff enough to break into a sweat. While walking hither and thither I ponder about those folks that survive in harsh climates and wonder if they can ever find a state of comfort where they can forget the immediate environment and let their minds 'out of doors' so to speak, to dwell upon the abstract, even to have the luxury to ponder about the meaning of life. Just over a month ago I could lay back in my hammock and ponder the meaning of life, for the temperature was pleasant and my belly was full and everything seemed to make each moment as carefree as possible. But when one is uncomfortable, especially by the climate, then the mind cannot have the luxury of deep thoughts, for the shallow thoughts are all consuming. Like this morning, my toes were freezing, and until I remedied that situation to avoid frostbite, my brain would not let go. So off with the sandals and on with the extra-thick wool socks and on with the hiking boots, and after a bit my toes let go of my brain. So here I sit, somewhat comfortable, yet in my head a voice seems to whimper, "It's going to be freezing tonight! Why don't you purchase a modern heater!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Poor Brother Bartleby!
So how did those early Desert Fathers manage, without even thick socks? I never really understood how mortification of the flesh, seeking not only discomfort but actual pain, was supposed to increase holiness, but it was.
( Other mystics, I believe were more inclined to recommend a sensible level of physical self-care.)
I have an amusing picture of myself knitting woolly socks and comforters to send to chilly monks in the desert, our boys on the spiritual front line!
Have you tried polar fleece?