Another beach walk today, a good nine kilometres of hiking barefoot before taking a rest in the sea to cool off before the clouds swallow up the sun and burst to drench the earth one more time. While I walk I can’t help but think – well I probably could but I am loathe to silence the inner writer who plots scenes and characters. Needless to say, walking beside me is an exercise in silence. Yet, my wife walks with me locked into her own silence. We walk very aware of the others existence, alert for any nuance of change in mood or need.
We walk in our separate silences, lost in our separate thoughts. The hours slip by with just occasional words that somehow seem hesitant, checking on the tenuous link to other, a link that grows weaker as the link to self grows stronger. Does this stronger sense of self tell us that we are somehow selfish, placing self before other? Does this stronger sense of self heal all the brokenness of past wounds? Or, does this somehow provide a better anchor for deeper relationship? It is a risk with a final result that shifts with each step we take on the beach walk.
There is a real problem with thinking whether done when one is alone or when done in close proximity to another person – one has a tendency to become just a bit more aware of self, other, and the universe. I don’t mean that guru-like awareness, but a simple dawning of real consciousness as if someone turned on a dim light bulb in a darkened room. Even a bit of wisdom comes with a cost. Wisdom doesn’t allow us to self-delude so that we can remain in that state of temporary insanity called happiness. Once the lights have gone on, you can’t pretend that it didn’t happen. The light exposes all the scars, the wrinkles, the fears, the grasping hunger – the exposed truth can be denied, rebelled against, but it can’t be undone so that one can retreat into a blissful state of innocent ignorance.