April 21, 2003

Break out Walls

Category: Personal — Biella @ 2:06 pm

I can’t really know what the nitty-gritty experience of imprisonment is really like. The endless days confined in a small dreary space knowing that there is no escape, no matter what one does. I felt like I had a taste, a small nibble, of what what a spirit breaking experience imprisonment is yesterday when I finally left San Francisco for an all day hike at the palomarin trail near Bolinas, in Marin. Well, of course the hike was the antithesis of confinement but the contrast to the normal hum-drum of my life as of late, made me realize that I have spent WAY too much time indoors lately, only going out for errands and socializing at night, basically not leaving the city since my snowshoeing expedition in February. After awhile, it comes to weigh on you.

This has been one of the longest periods that I have spent confined to one space: my room, metaphorically chained to my computer or bed. And on the one hand, my space, my so-called confinement is really luxurious and I have nothing to complain about. It is warm, large, sunny, safe, and secure. Yet it is relative too. If I am used to getting out, and heading in and through a completely different environment where the idea of walls is totally ludicrous, it makes me appreciate that space that I do spend the majority of my time in.

But it makes you realize what a luxury “movement” and “difference of experience” is. Sure there are parks in a city, green zones and spaces, but for one to get out of a city, it takes time, it costs money, and there are other cultural knowledge that comes with that territory.

And this hike was one of the most luxurious of day hikes that I have ever been on. There are not many hikes where different bodies of water (waterfalls, freshwater lakes, and the pacific ocean) merge over the course of 3 miles in what is an already a very diverse landscape with endless flora to admire (and for some on our expedition, fondle). And then to top it all off, there were some irresistible seals bobbing in the waves curiously ogling at the “land creatures” as we, or at least I, ogled them in total delight.

Part of the freedom of being outdoors, as you stare at the large rocks in the Pacific ocean as waves crash indiscriminately against then, is that you feel, part of the “All” of the world, a sort of connection that at once makes you insignificant (as you are just such a small bit of “da world”) but there is a huge liberatory satisfaction of being just a small part of it. It makes you realize that there is a nearly endless range of experiences that you can tap into and expand yourself out to even if momentarily which makes you appreciate your small place in this world. A small place that has the ability to change and move depending on your position, you orientation, your emotional disposition.

With confinement comes many things from boredom to lack of physical movement but one of the most troubling aspects is that it makes it much harder to connect with the wider world of humans, objects, and nature that makes one’s spirit feel insignificantly special.

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