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An Allegiance With Gravity

Rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
– Mary Oliver, Mysteries, Yes

How do you explain yourself when someone jokingly asks you the question, “You don’t watch TV, what do you do?” I heard that question yesterday, smiled and said I keep busy. For how do you tell someone who is so deeply focused on one thing that you choose to use your time in other ways?

In a bit of indulgence this week, I purchased some beautiful new Petzl crampons. This is a nod to supply chain challenges in the world, to the changing seasons and anticipation of winter hiking, but also an acknowledgement that I just can’t get out there to hike right now. For now, anyway, I’m investing my brief, fragile time in other ways.

I visited the homes of three family members this week (including the television fan’s), each with some work that must be done and nobody to do it. In each case, knowing that if I’m not doing the work it’s going to get punted down the field indefinitely. So instead the hiking gets punted, at least for a little while. Autumn hiking is too crowded anyway… right?

“What we think or what we know or what we believe is in the end of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do” – John Ruskin

I dream of rising: Of winter hiking and digging these new crampons into an icy incline. Of traversing beautiful ridge line. Of travel and visits to faraway places. And (sometimes) of finally watching some program I’ve heard so much about from people in the know. But for now there’s work to be done. And at the moment I’m in an allegiance with gravity.

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