I’ve often written about the vision that set the course of my life. Friends tell me I repeat myself in these writings. I know that. But there are many facets to some of the things I write and pray about. New lessons I learn as I look from a different angle, or different time. A new perspective that is unveiled, influenced by unfolding experiences. Spiritual and otherwise.
This photo was taken around 1970. when I would have been about 20 years of age. Taken during one of our many family camping trips to Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. This is Long’s Peak, taken from Moraine Park.
You probably notice this is not a digital image. I developed the film, then printed the negative on photo paper in a darkroom. Here are two other images from that time. Developing film and prints in a darkroom was exacting and time consuming. I’m grateful for the advent of digital photography.
My original vision occurred when I first moved to Indianapolis in 1971. I was horrified by the foul air, the clouds of smog. This was before catalytic converters came into use in 1975. I had a ‘clear’ vision of my beloved mountains hidden behind clouds of smog. It was the photo of Long’s Peak above that I saw in that vision. Imagined the mountains in the photo hidden in a gray fog. The photo reminds me of my vision every time I look at it.
That set me on the path of living without a car. I couldn’t bear to so directly add to the smog. Even though I did so via less direct means. None of us have a carbon footprint anywhere close to zero. The catalytic converters took care of the visible parts of auto exhaust, but not the greenhouse gases and heat that continued to pour from unbelievable numbers of automobiles.
It became common for each household to have a car, and then for every adult in a house to have their own. Such a waste of steel and rubber for machines that sit idle over 90% of the time. And traveling everywhere sealed in a car contributes to our separateness. Separateness has all kinds of negative consequences.
It is traumatic every time I see cars, trucks and airplanes. I have had to become somewhat inured to this constant stress over time. As I write this, I wondered if there was such a thing as Continuous Traumatic Stress Disorder (CTSD), and discovered there is.
Another consequence of not having a car was the significant amount of time I spent in nature. Walking to and from work and other places. I developed the habit of always carrying my (digital) camera when I began to be more aware of the beauty I was walking through, even in the city. The more I looked, the more beauty was revealed.
Now, some fifty years later, I am having nightmares about of my original vision coming true. This time of mountains hidden in smoke from the vast wildfires. It is also possible that more haze will occur as the warmer temperatures result in more water vapor in the air.
My original vision led me to do what I could to reduce pollution and protect land, air and water. I can’t help but feel there was more I could have done. But we are each called to do what the Spirit asks of us. The consequences of which may not be known to us.
Another consequence of my original vision was an intense commitment to running as an alternate means of transportation. Running becomes a drug we are addicted to. There are feelings of joy, running with feet barely touching the ground. Feeling powerful, and in intimate touch with our bodies as all parts synchronize to meet the tremendous demands. Forging ahead through rain, snow, heat, cold and recently a derecho.
Many runners write about the running experience. About the spiritual aspect of the experience.
“What running does is allow it to happen. Creativity must be spontaneous. It cannot be forced. Cannot be produced on demand. Running frees me from that urgency, that ambition, those goals. There I can escape from time and passively await the revelation of the way things are.
There, in a lightning flash, I can see truth apprehended whole without thought or reason. There I experience the sudden understanding that comes unmasked, unbidden. I simply rest, rest within myself, rest within the pure rhythm of my running, rest like a hunter in a blind. And wait.
Sometimes it is all fruitless. I lack the patience, the submission, the letting go. There are, after all, things to be done. People waiting. Projects uncompleted. Letters to be answered. Paperwork to do. Planes to be caught. A man can waste just so much time and no more waiting for inspiration.
But I must wait. Wait and listen. That inner stillness is the only way to reach these inner marvels, these inner miracles all of us possess. And when truth strikes, that brief, blinding illumination tells me what every writer comes to know. If you would write the truth, you must first become the truth.
The mystery of all this is that I must let it come to me. If I seek it, it will not be found. If I grasp it, it will escape. Only in not caring and in complete nonattachment, only by existing purely in the present will I find truth. And where truth is will also be the sublime and the beautiful, laughter and tears, joy and happiness. All there waiting also.”“Running & Being: The Total Experience” by George Sheehan, Kenny Moore
As my vision morphs into new form, what am I led to do now?
Am I to be led in new ways to visualize and respond to the threats to the view of Long’s Peak? The root problem of pollution is the same. But the smoke coming from the wildfires adds new dimensions, a different path. Perhaps a different way to interdict on Mother Earth’s behalf. Which is on behalf of us all, human and non human.
Now my being is sensitized to seek what the responses to this new version of my vision will be. In the past, I didn’t know my vision would lead to photography, running, and writing.
Now the Inner Light is burning with new intensity, fueled by a new awareness. What new perspectives will be revealed as this new version of my vision unfolds?