As mentioned in my previous post, this year I’m building and reinforcing my value system with three different practice-and-blog series. That post focuses on values about cleanliness by practicing and showing off nail grooming. The second post and series I’m kicking off here revolves around BEING OUTSIDE. Specifically in the woods and by the water, at least once a week each (and specifically SALTwater).
So on the 6th day of January, because I made this commitment to myself (so I can feel proud of my follow-through instead of like a beach bum slacker? see also: puritanical values about work), I dropped everything else and went to the beach:
Normally I’d avoid the beach on a Saturday (because normally I avoid people, and normally beach + Saturday afternoon = people), but because it’s winter and it was probably going to rain, there were hardly any people at all!
So I didn’t have to figure out how to interact with anybody except fog and rain and sand and space and day meeting darkness and feet hitting ground … and that is my happy place.
So what does this have to do with values? Well … I value: my body | fresh air | sweating | taking the temperature with my skin | working to LIVE | sunlight | LIVING TO LIVE | telling time by tides and shadows | free self-health-care as valuable “work”, more valuable than any desk work | connecting with what is REAL under my feet | my exceptionally good fortune in living in this time and place out of all of the times and places humans have existed | solitude | the colors green the colors brown the colors grey the colors colors colors blue yellow brown green green green green NIGHT | the enormity of sky | seasons | my freedom | my ability to exercise my freedom and to choose what is healthy(iest) | having a platform to celebrate and serve what I value and what sustains life | bunches of other good shit like just BEING ALIVE
Basically: I AM SUPER FUCKING LUCKY I CAN WALK ON THE BEACH EVERY DAY. Whenever I want. And very often have it all to myself: way more quiet, peace, and solitude than the vast majority of people on this planet have access to.
I value quiet, peace and solitude. And huge bodies of saltwater. I feel some kind of a huge moral ethical human spiritual obligation / necessity to feed on my good fortune and revel in the pleasure, nutrition and healing it gives me to be out there, in what little there is left for however long it and I linger.
The time & weather when I started my walk, and when I ended it:
For that first week of January I did my woods and water walk all in one outing, hiking up the hill from the beach as it got dark. The trail was steep, slippery, and getting harder and harder to see, but I wanted to be speedy to cover as much ground before it got totally dark; this was a fun extra-sensory challenge to really focus on FEELING my footing, being aware of every step and seeing with the soles of my feet.
This wet walk alone up an eroding hill intensified my appreciation of the book I’m reading (It), remembering what it’s like to be a kid roaming around outside relishing freedom, suffering from fear, and just being alive outside with your heart beating fast.
Didn’t your values seem a lot clearer when you were a kid than they do as an adult? I want to be as clear as a childabout the value and rightness of certain things. Like mud puddles.
Being outside alone while it got darker and wetter and darker I felt more and more like myself, and giddy about it.
In some ways I’m not even sure what this word “values” means and how to talk about them meaningfully or accurately (is that possible?). But the darker it got and the more sure I knew where I was and how to get somewhere else, the more I remembered who I am and felt happy about the rightness and certainty of it: I’m a night person who loves being alone in my body outside.
I would rather listen to water dripping off of different things onto different surfaces than people talking words. Part of valuing these things – night, solitude, rain, outside, wet sounds – is valuing myself for being the kind of person who runs sopping wet through the dark alone in winter.
Note on blocking out part of our hometown name: it’s not a secret on our sites, but I don’t want to make it THAT easy for no good reason. Plus it’s more fun for you to read if it’s a blank you can fill in with your own idea of a perfect place to live!