Monday, March 21, 2011

Life Takes a Walk

I just sat down after my daily walk. Ninety minutes a day of walking, walking and more walking. Usually fairly deserted, kids still in school, people working; pretty nice. But again, ninety minutes a day. Boring? Not in the least.

I live in a small city, fairly rural area, yet urban in the manner that there are four restaurants, a couple of bars, a couple of small grocery stores, all within walking distance. The area is about as perfect as it gets, for my taste.

There is twenty-four miles of paved trail to walk, bike or skate; if it isn’t motorized you can do it. Mostly follows the two rivers that combine into one in my area. Forests, parks, rivers and a couple of very small inland lakes that feed off the river, all accessible by trails. On one of the main loops there are four workout stations spaced equally in a two mile loop. If it sounds like a place to be healthy, it is.

Many who use the trails are attired with their iPods, or whatever device they use. I do not, love the sound of nature.

It is a perfect sunny day. Within the first ten minutes of my walk, I check out a couple of small islands sitting in the small river, they are always occupied by geese. Think it’s a training center for the young, little ones learning to stay alive. Another ten minutes of walking brings me to where there must be a hive close to the trail. Always get a couple of flyby warnings. Fifteen minutes later a groundhog makes his appearance, usually running back to his home in fright from the big ugly guy coming his way; he’s pretty cool. Boulders in the river, turtles straddling the sun. The whole time I’m walking birds are a singing continuously, obviously lots of robins, but also blue jays and cardinals, larks and sparrows. Nice. A few cooper’s hawks floating up high, owls will be hooting later in the evening. I know all the places the deer hang out, (yesterday had head down while walking, hear a movement, look to my left, three deer just a few feet away eyeing me). I’ve come across red foxes sunning themselves, squirrels are always making noise playing in the trees, rabbits running with me when I’m on skates.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Excuse the long intro, obviously I like where I live. What came to mind as I was walking was how it made me feel. How it made me think. I am of this world, I feel comfort in the company of other life.

The question is, is there a difference in how an atheist looks at the natural world around him compared to a theist? I would think we feel the same sort of belonging, but it would have to be a different kind of belonging. To be a theist would mean that you look at nature as something that is apart, different, than yourself. You have a soul and will live forever. There has to be a disconnected feeling regarding other life. All life other than man possibly just something put on earth to use or abuse?

Probably not a correct answer, but I have never been a believer. Just thought before I head out and screw with my friendly neighborhood christians I’d see if some of the ex-theists out there had an answer for me.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think it applies to all religious people, but I have met many religious people who completely miss the point of the natural world. their sense of awe is reserved for some feeling they get when they're singing hymns or when they interpret some event as an act of god. I cannot help but think that they do indeed muss on enjoyment of the beauty of plants, animals, ecosystems, etc. They also miss the point of great works of art, too. They see them not for what they are, a wonderful product of the human imagination and creativity, but as the inspired work of gos speaking through people. I have heard people say that without religion, we would not have the greatest pieces of art, music, etc., that humanity has produced. My response is that even sacred art is the product of man, and the inspiration is our own feelings of love, and the great pleasure that this particular species of great ape takes in creating stuff.