Sunday, July 7, 2013

Nomadic Moments

Words by Greg
Photos by Greg and Trina

Summer heat. It's not a bad thing, in and of itself. But when the pavement in town is too hot for dog feet… When a morning ride that starts at 7:30 feels like it's too late, too hot… When the inside one's mouth and nose start to crackle from breathing the blast-furnace air… When lethargy -- usually such a pleasant thing -- starts to feel oppressive…

We begin to think about adopting a nomadic lifestyle. Why do we remain in this hot, dry city that rests in this solar-reflecting bowl of a valley? Why are we not happily shivering on a foggy coastline? Why are we not camped along a glacial river? Why are we not exploring one of the polar regions?

We do what we can. There are many reasons to stay here. But we try to think of reasons to make our escape. And when we have a chance, we do. We load up the dogs and head for the high country. We seek the sheltered frost of a mountain morning. We wander through shadowed forests. We creep through moist meadows. We step into cool streams. We move through fading light as daylight drains away into chilled darkness under a spinning sky of stars.

For a day. Or a night. We leave the truck parked and move more closely, more attentively over the earth. By foot. Or pedal-driven tires. On knees or bellies. Our senses alert. To the smell of mint that rises from the grass. To the scent of pine drifting past. To the whir of cicadas. The click of beetles. The buzz of flies and wasps. The bubbling calls of small birds. The crack and swoosh of a tree falling in the woods. The ploit of small fish dashing away downstream. The cries of elk. To the changing breeze that cools or warms. To rush of wind, heard, not felt, that stirs the trees on the rim of the hill. To bear tracks in rain dappled dust. To skin warmed by sunshine. To skin cooled by dew. To the puff of a puffball. To the kaleidoscope flowers in all their variety of color and shape.

We move through these scenes. These smells. These sounds. These sensations. Such slight motion. Such a small movement on such a large planet. Movement that should be meaningless. And yet this motion seems to satisfy. Some deep sense, perhaps evolved into our being. A sense that tells us we must remain in motion. That we must keep seeking… What?

Perhaps the motion itself is enough. And perhaps, when wandering to foggy coastlines, glacial rivers, polar ice caps seems impractical. When the seasonal migration away from a hot valley seems awkward. Then perhaps these small motions are sufficient. Perhaps we can be satisfied with these small, attentive travels. These nomadic moments that we find for ourselves. In small places. Not far from home.

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