Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In Praise of Slow...

I hate Winter. And Winter hates me. We've reached the point in our relationship where we no longer take our mutual hatred personally. We just stick it out together for five months and wait until Spring comes to bring us both back to life.

The thing I hate most about Winter is that it's usually just too cold to go walking. And I love to walk. In the Summer I walk for hours. In the Winter, I limit my walking drastically. I don't do much more than the five minute walk to my workplace and to the mall where I purchase my groceries and other necessities. Otherwise, I use transit.

I am a fast walker. A very fast walker. Many of my friends get annoyed with me because I walk so fast that they can't keep up. And in Winter, I walk even faster. But today, something told me to slow down. Instead of huffing it from the corner to home, I took my time. It was almost painful to walk so slow. My legs were doing a WTF. But they adjusted, and soon enough, I almost felt like I was floating. All of a sudden, everything around me became acutely vibrant. The cold wind on my face felt refreshing. The sky seemed vaster than ever. And the trees looked strikingly beautiful in their barrenness.

I've been in an existential funk for the past few days. Another thing I hate about Winter, it never fails to bring with it a lingering melancholy. I looked at the trees again. Trees don't get depressed in Winter. They don't long for the sun to return or lament their barrenness. Why? Because they don't have the consciousness that humans do. They don't reflect and wonder about meaning and purpose. They don't long for the past or yearn for the future. They don't feel depressed or happy or excited or fearful. They don't feel anything.

I've spent many years wishing I were less sentient, but today, today, I'm grateful for my ability to feel. I'm grateful for every moment of melancholy. I'm grateful for the barrenness I feel at this time of year. The Universe is incredibly random, but somehow, through eons of evolution, through time and space, I have come to be here. Alive. On this planet. I have the ability to feel, to think, to formulate ideas and opinions, to be happy or sad or melancholy or afraid or angry. I can experience life in a way that is unique. Somehow, that uniqueness became deeply apparent today on my slow walk home. And for the first time, it seemed like a good place to be. My life, as completely ridiculous and meaningless as it feels most days, is a unique, and dare I say, miraculous, prospect. Huh.

tall penguin


matt said...

Beautiful. :)
I needed to read this today. :)

Thank you.

Winter does suck all the life out of us sentient beings. ;)

heart2heart said...

I've been in that existential funk for a while now and the winter just makes it worse for me... the days without sunshine anyway.

On days when the sun is out, I feel a renewed sense of life and wonder, if only temporarily. It's a good feeling.

I hope I can shake this funk soon. Thanks for reminding me I'm not completely alone.