Friday, August 5, 2016
I went for a walk the other day and didn’t bring my phone. I am trying to wean myself off Pokémon Go so I travel to the Stone River Nation Battlefield and walk among the trees and limestone rocks and think about the people who died and what that may have been like. I also think, un-wantonly, about all the Pokémon that I am not seeing amongst the trees and rocks. I force it from my mind as I walk early in the morning to avoid the heat. Instead I think of the peripatetic philosophers that make walking their life. Especially the Cynics. Upon first discovering the Cynics and their view on hardship. It reminds me of the Buddha and hi desire to rid himself of all material possessions in order to have more tranquility, more peace. Diogenes watching a child scoop up water with his hands only to proclaim that he had been outdone, tossing his wooden makeshift cup aside. Now that he had one less thing to lose, one less thing to carry.
One less burden...
I am often burdened by the things that I have, as well as the things that I do not have. Perhaps more by the things that I don’t have. AS I walk I think of the Native Americans or perhaps my own distant relatives the Scottish Picts. How even into the English Enlightenment they lived like nomadic “savages”, herding sheep and living off the land in a subsistence lifestyle. I recall reading that during the developing of the United States, many of the English that moved to America where trying to build farms and shops in order to establish themselves financially. During this exact same time the Native Americans and Scots and Scots/Irish that settled in the Appalachian mountain range were still living subsistence lifestyles. Having no need nor desire to build wealth, but to live simply and simply be left alone.
I continue walking along the path. I see no one and am seen by no one. The animals chatter in exited tones about the trespasser in their midst. I don’t need anything while I walk. I carry nothing. This time not even my phone. I remember before I had a phone. I remember before anyone had a cell phone. They existed then, back in the early 1990’s. My father had one and no one knew what it was and assumed he was talking to himself. Now I find myself addicted to it, Pokémon Go only exacerbated this issue.
I come into the final stretch of the battlefield. It’s the worst part of the circuit. It is a road with nothing alongside of it except the occasional tall grass. Is this similar to not possessing anything? Do I not now possess less visual landscape? It’s a confusing situation that find myself in quite often.