author of the oarsman
April 12, 2017

The weather was beautiful this morning, with cool breezes tasting warm skin as I hiked the side of my favorite mountain. Volunteers had recently trimmed the grasses beside the trail — some of which, after this especially rainy winter, had been taller than I — so it was nice to be able to see down to the valley while walking.

Some days my hikes bring silence, where nature itself seems to tiptoe in and whisper its breath into my head to calm it to acquiescence. But today my mind was particularly noisy, always wanting to fall back to daydreams. I projected Zubin into the future and past, making him the star of imagined vignettes, ranging across titles such as, What to Write Later On, or, I Remember When…

Every time something would bring me back to the moment, such as passing another hiker, or a startled bird taking off at my approach, I melted into the now, disappearing enough that the heat, dust, and nature-smells were the only things hiking. But then, just as easily, another daydream would filter in to displace the mindlessness.

I remember hiking when I used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and being obsessed with having a quiet mind. I would think that I was failing if I wasn’t hyper focused on nature, and would force myself to always return to whatever my senses were feeding in.

Today, I stood at the top of the trail and rested for a moment while looking down at the city. I chuckled to myself, for I saw haze forming clouds and breeze fanning bushes, and also clearly saw I was nothing other than the source of both daydreams and silence.