Time away 2, “a pair of eyes walking”

I look and look.
Looking’s a way of being: one becomes,

sometimes, a pair of eyes walking.
Walking wherever looking takes one.1

excerpt from “Looking, Walking, Being,”
by Denise Levertov

Long, meandering walks are one of the great joys of time away. Time for exploring with my eyes and ears, letting thoughts drift and ricochet against what I see, losing myself in the weather and the sounds of whatever’s around.

Walk 4-16-16 aerial 3.5 mi crop

Two walks, April 2016, drawn as remembered after the fact
Two walks, April 2016, drawn as remembered

When the itch to escape for a week struck this spring, Kathy and Mark offered their home in Port Townsend at a time they’d be away. My daily walks began there.

North Beach

Fort Worden2 is an easy walk from their home, and the park’s proximity was irresistible.

Path from beach to fort

Fort Worden battlements-1

In a recent New York Times piece, Teddy Wayne worries that we’re losing opportunities to be alone with our thoughts, both physically and mentally.3 We’re so distractible, and electronic devices that provide immediate gratification are so often close at hand. He provided data about our increasing use of these devices and brain science suggesting that they interfere with our capacity for introspection. He quoted Nicholas Carr contrasting a state of mind that values speed and quick answers with an “open-ended way of thinking where you’re not always trying to answer a question. You’re trying to go where that thought leads you.”

Path in trees next to Chinese Gardens

As I head out to walk, with my phone safely in my pocket, I leave my questions behind for a while and settle into simply looking and walking and being.

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References

1  Excerpt from “Looking, Walking, Being,” by Denise Levertov, published in 1996 by New Directions Books. I return to the whole poem frequently, and the book itself is a well-worn volume in my library.
2  I introduced Fort Worden in an earlier post, “Home – a confabulation.”
3  Teddy Wayne, “The End of Reflection,” The New York Times, June 11, 2016.


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2 Comments

  1. I enjoyed very much reading these musings…as I am right at the cusp myself of the fullest flowering of my vocation as a creator and teacher, and the daily questioning of “is this all, it, and now what?”, I appreciate the energetic gentleness of your writing. I remember singing in those echoing chambers at the Fort Worden bunkers during various residencies there, totally being in those moments.
    Thanks.

  2. I love your site Anne. It is always a wonderful invitation to slow down and appreciate our surroundings. Thank you

    I’ve been watching birds with my Sibley book in hand as bright yellow finches swoop thru the garden with such joy…and then comes the smell of summer rain on the garden. There is nothing like getting out of town and into the country.

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