walking is a matter of upwards

Being in the desert makes makes me think about thinking. Thinking is different here, there are physical places in the landscape to lay my thoughts.  So I have been asking people I meet from other parts of the world that do not have deserts if there is something comparable, a place where one feels simultaneously alone and connected to everything, able to experience a making physical the mental state. My email friend Johanna from Sweden points to the woods as a place for being with nature, as well an archipelago that is so windy that many plants cannot grow, and either can people. And water surrounding tiny, rocky islands; the curve of the earth. Artists make works about pine trees, the ubiquitous Swedish nature form. Retreat to the woods. People need quiet places, to stop moving for a moment or two, or to move in a different directions for a while. A walk in the woods, a walk in the desert. Everett Ruess, 19 years old, wandered into the desert of Utah, alone, never to return, in 1934. A mystery. Standing still in a wild place, walking through a wild place. What happens? Participating in a process grander and older than we can comprehend.

Johanna sent me a painting of a hike in Japan up a mountain, called walking is a matter of upwards. Here it is.

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