The more zigzag the way, the deeper the scenery.
The winding path approaches the secluded and peaceful place.
~ Huáng Bīnhóng
The theme at Abbey of the Arts for September is silence. An invitation was extended to visually reflect on what silence looks like. I pondered what my photographs of silence might look like, and then went wandering (apt word) through a few of my photo catalogs. I immediately felt drawn to the many photos I have of paths or trails leading into wilderness areas, paths I walked alone and in silence. Meditative walking.
Whether I am walking along a sand dune, part worn boardwalk and part shifting sand . . . or through a green forest, thick with green vegetation, towering leafy trees, wildflowers sprinkling pastel colors amidst my feet . . . or tramping on a desert trail, worn deeply into the side of a mountain, stretching through stands of cactus, climbing over piles of tumbled rock . . . or strolling on the smooth pavement in a tended garden, walking further and further away from the crowds, deep into the recesses where few wander, but much joy is found . . . or hiking along a snaking path through the wilderness of badlands, a barren maze of eroded land, ridges, peaks, and mesas — all of these I walk in silence.
In listening to the silence, for silence has a sound, I find answers to my questions, and more questions seeking answers. I find my way through the wilderness and then I am home.
“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.
But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air,
but to walk on earth.
Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize:
a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black,
curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes.
All is a miracle.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Walking is the great adventure,
the first meditation,
a practice of heartiness and soul primary to humankind.
Walking is the exact balance between spirit and humility.”
~ Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild
“A fact bobbed up from my memory,
that the ancient Egyptians prescribed walking through a garden
as a cure for the mad.
It was a mind-altering drug we took daily.”
~ Paul Fleischman, in Seedfolks
Our way is not soft grass,
it’s a mountain path with lots of rocks.
But it goes upward, forward,
towards the hidden sun.
~ Ruth Westheimer
That’s the best thing about walking, the journey itself.
It doesn’t matter much whether you get where you’re going or not.
You’ll get there anyway.
Every good hike brings you eventually back home. ~ Edward Abbey
Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Walking is her daily pleasure, her daily meditation.