The past few months I have been walking as much as I can. They are walks that I desperately grasp, hoping for a feeling of peace, but more often than not they are just a sip of space, not the deep drink I hope for. Still I am grateful for them, more than ever. Now that summer is stretching its branches out, and digging in its heels, I have had to recalibrate when I walk. Now I walk in the mornings and evenings to beat the sun and deer flies. The mornings are still cool, and the gentle air sits on my shoulders and back. The evenings still have a breeze in them.
To save time in the morning, I walk on the road. In the evenings, I walk in the nearby preserve. An anchor of both of these walks is the ridge that I live at the foot of. In the fifteen years that I’ve lived here–looking up at the ridge every morning, walking on it from various points, walking and driving around it, seeing it from distant viewpoints–I realize I still don’t know it entirely. When I walk on the neighboring roads, I look up at it to see how it is shaped, and it seems to change as I walk, depending on my perspective. There is a path I walk in the preserve, and, in the winter, I can see my house through the trees. I sometimes want to put a marker on a tree, so when I look up at it, I’ll know exactly where that spot is.
It fascinates me that the contours of the mountain are seemingly always in flux depending on my perception. Right now, because I have more time to think of these things, my curiosity of how this mountain is shaped is more pronounced. It’s not that I have a certain goal in mind, but just the pleasure in knowing it more closely. A mountain can be so big, so seemingly permanent. It’s there every day, and our expectation of it makes it so. We take it for granted and never question it. In expecting it to be as it is, we do not ever truly know it, because there are so many sides to it, and our position from it always changes. These thoughts have been helping me to remember that mountains, even mountains, can move.
It feels like finding justice and ending oppression in this world is like moving a mountain. I hope I’m not stretching my metaphor here, but sometimes I am pessimistic that real change can happen. I see a seemingly immovable object. Instead, I need to look from a different vantage point. Right now, we need to change our perspective and see that our world can change. To be clear, Black Lives Matter. If we don’t fight for racial justice, we won’t remedy climate change. We can’t have one without the other.
A local Hudson Valley organization that you can learn more about and donate to is RiseUp Kingston.
I am listening to and learning about all the changes I need to make in the world. I hope you are, too.