25 October 2007

Rules for doing nothing outdoors

An irresistably sunny morning found me pulled over and walking, sitting and thinking on the beach instead of hovering over my computer doing bureaucratic things. We need more times like this. Among many other thoughts, some of which I caught on paper after enjoying the timeless swell and fall and sound of the waves, I started a list of "Rules for Doing Nothing Outdoors". My mind and best intentions tell me there's a presentation or writing project to fill these ideas out more fully, but that's more work than I want to imagine right now. For the moment, here're my nascent thoughts in no particular order. Feel free to jump in where you like.

Rules for doing nothing outdoors:
  • No time limits. Leave your watch in the car. Return to real life when it's time to return.
  • No cell phone. No iPod. No electronics whatsoever.
  • No field guides. Free yourself from the need to catalog and organize the world around you.
  • Leave the camera behind. Don't experience life through the lens of your camera.
  • Sit still for at least five minutes. Five will become ten, which will become much more, but most of us have to force those first five minutes.
  • Be quiet.
  • Let the kids explore. Let 'em get bored and find something to do. They will discover if you let them.
  • Walk slowly.
  • Listen.
  • Feel the sun and the wind and the moisture on your face and arems and legs and feet.
  • Sit in the dirt, or on the sand, or on a log...not on a blanket or a chair. Allow yourself the freedom to get your rump dirty and damp.
  • Write, draw, take pictures...but only after you've given yourself time to be quiet.
  • Don't bring a book.
  • Take off your shoes. Take off your clothes if you can get away with it.
  • Pee outside.
  • Explore big thoughts by yourself.

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