My hikes with Sam (not his real name) have been educational. Sam is a NEW friend who I have known for a long time. This means that I've seen the guy around for about thirty years and am just now getting to know him a little better. We have made it a point to go for a walk on Wednesday mornings around eleven. He is pretty close to my age ( now in our 70's ) and will only go as far as is comfortable. The last time we met we walked over five miles. It was surprising that we covered that distance. Recounting mutual tales from the past has provided us with many stories to fill the time. It has been refreshing to talk and listen without that annoying sense of time urgency that has been the hallmark of this modern age.
Sam grew up in San Francisco and relocated to the Napa Valley like me. We have both appreciated the good fortune of living in such lush cultural environments as are both places. We spoke of meditation and other topics that support an inward journey. It seems that the older we get, the less certain of what is happening in the world around us. More importantly, the necessity of finding solace in activities that require focus, reflection, and an appreciation of beauty that surrounds us.
Initially, the usual topics came up... Covid, Racism, Climate Control, Fires, Floods, Freezing temperatures, and the like, and of course Trump. It seems we cannot get enough of what we never really wanted in the first place! (Where have we heard that before ?) In an era of seeming transparency, people have become overly concerned and more mortally guarded than (seemingly) ever before.
I am so grateful that I grew up in a much more innocent time. Our freedom will probably never be matched like what we both had experienced in the sixties. Perhaps what has stood out is how blessed we were to experience an idealized form of Eden. Even if it eventually devolved into chaos.
Below is a picture that was taken on our hike. The rock below the first picture is one that sits on my window sill atop a brass holder that resembles seaweed. It was taken early in the morning, showing the glow that has been the distinguishing feature of all the rocks that I paint.