spiritual themes

Escape the Box

“Fish aren’t meant to be in a box, kid. It does things to them.”

This quote from “Finding Nemo” wandered into my brain recently while I was outside, enjoying a cigar. It snowed here for the first time this season, so I decided to take in the beauty that blanketed itself upon our neighborhood, before the Northwest climate had a chance to sweep in and degrade the pure snow into an ugly mix of gray slush and mud.

With wintery gusts blowing across my chapped face, I realized quickly I’d not dressed in enough layers to properly tolerate the chill. But I loved it–loved the way the wind penetrated my meager fleece sweater, infiltrated my body, chilling my blood and prodding my bones with sharp, exquisite blows. I’ve recently begun studying meditation, and one of the key elements involved is to focus on the sensations of your body–the feel of the air upon your skin, the shape of your breath as it enters and exits your lungs, the pulsing of blood throughout your body’s myriad of tributaries–all of these sensations become amplified when I am outdoors, especially when it’s windy.

In general, we’ve become quite an indoorsy society. The reason seems simple enough to me: there’s a ton of fun stuff to do indoors. In my house alone, at any given time, one has a choice of at least eight different, glowing screens–each of them a portal into a lavish, media-rich world. You want games? We got games. You want shows? We stream them in abundance. You want sports? Man, have we got sports! And don’t worry if there’s no game on at the given time that you’re craving a fix, cause we’ve got apps! Apps for rehashing yesterday’s game or for forecasting tomorrow’s, apps for reviewing this guy’s stats vs. that guy’s, apps for helping you find other apps for helping you stay stimulated while you remain in the great, glorious indoors!

I’m beginning to understand a bit of what Gill meant about remaining confined to a box for too long. I can see the things it does to people. At least, I can see what it does to me. It makes me forget. It makes me forget that the universe is such an unimaginably vast place; it makes me forget how wonderfully absurd it is that you and I exist amidst all these planets, stars, and galaxies. It makes me forget that I am a small part of something much, much greater than myself.

9 replies »

  1. I never go for a walk when it’s cold. I always save my evening walks for spring, summer, and fall on those days I don’t need a jacket. I really should change that up. As you point out, it energizes our bodies in ways staying indoors doesn’t.

  2. I think it’s natural (and instinctive) to avoid things that make us uncomfortable. It serves us well most of the time, but it also can keep us restrained from finding deeper places.
    Thanks for reading, dear Carrie!

  3. To think of our entire universe how it sucks the heat off our planet on a clear night. When yesterday was warm, and today it snows. I will have frozen fingers and toes at work next week. I am thankful for the heated box I live in and the steaming beef stew and hot chocolate it keeps for me when I come home. All of this thankfulness, and yet I wonder…what kind of cigar?

    • Nothing like frozen fingers and toes to help you appreciate the heated box, right? 😉
      I was smoking the last of a Don Lopez bundle I picked up awhile back – big ole Churchill size. It’s an ok cheap cigar, but I’ve found several now that I prefer better. Monte Cristos are nice, and I really enjoy Padrons (but they’re quite pricey!)
      Are you an aficionado?

      • I had half of of one once, at my bachelor party. It was big tho, like my snowboard. But unlike the cigar, my lungs actually enjoyed the using of my snowboard. My pleasures are much more childlike. I love a great root beer. And love to critique a bad one. It’s kind of like snowboarding…when it’s good it’s great, and when it’s bad, it’s still pretty ok. There are some that are smooth, some that go down easier than others. Some have bite, or create headaches if you’ve had too much. Some are sweat, some are spicy. All are best ice cold, and worse if watered down. My favorites would have to be XXX from XXX restaurant In Issaquah. A Henry Weinhart’s in the bottle, and Thomas Kemper on tap.

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