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.