The primitive in me..., Traveling...

The Grey City…

    I need to take the weight off my feet for a little while my friend, all this running around to prepare for the journey ahead tires me out these days, not so much physically but more mentally. A brew and a bite to eat? that is indeed a splendid idea, please join me for awhile whilst I collect my thoughts…

Where am I traveling too? ah that be the Grey city, London. In my youth the thought of visiting these isles’ capital filled me with both dread and excitement. Perhaps because the center of the Empire should indeed inspire but at the same time cower a soul who comes from a small village in the north of the country. After all is it not the place where decisions that shape the world are made, where rulers both past and present reside, where the hub of world commerce is and where the streets  are paved with gold? A melting pot of cultures where people come from the four corners of the world to settle and intertwine their lives in a vivid, pulsating culture that is warm, welcoming exciting, vibrant and a wonderful celebration of life that provides a mosaic of colors, tastes, feelings and odors that heighten and arouse one’s senses to living life to the absolute full? 

Well perhaps my senses have been dulled over the years and my skepticism has grown in a life that has had too many experiences that make myself doubt many of my views and values that once were solid black and white pillars of certainty?  I find London a grey place that no longer fills me with neither dread nor excitement but rather apathy and a desire to leave that miserable place the moment I arrive. It reeks of corruption and the mental stench of so many lost souls crammed together in the confines of the urban jungle that is the vast majority of the Grey city causes me to recoil and long for the green hills of my homeland. As for a melting pot of cultures? yes there are many of the earth’s peoples to be found in the Grey city but to my mind there is little integration occurring with single race communities living out their lives in areas that may as well have tall walls capped with razor wire for all the interacting with other communities that happens. A warm welcome? I fear not, though I am sure that the Grey city has marvels to behold and places where one’s senses can be set on fire but walking the streets of the Grey city I find the people downcast, rude, absorbed totally within their own ‘life bubble’ and with eyes downcast as if one and all fear the contact that eyes meeting would incur. I fine this the saddest part of  dour experience that is a visit to the Grey city, after all for eons past this nation has been built from so many different cultures, yes most of them invaders but all have melded together adding to our heritage and produced a people that are proud, resourceful, resilient, and capable of the most amazing acts of compassion, inventiveness and bravery. But these days my frequent visits to the Grey city only lead me to doubt that as a people we are evolving along the right pathways anymore. There is such a feeling of oppression that covers those people who reside and live such narrow lives in the Grey city and other such urban jungles that one can almost taste the despair that is surrounding them. 

    My beloved worries about me when we venture to the city of her birth, she says that I stand out like a sore thumb among the downward looking throngs. This is not because of any height advantage, difficult when I am only 5′ 6″ I’m sure but rather because the primitive in me refuses to watch my feet as I walk and refuses to give way to people who think that they should take precedence over others. The primitive in me still gives me pride in being a man and as such I hold my head high, protect those I hold dear and I’ll be damned if the thought or act of making eye contact with another human will ever fill me with fear. My beloved likens me to a lion, a small one albeit, on the Grey city’s streets as there always seems to be a space around me which the downward looking seem to avoid. And yes I take pride in her words, it is not my physicality that people avoid but rather, I like to believe, that it is the primitive in me that people sub-consciously sense and respect. She worries that my pride will lead to a fall when in the Grey city, maybe it will but the primitive in me doubts it somewhat.

     Why do I venture so far south to a place that I dislike? well my friend I can assure you that it is not for pleasure but out of duty that I travel to the city Grey. Perhaps one day I may do the tourist thing and visit the sights of London and maybe, just maybe its colour may change in my eyes, but I doubt that it will be nothing more than the Grey city to me. Ah well my friend I must carry on in my preparations for the road to the Grey city is long and wearisome and fraught with the occasional danger. It will be nice to settle in our chosen inn and dine on suckling boar washed down with the odd vessel of grog this evening at journeys end. 


The primitive in me...

Walking, a primitive connection…

     A very good evening to you and welcome to my hearth, would you mind if I take a seat to while away some moments until I have caught my breath? I must confess to just having come from a walk upon the trails that I really did not want to begin, in fact it took all my mental strength just to step out of the door. Do you often feel like that about the things that deep inside of you know will be good for body, mind & soul yet the actual starting of them is so damned hard? Or perhaps it is just me that fails all to often to pursue the ‘healthy’ option?

     The damn thing is that once my creaking limbs are propelling me along it is not long that the joy of just walking trials, known or new, takes over and other thoughts are left behind, well until my weary bones return home once more. Even when I am less than enthusiastic about setting off upon another adventure, whether short or lengthy, I know that I will thoroughly enjoy the time spent upon the trails and return with both mind and attitude refreshed. So why the hesitation in setting off in the first place?  I honestly do not know the answer to this question though my confidence is low regarding all things at the moment and all too often it seems easier just to curl up, letting life pass me by and tell myself “tomorrow I will make it up and hit the trails”. But this attitude does no one any favors and it is, I believe, far better to fight any malaise by grasping the nettle with both hands and just force one to rise up and face life head on. I am not saying this is easy but the rewards far outweigh any downsides, imagined or real. So tell me, if I may pry, what is your motivation to enrich your life and what perceived barriers, if any, prevent you from starting upon such adventures to accomplish a more enriched life?

     For me though, once the obstacle of actually setting forth is overcome the sheer joy of just being on the trails is far easier for me to explain to you my friend than the reasons that make my hesitate to leave my chair in the first place. The plain and simple fact is, well is actually that I am a plain and simple soul, in fact primitive is a title that I have been branded with upon far more than just the occasional occasion. Am I offended by being labelled so? good grief no, why be offended by the truth? Yes I am primitive, both in my ethics and in what pleases me and walking under whispering trees, along deserted shorelines or lonely mountain trails just goes to reinforce this perception I have of myself. A connection with nature and all its diverse flora and fauna is, in my opinion, one of the most base things anyone should have in their mental make up. I also think that there is nothing at all wrong in considering oneself primitive in any shape or form, it is far to easy to be swayed by the mantle of being ‘civilised’ and lose touch with who or what we really are. I am sorry my friend but that lack of confusion upon your face makes me think that I have failed to explain myself or my thoughts clearly for you to deem what I am trying to say, but then again words are not easy for me at times, I’ll try to explain my thoughts on this subject again….

     When I say that I consider myself primitive and that walking is a connection to a more primitive world for me I am saying that being in touch with nature, the soil, water, flora and fauna makes me feel far more alive than anything else that I do. The smell, taste and feel of just being immersed in nature heightens my senses to such a degree that I start feeling that I am truly a part of the natural order of life and it’s many interlocking connections that for most of the time we, as a species, totally fail to understand and the realisation of being part of, instead of just using nature, is truly awe inspiring for me. For me the definition of being civilised  is now one that covers so many rights or wrongs that being truly civilised these days is a rare thing to find in our species with so many willing to ride roughshod over others for personal gain, whether they appear as individuals, corrupt governments or unruly mobs, that being civilised is perhaps seen by many as a weakness to be exploited? So for myself to be labeled as primitive is really a unintended compliment . For being primitive I take joy in the simple things in life such as walking, simple food, the love of my girl, the gift of true friends and the strength of being able to protect myself and others. Taking joy in the ability to protect others you ask? but of course I do, for being a primitive soul part of my make up is having the strength to do what is right and to be able to stand up against people who would do harm to the ones that I hold dear, and yes ‘doing right’ is not always being lawful but hey sometimes bending the rules that would make me civilised is fun too and sometimes necessary to keep true to myself and my simple ethics of what is right or wrong.

     So my friend I hope you can perhaps now see why walking, for myself, has its primitive connections and why such a simple act appeals to me so much. Perhaps you should try it someday and join with me upon lonely trails? who knows there may well be a primitive in you just aching to taste the freedom of the simple things in life. Ah well I have taken too much of your time and my grumbling stomach is telling me that tis time  to prepare tonight’s meal, something simple I feel possible the ham and some cider.