Posted by: WalkingOurWorld
October 6, 2017
Until a couple of weeks ago I was trekking through the hills and dales of Scotland, marvelling at the soft indigo of heather covered mountains, squinting into shards of liquid sunlight shimmering from the surface of Loch Lomond. I revelled in the taste of shivery raindrops that drizzled from the peak of my postbox red rain jacket down my nose and onto my wind chilled lips, felt my calves ache and thighs almost break as I pressed harder into the climb up this hill or that until panoramas of unique and unparalleled beauty came into view.
It was hard and beautiful and soft and agonising and so alive and real and now and indisputable and simple.
Last week I arrived in London. I got wifi back. I connected to the internet.
Through the magic of the world wide web, the connectedness with everything that it offers I began to be be informed once again.
Among about a billion other things the internet informed me that The United States and North Korea were almost at breaking point and I needed to be very worried about the future of all of life because of the distinct likelihood that one side or the other would very soon launch a nuclear attack.
Over 500 people had been shot in a lone gunman attack by a white caucasian male in Las Vegas and while the major media and government were describing the event as a single white guy going strangely and unexplainably crazy, others almost immediately named the happening as another false flag that couldn’t possibly be real when scrutinised – and that all of us are therefore being led down a “garden path” that is designed to keep the populace unconscious and afraid.
In Catalonia, the Spanish government were using brute force and muscle man tactics to prevent the people of Catalonia from determining whether or not they wished to be a separate state, so police were arresting officials that didn’t want to toe the official Spanish line. Spanish police were confiscating ballot boxes and ballot papers and following all that with threats of violence, then acts of violence against the people to prevent them from voting in what the Spanish Government had decided was an illegal referendum.
In Australia a different kind of vote had been organised by the Australian government. Here, the vote was official and encouraged and seen as completely unnecessary by a huge majority of Australians. In addition, politicians on both “sides” of the political spectrum had advised the populace that whatever they “voted”, the decision would be completely non-binding and politicians reserved the right to make up their own minds anyway. In his infinite wisdom John Howard, a previous conservative Prime Minister had removed some equality for some of the people in the nation without asking anyone back in 2004 and now the same conservative party had taken the step, after 13 years, to spend over $120 million to ask the people of Australia whether we thought that equality should be restored to those people, but even if we thought it should, they reserved the right to tell us all to f#%k off anyway.
The most respected TV news and current affairs show in the nation “4 Corners” put to air a report that confirmed some of the worst suspicions and investigations of environmentalists and activists by finding that the Indian company Adani, the company intending to unleash a massive coal mine on the north eastern state of Queensland, hand in sweaty, cash laden hand with the Australian Federal and Queensland State Government, has a deliriously tarnished financial, corporate, legal and environmental record in its home country of India and may even be going broke. That can be circumvented of course, by the Australian people funding the company with around a billion dollars of taxpayers money – a clever solution engineered by a Prime Minister whose personal fortune is safely deposited in an offshore tax free haven.
This in a world where coal is fast becoming the power source of the last century.
While they were at the deal making stage of course, the Australian based Governments also took a moment to grant Adani 60 years of unlimited access to Australia’s precious artesian water supply,
Meanwhile literally tens of thousands of men, women and children are facing unbelievable suffering at the hands of Saudi Arabia and a collection of financiers including the arms providers of the USA, France and Britain, who conveniently do their best to forget that they are making a “killing” on selling armaments to wipe out a people while also reviewing the aid budget that is assigned to assist the same men, women and children. The aid budget is assigned as a guilt denying glamour aimed at annulling responsibility for the butchery they and hence we, are performing in the name of war, world peace and economic wealth. That’s the economic wealth, according to our leaders, that will keep “trickling down” from the super rich to you and me, like the congealing blood on the calves of a 7 year old Yemeni child with schrapnel wounds and cholera.
But then the gunman in Las Vegas thing happened and there was nothing but that all over the news for days, so the longer term matters like protracted war in one of the poorest Arab countries in the world and the impending destruction of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, not to mention the likely poisoning of the massive underground cache of fresh water – struggle to get another mention on the shock addicted, extravaganza fuelled “mainstream” media.
This is the same media that screams bloody murder at the atrocity of the death of 59 “innocent” Americans at the hands of this lone gunman while studiously ignoring that over 1,160,000 people have died at the hands of the US government and their attendant warmongers in their recent power, oil and currency fuelled wars in the middle east.
That’s 212 people every day for the past 15 years.
Then someone said that it wasn’t possible for a man to shoot so many people from a hotel room at that distance. Someone else said of course it is possible and here’s the website to prove it. On that self same website there’s advertising for a way to earn $380 a day without going outside and a way for men to remain erect and libidinous using one simple trick that you can only find out by clicking through.
Meanwhile the Queensland Premier says our most respected ABC News and Current Affairs programme is making everything up about Adani and that multi billion dollar mine.
Seven friends are having their birthdays today too and I am prompted to send them a picture of some random cute character in celebratory mode to give some impression that I actually give a shit. A bunch of friends post pictures of the beautiful scene outside their bushland “office”. Several others show me pictures of their most recent journey to Bali where the massages are prolific and cheap and while the rubbish is piling up, it’s still beautiful on the beaches that get cleaned up each morning before the tourists rise from their peaceful slumber.
Also in Bali, one of the volcano’s, Mt Agung is about to spew rocks and lava in every direction so a whole lot of westerners are jumping on flights out of the place until the inconvenience settles down and the place becomes cheap and safe and spiritual once again.
Some of my friends are having a really delicious breakfast with what looks like the best coffee ever, with a heart shape fashioned into the foam on top. Quite a few Australian friends protest on their social media about receiving an unsolicited text encouraging a yes vote in the impending “non binding” plebiscite.
A day has passed so another 212 men, women and children have died in a US led war.
Another detained man seeking refugee status in Australia has taken his own life on Manus Island. He’s the second one in two months. It crosses my mind that this is one way that we can rid ourselves of the problem of the men detained illegally in Papua New Guinea. Then I check myself for my crass, heartless thoughts and my rampant cynicism.
There is much, much more on this amazing connection tool called the internet..
In the midst of all this news I am pummelled by advertisements that seem to have some relevance to websites I have visited, posts I have read and even conversations I’ve had.
On checking I find I have also received emails from Avaaz and Get-Up and a few other petition sites I’ve never heard of encouraging me to sign a petition to send a message to this leader or that despot or to the United Nations or someone else who has people’s lives in his or her hands. I sign some of the petitions. It’s the least I can do. The least.
An email arrives to tell me it’s working.
I leave the internet behind for a while to look through a bunch of photos I have taken while walking through the Highlands of Scotland. For the next hour I choose the best of these and apply some filters and enhance the image to look bright, clean, fun and so very beautiful and desirable. I selectively post them on Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, my fund raising page on Patreon and my blog site. They look great. People connect with me and tell me that I’m an inspiration for choosing to walk the world for Balance, Peace and Freedom. Part of me feels great about this. Part of me feels like I’m actually making a difference in my own life and in the lives of others.
Part of me feels like a complete fraud.
With all of this going on in the world, the best I can come up with is to WALK!?
I sit in the corner of the room I am in and hug my knees and cry and rock backwards and forwards for an hour or so.
Something steps in that brings me to stillness and silence and my centre.
Something says to me that this has nothing to do with walking and EVERYTHING to do with people reaching out to one another, lending a hand, offering random friendship, care, acts of kindness, compassion, love. Nothing to do with walking and everything to do with simplicity, the relatively unsung notion of human decency and appreciation of the magnificence of this existence and this incredible natural world we are all born into. Nothing to do with walking but everything to do with slowing down, making face to face connections with brothers and sisters all over the world, extracting from the hurdy gurdy of modern life that drags us into an energy draining vortex, sapping the awe and wonder we feel for life as children.
It is working. When I walk the awe and wonder returns and it feels hard and beautiful and soft and agonising and so alive and real and now and indisputable and simple.
When I walk I get to do things like marvel at the soft indigo of heather covered mountains, squint into shards of liquid sunlight shimmering from the surface of Loch Lomond, revel in the taste of shivery raindrops that drizzle from the peak of my postbox red rain jacket down my nose and onto my wind chilled lips, feel my calves ache and thighs almost break as I press harder into the climb up this hill or that until panoramas of unique and unparalleled beauty come into view.
When I walk I get to live a life really worth living. I get to dive deep into my thoughts until they disappear like so many clouds scudding across an endless blue sky. I get to meet hundreds, even thousands of strangers who almost without exception, become friends. I get to see that people from all over the world are witnessing this world gone mad and are asking why and feeling powerless, sad, frustrated, anxious and increasingly – rebellious!
As the world around them becomes increasingly insane, a kind of immutable sanity is rising. People everywhere are stepping away from the plate, out of the rat race, off the treadmill.
For some its just turning off the news. Some are volunteering where they live. Others volunteer in places where trouble lives. Some grow vegetables in backyard gardens while others gather in communities and home school their children. Still others protest in the streets, start an alternative living blog or write and perform songs or poems that call for change. Some drop everything they have known in their “normal” lives and pick themselves up from a comfortable lounge chair in a sunshine laden, summer beach lifestyle part of the world and walk.
If humanity is truly capable of all the awful things we are fed every day when we turn on the TV, listen to the radio, connect to the internet, read the paper – there is by life’s very nature, the flip side of that particular coin. We must be capable of incredible, magnificent things too.
As I walk I regain faith in that. As I walk people demonstrate that to me over and over again.
So I pull on my hiking boots, pack my bag and throw it on my back, say goodbye to more new friends and head out again.
Someone told me that you have never really seen blue until you see the colour of the Mediterranean sea on a crystal clear Autumn day. Someone told me that Greek people are among the warmest and friendliest people on earth.
Someone told me that while ever tiny children are still being born and witnessing the world with complete awe and wonder, there is still hope for a bright future.
Something says to me that these things are true.
I’m going to keep walking a while to find out for sure.