While in the air, somewhere between the Philadelphia International Airport and Sangster International Airport, I gazed out the window and stared at a jigsaw puzzle. My thoughts should have been focused on a beautiful ceremony, exchanging rings under palm trees, and celebrating my nuptials with my new wife, family, and friends, but in that moment it was not the case. My thoughts focused on the land below, which had appeared to be cut into sections, like a grid. It reminded me of a microchip. Cars traveled up and down the roads as if they were caught in a feedback loop. This memory comes to mind when I hear people say that they’d like to get off the grid, minimalize their lives, and join the tiny house culture. The aerial view gave me a different perception of my habitat and the rat race. Can one really escape the grid? My thoughts move past the aerial view and into a galactic view. No matter what plagues my mind, from this position I perceive a new reality; I live on a gigantic rock that is hurdling through space, into infinite darkness. I wrestle between comfort and discomfort in this reality.
Within the perimeters of the grid, I find a peaceful solitude in the natural world. Pine needles blanket the ground below my feet as the chilly breeze kisses my cheeks. Solar rays illuminate in shades of green, yellow, orange, red and brown, as they separate and scatter through the limbs of sap dripping conifers. With each step I take, fallen branches and dried leaves release a crackling sound. The deeper I walk into these woods, the deeper my perception of reality becomes, and the farther I drift into the only truth that I can account for, the present moment.
This place does not pass judgment, nor does it speak any lies. It knows nothing of greed, jealousy, or envy. It possesses no ego, arrogance, or attitude of condescension. Its ambience is untouched by the plague that ills my mind, an infinite cycle of monotonous efforts of a society striving to keep up with the Jones’. Competition has never been my strong suit, at least not in regards to defining my strengths in the terms of defeating another man. I struggle with the challenge of proving the purpose of my existence to others, as the only competitor I have ever valued was the man I was yesterday. These topics are mundane and irrelevant as I gaze past my own water-mirrored reflection and into the cloud rippled sky. The creek runs naturally like my rapid thoughts. It is in my best intentions that I come here to discharge my thoughts and disinfect my troubled mind.
The state of the economy is less than a drop in my sea of thought as my eyes focus on the morning dew settling on the feathered leaves of a fern. I pick up and skip a rock across a tranquil bend of the creek. “One, two, three, four”, I count. The ripples expand outward in perfect three hundred and sixty degree wakes, mimicking the infinite expanse that is our universe. With the rock I leave my worries. With the ripples I fathom eternity. A chipmunk scurries past my foot and brings my mind back into the present moment. I often get lost in my thoughts, even here.