A city compared to the outdoors

“Now and again, it is necessary to seclude yourself among
deep mountains and hidden valleys to restore your link to the source
of life.”

– Art of Peace, Morihei Ueshiba

Well I didn’t actually seclude myself; was with around 15 other people…   when I had gone on an approximately 20km walk over two days, in the Snowdonia mountain range in Wales.

This looks like some volcano, actually its just a cloud and a stream caught in the right kind of light.

A frozen lake.

As we ascended, the weather was getting increasingly foggy. At the area around the summit, there was a blizzard with sharp hailstones stinging any small amount of unexposed skin. Though I was well protected, I had to borrow somebody’s eye-glasses as they were stinging my eyes too. These were the strangest hailstones I had ever seen, they were like small ball-bearings. Visibility was limited to some 20 feet at most.

These patterns in the ice show the force of the wind in these higher altitudes – around 2000 ft above sea level.

We were walking along a ridge [a long narrow path joining two mountains] The view of the valleys on either side was supposed to be spectacular. Everybody’s mood was generally off – that the weather was so bad and had spoilt the view. I couldn’t understand what they were complaining about – I tried to explain… “right now, this is the view… the fog – the blizzard – are beautiful by themselves… if you would only look – not at the valley down below but right here, right at our very feet!!” – referring to the ice formations formed due to the fierce winds and hail. But there were no takers for this point of view… except one girl who knelt down besides me on the floor to take a closer look and exclaimed “indeed they are!”

But we had to hurry to rejoin the group, getting lost was all too easy in the fog.

Rest of the walking group.

There were some lone guys like this fellow, and sometimes a lone guy with a dog. The dogs were amazing, no walking boots, coat, muffler, gloves, nothing!

Yellow, green, dark green, grey, brown, blue, red!!

Destination: the peak beyond this one.

Another lake.

Patterns of water frozen into ice.

You can see some people at the bottom part of the photo climbing downwards. Note a few black dots along the path, they are people!

A walk is also a means for socializing, as every now and then along the way two people pair up and start chatting. Each person I spoke to told me different reasons why they they liked walking:

Some of them said physical fitness and exercise, some said “its a challenge and I get a feeling of achievement at the end”, some said its to escape the boredom of everyday mundane life.

I usually don’t argue or raise any counter points except if I feel the person has patience to hear me out (which is quite rare… heh heh) but it was the case for one particular person…

He gave me the same reasons starting off with “physical exercise” and I asked “so what are gyms for?” Then he said “also for challenge” and I replied “why here, why not in a running track, maybe break the 4 minute mile record or something”… and so the argument went on. Not that I had any particular thing in my mind that I was waiting for him to say. But just that I was dissatisfied with the answers. Eventually the conversation died down and we walked in silence for a while.

Then he suddenly exclaimed “in the city, everything is manmade… every thing is created and controlled by man”. “Yeah even gardens are planned and landscaped” I mused. And his voice grew stronger as he continued “and every rule is dictated by man!! Out here…. man has nothing to do with it! Coming here is like coming out of some controlled environment… it reminds us of how things originally were… before human interference!

I couldn’t agree more with this reply 🙂

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