|The walk of Life – Verona , Italy|
|Hills around Sveti Juraj, Croatia|
Many years ago, I bought hiking shoes. The idea was to join some groups, find some trails and become regular hiker. Exactly the same as many of my other ideas, this poor idea also went down the basement to get dust. I used those shoes only a couple of times and they were packed. It happened soon that there was a change in the work plan. I had to leave the country and that made me pack my hiking shoes with all kind of protection. I went back home and came to another project. Almost one year went by and these poor shoes did not get any air to breathe. Once again, life took turn and this time my work life changed for big. It simply meant that I am not working any more. As, I was packing or selling my stuff, I sold my good hiking shoes also. I did not know that life will take a turn and I will start hiking/walking again; this time for real. I did not have any hiking shoes, but my regulars took me to distances that I never imagined myself to go. While I was experiencing life, hiking made that experience even richer and made me realize how life becomes alive while hiking.
|Monte Tamaro, Switzerland|
We use the sentence very often, “How’s life?”. Mostly the person responding, responds from few of the options; good, not so good, just moving, same old. There are many other words that will describe the same feelings. But in a social conversation, the list on multiple choice answers is very limited. But, if we take the question a little deep, then is it really so easy to answer, how life is? Before, we even answer it, do we know what life is? Is it my work, my family, my friends, my activities, my thoughts, my imaginations, my dreams, my fantasies, what? Do we have any formula that we can use to put all the various parameters with its relative weightage and give and answer to Life = x ? At least, I am not aware of any.
|Active Volcano, Bali|
It does not just stop at the definition of Life as a noun. Then comes the people, who tell you that you are not “living” your life to its potential. If I, as an individual, am already struggling to understand what life is, then now I have another problem. I also need to know what does it mean in action, and also what is it’s “potential”. It is almost like, while I am trying to understand what does a car means, somebody comes and tells me that it runs and there is top speed of it, which must be used. This discussion about life and living can get really funny or exciting, depending on what views or perspectives you choose. But mostly, it is simply a discussion about different imaginations. As someone said, “Life is happening, when I am busy doing other things”.
|Stone Glacier, Croatia|
Well, as I was saying before, I finally started to go for walks and hikes. I started with small ones and then managed little longer as well. It is not just about the kilometers that you cover, it also include the terrain, height, marked, unmarked paths and many other factors. One learns about hiking as one keep on walking. There are whole lot of things that goes through your mind while on a hike. If one remains little aware of those thoughts, one starts to feel the hike. Slowly, one realises how the hike, is more about hiking than your target. A hike can make you think of so many things that make you alive, make you breathe, make you smell, make you see, make you think, that you never probably thought before. The time when you are juggling through all the senses and emotions, make you realise how close to life you are and how you are living it.
|Monte Lema, Switzerland-Italian border|
Many simple things needs your attention, that you do not think while sitting in a comfortable room.
- When you need to decide, how much of water is enough to complete your journey, that’s when one starts making important decisions.
- When you walk through the path and see some shit and you cannot match it with a cat or dog or cow’s or any other familiar domesticated animal, that’s when life kicks in.
- When you are surrounded by green landscape full of herbs and you are not sure, which one you can taste and enjoy and which you can only taste, maybe for last time, you think about life.
- When you take a path, that no one around you know about, you start to feel life.
- When you hear sounds in the grass, under and around your feet and you think if it is some snake or just some lizard, you feel your heart beating of life.
- When you come across a board with bullet holes and not sure if the hunting season is on or off and you decide to continue, you feel your life passing through you.
|Laggo di Maggiore, Italy|
- When you take a path across the hill that was damaged by wind or rain and you do not know, if you can come back on this path and you do not even know, if there is path on the other side, you start to live.
- When you walk or run against the setting sun while walking in the forest known to have wolves, you feel the life in action.
- When you walked to too far and your muscles starts to give in and you start to talk to your muscles, you get the feeling of life.
- When you are walking in the forest and all that you hear is the sound of your own footsteps on the path full of autumn leaves, mixed with songs of a distant bird, you feel your heart full of life.
- When you walk across the mountain on a given trail and find it stopped in middle of nowhere and you have to find your own way to the top of the hill, you feel the excitement of the life.
- And when after walking for hours, you come out of the tree shades to the top of the mountain and hear the sound of distant waterfall behind the lush green trees, shining in the sunny day, you feel the peace of life.
|Plitvice Lakes, Croatia|
I am not saying that I have figured out some formula of life and that everyone should go hiking. Hell, I find myself lucky that I can go for hikes. There are many who cannot. I am lucky that I got the courage to take my own decisions and travel my own paths. What I felt on all the hikes and walks, that I have been so far, is that life is where you are and living is when you are moving. But they all mean nothing, if you have closed your senses. One can walk through a forest, listening to music on some hi-fi headphones. But for me, it is like I mentioned before, ” Walk happened when I was busy listening to some music”.
If you are present in your walk, if you can feel the air, if you can hear the noises around you, if you can stay still when a deer is trying to judge you as a threat, when you keep the calm on seeing wild pigs, if you can enjoy the taste and touch of cold spring water, if you can listen to your beating heart and if you can smile for your experience, then if not knowing what life is, at least you can have a hike with it along with it’s highs and lows.
Philosopher: “I have been traveling, researching, and contemplating for years, trying to determine when the end of the world will be-yet I still have not found out the answer. Mulla, do you know when the end of the world will be?”
Nasrudin: “Yes-I have known that information for a long time.”
“Well, will you share this knowledge with me?”
“Of course. When I die, that will be the end of the world.”
“Are you certain it will?”
“It will be for me.”