Winter Camino – day 10 > excerpt 2

Day 10  –  Belorado  to  Ages   > excerpt 2

The quietness I had been subjected to in the snow-covered landscape was actually not quiet at all: it is amazing how loud silence and peace can be! Being alone in nature, surrounded by stillness, may make one hyper-alert and vigilant, almost as if expecting something to happen. Quietness is so unusual in our hectic daily lives that one has to get used to this peace before one can relax.

When last have I sensed a silence like this? I cannot remember. To my ears it seemed still in this forest, no vibrations entered them and that was peaceful. The brain, however, spun yarns, was hearing spooks where there were none. It experienced a change of conditions and could not handle this, searching actively for familiarity. My brain seemingly created all sorts of mind-games ‒ such as there being a bogeyman around the corner, or ‘what if a branch fell on my head’, or ‘surely there must be others around, I cannot be as alone as it appears to me, I cannot be in such an empty space’.

A quiet fairy-tale landscape

I don’t think my brain actually had those impressions, I have described them to dramatize the stillness and my hypersensitivity. The mind is fickle and I cannot record the true thoughts that had surfaced. I do recall the motionless atmosphere and a definite measure of disquiet that went with it. I had to adjust to the stillness and my gray matter had to deal with this new sensation.

Any unfamiliar circumstances may entail changes which could challenge us – even if they would ultimately transform us and be for our own good. In this instance change to these lonely conditions represented peace versus constant noise and unrest that generally surround us. – -Implementing change also requires compelling reasons. If we cannot identify any benefits, there is no incentive to change.

Finding this quietness in the snow unfamiliar, and having to adjust to it, was similar to changes we come across in our daily lives to which we need to adapt if we want to move forward. These challenges may also throw us off guard and generate conflict. With change we enter unfamiliar territory in which anxiety, suspicion and resentfulness could be raised and loss of confidence may be caused. On a grand scale – changes necessary to advance humanity, for instance adapting to a more open lifestyle, might challenge old beliefs and practices. Liberation of women in some parts of the world, changing their status, providing access to education, freedom of movement and speech, for example, are necessary out of many reasons. Present practices can be destructive, especially if advancements are restricted out of self-interest. Not that improvements in west societies are always beneficial, many are not, as we can clearly see in our ‘modern’ society.

We will never voluntarily take the plunge and alter what is familiar to us unless we recognize and accept the advantages thereby gained. We have to believe that change is for the better and will bring about improvements. Obviously, forced changes follow a rather different pattern and seldom lead to improvements.

The change I refer to does not concern our material possessions and circumstances, I refer to changes of our state of mind and our emotions. They form the basis of our personality and shape interaction with others.

Posted in Blog, Winter Walk permalink

About Dieter Daehnke

Born in 1941 in Gdansk, Poland. In March 1945 the family fled the Russian army. Met my wife Uta in Hamburg and as she is South African, I followed her home. We live in Cape Town, have 3 children, and 2 wonderful grandchildren. I established an Engineering company and since its sale, I enjoy walking Caminos. I have recently completed my book 'Journey of a Stickman'.

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