I should be out taking a walk right now, or riding my bike, but since I just poured myself another glass of ersatz Mountain Dew (Fountain Mist, by Soda Stream), I figured I'd spend a bit of time with the marmot.

Jack Baty is thinking about stepping away from "being online," and says,

Sometimes I take photos just to have something to share. Why do I do that? Photos should be for me, first.

I think it's wise to think about "being online." I do, from time to time, though mostly in connection with what is called "social media." I spend far more time in the marmot since I left the "big three," Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I don't think much about maintaining the marmot. It's just become a part of me now. I do wonder if it matters in any way to anyone besides me. I don't know.

But, as Jack feels about photos, the marmot is for me, first.

Photos are for me as well. But I enjoy sharing them. It's interesting, because the act of carrying a camera mediates how I see what's around me. If I carry the OM-1 with the 75-300mm zoom, I'm attending to birds, their sounds and movements, looking for a shot. Occasionally the landscape will grab me, and I'll pull out my phone. But I'm not paying a lot of attention to people. I say hello to the people and their dogs that I meet, of course. But I'm not looking for people. I walk to keep from becoming just utterly sedentary, but I carry the camera to look for birds.

Maybe I should walk to say hello to people?

Maybe it's wise to think about walking?

Steve Makovsky ponders the gravity of the current zeitgeist. I'm happy to report that I seem to be emerging from my cloud. Yesterday's Gyre post was a happy one.

I know we're in a great deal of trouble. More, perhaps, than most people understand. But I feel a bit as though I've come to acceptance. I'm recalling the things I learned during my "mid-life crisis," when my career and my marriage both failed; conventionally, the "two most important things you'll ever do."

I learned that all we ever really have are moments to live, and each other... in those moments. Because everything can be taken from you, even, or especially, "each other."

That existence, being, is the negation of nothingness. An affirmation. In effect, an act of faith. That we live on a razor's edge, in the tension between Heraclitus' "harmony of binding opposites," the yin and yang of faith and fear.

And confusion about "free will" notwithstanding, we do get to choose which aspect we embrace.

None of us is getting out of here alive. Many people, as I write this, are living in profound uncertainty, with unbearable suffering, amidst unspeakable violence. About the most I can do for them right now is pray for peace.

I do embrace gratitude. I do appreciate how fortunate I am, and how undeserving I am of my good fortune, and how quickly it might change. Everything can be taken from you. Ultimately, it will be. Being afraid doesn't change that.

I recall a little Buddhist parable about a monk being pursued by a tiger. The monk reaches a cliff and there's nowhere else left to run. He leaps and grabs a tree or a root growing from the side of the cliff. Above, the tiger. Below, the rocks. There, growing from the side of the cliff is a strawberry.

The monk eats the strawberry.

I'm enjoying my strawberry.

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 09:33 Sunday, 5 November 2023