How Can You Explore The World When You Have To Stay Home?

How Can You Explore The World When You Have To Stay Home?

Yesterday morning while I was out on the bike, I was thinking about what it’s like to living on congested and open space-poor Long Island. This is something I think about often because it is in direct contrast to most of my daydreams. They’re often filled with places that are expansive, majestic and lightly populated.

Here on Long Island there are no mountains, no long flowing rivers edged by gorgeous undulating roads. There are no legal dirt roads quietly wandering through the forest. No, this is the land of cramming a house or strip mall on every square inch of space, nightmare traffic, agitation, aggression and impatience. My current reality is often at odds with my fanciful imaginings.

But that’s okay.

At least that’s what I thought in my general contentment as the thump of my engine’s heart kept time. What if this was it? What if this is the only place I’ll live for the rest of my life? What if I am never able to travel away from here again? Would I still be able to fill my days with things that I enjoy? Would I still be able to see things that were beautiful?

So What Can I Do?

What can I do if I have to stay here on Long Island forever and ever -or- maybe just this weekend? Because really, what’s the difference when the goal is to enjoy every day? Tomorrow and forever are the same thing. I have to learn to explore the space I am in – my everyday space. After all, doesn’t it all boil down to me and the power of my mind? My imagination? My determination to enjoy life? I’m certain people have the power to be miserable in paradise and joyful in the gutter.

When everything is boring, ugly, same-old same-old, and I’m cranky and hate everything – isn’t that all within me? The world keeps turning and doing what it does without regard to my bad mood or my inability to see greatness in anything. The big, indifferent universe doesn’t change. The sun will rise and set whether I decide to show up and appreciate its beauty or not. Enjoyment and wonder aren’t spoon fed. It’s up to me to learn see the beautiful things hiding in plain sight. I just have to want to and I suspect that like anything else, it becomes more natural with practice.

If I am unable to find myself peering out at the grandeur of a rust colored canyon or staring up at the unforgiving snow-capped peaks of a mountain, what can I see that is beautiful here and now? That’s what I need to keep tasking myself with. Learn to surrender to beauty and possibility.

Slow down. Observe. Feel. See… everything.

5 Replies to “How Can You Explore The World When You Have To Stay Home?”

  1. Well said. I can certainly relate to what you have so beautifully articulated.

    It also seems to me that those who have learned the art of “surrendering to beauty and possibility” no matter where they find themselves are much happier and content than those who are incessantly in search of it outside themselves.

  2. Let’s say you and your loved ones were given the opportunity to just up and happily plop down in a li’l town amidst Colorado’s fourteeners or in the Southwest’s maze-like red rock canyons or somewhere foreign and exotic and simply perfect. What would you miss?

    What small patch of Long Island brown grass, so to speak, would appear greener and greener and greener the farther you got away?…

  3. I found this post very interesting having lived most of my life in East Setauket, and am now living in Lancaster, P.A. Often I think about riding out East where I used to work: Eastport, North Sea, Montauk, and never consider the traffic. Possibly because I used to be on the road at dawn. But having explored P.A., Maryland and Delaware backroads for the last 6 years by bike I forget what an amazing place this is to live. Thanks for reminding me.

    P.S. When I was a teenager the power lines and sandpits were like a dirtbike heaven, guess they don’t do that anymore?

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