2011 Streak Day 296: (Wednesday October 26th):Walk 3 miles, Time 1hr, Weather - sunny and bright
I regularly walk to past the parish church on the way to the park, sometimes I look at it sometimes it is just another part of the familiar landscape and I pay it scant attention.
Walking and running are like that - the mind can drift in and out and attention swings between the sharply focussed to the fuzzy. Sometimes on a familiar path you can drop into a reverie, snap out of it and, for a few moments, not be sure of where you are. “I don’t remember passing the bridge/building/bend/tree”, you say to yourself, spend the next few moments puzzling how you could have been so unobservant and then miss the next landmark.
Bridges puzzle me the most because there is such a transformation when you pass under them but I have been known to run a familiar section of the canal and lose count. That should not happen - my senses are meant to be alert!
It is an indication of my low level sporting mentality. The difference between me chugging along and a top sportsman is indicated by an anecdote of Jackie Stewart’s (related in the film about George Harrison, ‘Living in the material world’). Apparently when he raced his senses were incredibly heightened, so much so that he could remember an occasion when coming into a bend he smelt grass; instinctively he backed off, knowing there should be no fresh cut grass on a motor racing circuit, and avoided problems from an accident which had churned up a grassy area. To notice grass above the engine smells, whilst all his other senses were being bombarded meant he was completely and utterly in the moment.
I would love to have even a hint that such awareness was possible but sadly all I can say is that I have read about other people being ‘in the zone’ but have no recollection of it ever happening to me. All I get are little flashes of attention, like when I walked past these trees and realised, as if for the first time, how beautiful the colours were and what an exceptional month it had been.