Went out for a mid-morning walk today. Too late in the date as it is already hot and there is no shade along the route I chose. I have a number of walking paths around the farm, typically 1 to 3 miles in length. I especially like this mornings options because it's rare anyone else is down here and it lessens the likelihood I'll be expected to engage in civil conversation. If I'm out on a leisurely stroll chit chat doesn't bother me, but more often than not I'm trying to "up" my fitness level and really don't want to slow down if I don't have to.
I'm working on a book project like now and the time is spend exercising allows me to declutter my mind and make room for the words I need to get into the next chapter.
I've been thinking a lot lately about words and conversations. In the last ten years, these are two things that have evolved in many ways. So many are exchanged digitally in a virtual world. They have had great impact and can change the balance of power in nearly any relationship. But words on the screen don't always communicate intent and emotion. Sometimes a Facebook post can perfectly encapsulate the mood or feeling of a circumstance and sometimes they do just the opposite.
I find I've been craving the real words and conversations that seem to becoming a bit of a lost art. I want to sit around a long table and laughs and nosh with my friends and strangers alike. I want to engage in civil discourse. I want to giggle as the juice of a overripe peach dribbles down my chin. I want to watch the person next to me glow when they speak of their passions and see the enthusiasm in their eyes and their voice dribble out their mouths in the same way.
Those are things that were on my mind as I trudged out into the morning's heat in an effort to strengthen my legs, heart and back for the work ahead. I thought back to the conversations I enjoyed last weekend, when I was gathered with cherished friends. In a scenario that has repeated itself time and again, lately, talk turned to food, and then to diets and then to weight and weight loss. Every single time. There is no boundary for this topic. It spans all walks of life, socio-economic standard, male, female, conservation, liberal, gay, straight, rural, urban -- everyone has something to say.
And you know what? This breaks my heart.
My friends are of every level of education and wealth, they are entrepreneurs and business managers, they hold doctorates and raise kids and every day and in every way they make a difference in the world...in someone's world. And yet, rather than talking about the latest book they read, or what they heard in church that morning or even the glories of grandchildren we all end up talking about body weight.
Every. Single. Time.
So as I was walking down my lane today I wondered what would happen in the world if instead of turning the talk to our relationship to gravity, what if we brainstormed about how to feed the hungry, or how to get involved in the democratic process or even how to raise a teenager ... or three.
Our farm was broken out of sagebrush over 100 years ago. Several generations of farmers and sheep ranchers walked this path before I did. I've met their offspring. The people who created this ranch were focused, hardworking and steadfast. I can't imagine they had much time to worry about their pants size. They were busy raising sheep and cattle and kids and crops. It seems as technology has given us more efficient ways of working we've found less efficient way of spending our time and energy.