Perceptions of Time and Space
A few days ago an interesting awareness occurred to me. I’ve been pondering it ever since (off and on), and I’m still not sure I’ve wrapped my head around it, but I’m going to take a stab at it.
I was leaving Leon and had been walking for most of the morning before I even began to leave the city behind me. After about four hours of walking I was out in more open country, but still next to a busy road. It was then that I heard the sound of a jet plane overhead. I looked up and realized that it was on final approach to the Leon airport. In maybe two minutes it would be on the ground. It had taken most of the morning for me to cover that same distance. The people in that plane were having a very different experience of time and space than I was having.
I’ve been walking for almost four weeks now. In that time I have not been in a motor vehicle. The speed at which I have been experiencing the world has never exceeded five or six kilometers per hour. And that feels normal. It feels “right”. It feels as if my sense of how I navigate in the world is shifting. I like taking my time – getting where I’m going when I get there – taking time to ponder things (deep and not so deep) – stopping to take photos just because something caught my attention. When I’m walking through a city I can easily (almost unconsciously) scan my surroundings in search of the next Camino marker. It feels so very different than approaching an unfamiliar destination in my truck at 70mph and worrying that I might miss an exit.
Moving at the speed of walking compresses the physical size of my world, and expands the ways in which I perceive and interact with that world. It really is a remarkable gift. I am curious how I will integrate all this into my life when I return home. But for now that is not my concern. All I need to do in this moment is relax, sleep, and get up in the morning to walk.
After composing and posting this reflection my friend Randy reminded me of a book that I once upon a time had on my bookshelf (who knows where it is now). I suspect that its premise was running around somewhere in my subconscious while I was writing this piece. Here is the quote that Randy shared with me. It seems a fitting addition to this pondering.
“Love has its speed. It is a spiritual speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed. It goes on in the depth of our life, whether we notice or not, at three miles an hour. It is the speed we walk and therefore the speed the love of God walks.” from “Three Mile An Hour God” by Kosuke Koyama