A metaphorical story:
I was a bona fide Girl Scout for 10 years. I spent every summer from age nine until I was seventeen, at Girl Scout camp. Camp Blue Bay was located on a beautiful stretch of land at the end of Long Island, near East Hampton (now home to the rich and famous). Back in the late sixties, East Hampton was a sleepy little fishing village with a penny candy store, a movie theater, grocery, a few bars and many bait & tackle shops. Blue Bay was situated directly on the beach bordering Gardiner’s Bay. The camp existed until about four years ago, when it was sold (probably to land developers–Boo Hoo).
Once you walked inland off the beach, camp was heavily wooded. All the paths through the woods from one unit (Tajars, Romany, Innisfree, and others) to the next and back to the dining hall, were light colored sand. Obviously as a youngster, flashlights were necessary. But at the years passed, the cool kids were the ones who didn’t need them.
If you walk through the woods at night with no light source, your eyes will become very accustomed to the dark. Even when there is no moon there is ambient light coming from the stars. In fact, even on the darkest of nights it is possible to walk swiftly and securely on paths through the woods without using a flashlight. Seeing the path is mixture of your eyes and your intuition and looking in the direction you are heading — never looking down — always trusting your feet.
What’s funny is that you can actually “see” and sense so much more this way, than you can if you use a light. In fact, if you turn on a flashlight you clearly illuminate a small round area — but the bigger picture goes completely dark and ceases to exist. You can no longer sense or see trees, the sky or people coming towards you until they step into your beam. Another cool fact — you don’t even hear as well, with the flashlight turned on.
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Eric Walker says
I really liked this. I can relate. So true both — physically, spiritually, literally and metaphorically.
Bob White says
Deborah – I love these exercises – will probably be doing an all-nighter of “free thought” – have a large stack of notebook paper waiting to be written on.
You have taken me back to my Boy Scout camp – Babcock-Hovey on east side of Seneca Lake – Finger Lakes in upstate NY – when I was initiated into the “Order Of The Arrow” we were individualy led into the woods with our backpacks and instructed to remain in solitude for 24 hours – part of being aware on our inner selves as well as observant of the world around us – thanks for bringing those memories of so long ago(age 13 I think) Deborah –
Alan Messegee says
Deborah, great story. I’ve had this exact same physical experience multiple times at scout camp as a scout and as an adult leader. Makes me think of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s advice to the young Luke Skywalker, “Use the force, Luke”. You’re points are true on so many levels, one of which is, the only way to move forward is to look forward, not down and not backwards.
Alan Eames says
Totally interesting story to me. I grew up on a farm in the midwest. One time I was out working the field on a tractor for my dad. Instead of turning the lights on as it got darker and darker, I left the lights off and my eyes grew accustomed and I could see what I was doing. I think I freaked my dad out, but he forgave me when he saw no damage was done. One of the “coolest” things was being able to see how hot the muffler was from the engine exhaust. Anyway, you’re right, our perceptions can be so much more that we normally think if we’re open to them. So, keep those perceptions open and follow your passion, and you will succeed. Great post! Thanks for writing it.
Steve Jackson says
Great story Deborah. It reminded me a simular story that I think I will blog about soon.
Morris Fisher says
your story brought so many memories back to me. Night rides on horseback with the kids from the city they where awestruck at the silence and what they could see and hear. When we spend so much time on the machine we really do not see or hear.