Archive for the ‘Hiking, trails’ Category

‘Reality’ TV

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Here we are, a Tuesday in May. In last week’s Tech Thursday, I wrote about a hike to Wolf Rock, in Stone Mountain State Park, that opened my eyes to the meaning and value of real experiences versus online ones.

That experience has become something of fulcrum for me now, as I look more deeply at what has true value for me. I’ve examined what experiences allow me to feel more fully human. (And it’s not computer ones.)

So today, a few more thoughts about what’s real and what really matters.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes about the Buddhist ideas of Perceived Reality versus Ultimate Reality. Most of the time, we go through our daily routines without much thought, taking care of our obligations, eating and talking with other people.

His Holiness explains the ancient Buddhist idea that what we see out of our visual window is just a skimming, a deformation, even, of reality.

Ultimate reality, the real real, is unseen. It’s the world behind the seen world. It’s a world of inner emotions, human mystery, needs and desires, suffering.

It’s so easy to get entangled in the seen world that we forget to pay attention to this invisible one.

That’s a metaphor for so much about our daily life: The “seen” world also describes the online, the television one, the film one. They are illusion. Sham, or shell.

As anyone knows, I am a huge fan of House M.D., Lost and the film director Krzysztof Kieslowski. Yet do I need to watch a DVD or TV program download every night? Do I need to sit through more Seinfeld reruns?

For every hour of broadcast television watched, expect 13 minutes of commercials. So when I watch a two-hour program, or when I sit down to watch news, then an hour of syndicated programs, an hour of regular programming or more (three-four hours of TV) — I have lost an hour of my life to commercials. An hour I will never have again.

We haven’t had cable tv for years, and sometimes, I must admit, I think how nice it would be to sit in front of Animal Planet, Discovery Channel or even SciFi to watch. Then I remind myself it is junk, ad after ad.

An illusion.

Isn’t peace what we’re really seeking — an engagement in something meaningful?

To be continued in tomorrow’s FD

Wildflower Mysteries

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

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Bluff Trail at Medoc Mountain State Park
Last weekend brought another exceptional hike to Medoc. In spring, the wildflowers are remarkable here. My mother and grandmother made pilgrimages here to see the wildflowers and now, I seem to be following in their hiking steps.

For me, wildflowers were always a mystery. I never could keep them straight, all those names floating around in my world, and unable to know which names go with which flowers. Or colors. Not to mention the Latin names.

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Jack-in-the-pulpit opened bloom
Again and again, I’d ask mom, When does bloodroot bloom? What’s the Latin name? (Sanguinaria canadensis) What’s a trout lily? What’s the elegant white flower that blooms in boggy places? You get the idea.

At long last, some of it has taken, well, root, in my mind. In the 11 years Greg and I have been hiking together, I’ve learned to recognize so many flowers, now. I still ask mom for help quite often, What does trailing arbutus look like? When does it bloom?

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Atamasco lily

So on Saturday, Greg and I were in Medoc again, and this time, we hiked the Bluff Trail. Within minutes, we found an expired moccasin flower bloom (pink), and then nearby, a blooming partridge berry. Bluets, yellow cinquefoils, wood sorrels. We saw two atamasco lilies, as well as mountain laurel in bloom. (In western North Carolina, atamaso lily also goes by the Native American name “Cullowhee.)

So in today’s Fiction Daily, it’s not fiction at all, just genuine images from our hike.

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Mountain laurel along the trail

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Jack-in-the-pulpit bloom by bridge

All photos by Marion Blackburn