The Summits

We will remember within what walls we live, and understand that this level life has its summit…. and we have only to stand on the summit of our one hour to command an uninterrupted horizon.

H.D. “Thorough” (as I now properly pronounce it), “A Walk to Wachusett”

Last year, in April, we held a Transition Training guided by an experienced, trained facilitator. She worked with us for two days, from 9 to 5, with unbounded energy! At the end of the second day she and I were the last ones left, packing up, when suddenly she confessed that she was horribly thirsty.

That day she had forgotten to bring her reusable water bottle, and though she had drunk at lunch from the reusable cups I had provided, she hadn’t drunk anything since then. The reusable cups and my own water bottle had already been removed.

Worried that she would faint, I came with her to the desk to ask for a water fountain and from there on to where they directed us. It was one of those tap fountains. Next to it stood a stack of tiny paper cups. You know, the ones with the pastel flowers and the inside layer of plastic which makes them virtually non-recyclable.

She looked at it and said, “I’ll drink when I get home.”

Home was over an hour’s drive away.

I said, “But Tina, you have to drink!”

She smiled and shook her head. “I’ll be alright!”

And she was.

I didn’t understand back then, but now I do. Now I couldn’t drink from that cup either.

I think activism has done that for/to me. Going public, face to face, with one’s principles, sticking one’s neck out, has made some of these  issues (like the throwaway cup) clearer, simpler, and so easier to deal with.

Other principles (like vegetarianism, hunting), it has thrown into question and confusion. Those I was  never really clear on, of course, but I may have thought I was. Now that I am more conscious of their praxis and because I practice them out there now, I have started the thought process and until I am clear on them, I will not so easily proclaim them anymore.

Standing up for one’s principles in public – training, speaking, meeting, etc. – throws up those summits Thoreau wrote about, from which we can get an overview of the landscape of our level lives. Only I would add that the landscape changes constantly, that we need to climb those summits more than once, to keep us honest and aware.

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