I Took a Walk

I tried to clear my head today. I put a notebook, some pens, and a bottle of water in my backpack, then I walked 15 miles. At the edge of the Pacific I considered continuing into the ocean because I wanted to. Instead I stood on a pier with people fishing and tried to spot the alleys in Beijing 6,000 miles away where I’d been clear headed once. It was cloudy so I couldn’t see them. A sickly green surf crashed on the rocks below, reminding me of late nights on the deck of a ship in the Caribbean, staring into swirling azul, thinking nothing.

Thoughts are chronic diseases. I’ve had thoughts for years. They’re like tapeworms, but they live in the skull and suffocate the soul. Sometimes, writhing, they cause the host extraordinary pain. Thoughts devestate. Unfortunately we do not yet have a cure for thinking, and the research is not promising. Meditation holds some promise, but meditation forces patients to acknowlege that they are, in fact, human beings made of blood and water that need to breathe and poo. Few humans like to acknowledge that they are human.

I’d like to be thoughtless. Absent worries and dreams, thoughtless moments mean something. Often my mind races to far away places. I wonder what it’s like there — wherever it goes — without the ocean spraying its face or the wind flinging its hair to the side. No children squealing when the bells at the ends of their fishing rods jingle. No piles of dead fish that smell like dead fish sitting in styrofoam coolers next to old men dressed to captain whaling ships. No conversations — half-laughed, half-yelled — in Mandarin and Spanish and English. No tastes of salt or shrimp on the air.

A mind full of thoughts has no time for any of that, I suppose. I thought maybe it would if we took a nice walk, but not this time. I think I’ll try again next week.

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