Cities now make me uneasy. The constant humming, the cheap talk, the exuberant waste of energy. They are a place saturated with constant bombardment of invasive stimuli – billboards, screens blabbering at gas pumps, airplanes roaring above. Prior to launching on the Three Rivers Expedition, how was I living in the center of it all? Was I sane? Or have I now become insane living on the edge of river banks? Choosing to dwell in places free from distractions spare the eagle jumping off a cottonwood or the campfire crackling.
When we separate from distractions we find space.
In this space, we discover new perspectives.
I now look at cities and towns as giant eddies on the river of life. The current seems to stop and swirl, keeping all held in stagnation and nonsense. Many of my friends live in cities. Many supplies I need are in cities. These gathering spaces hold necessity and other value, but does it feel like we have gone too far in a misguided direction?
City infrastructure is out of alignment with existing natural forces. In the name of progress, design becomes rushed, sloppy, and lazy. Mega box stores create dim chambers where advertisers toy with our senses while attempting to guide us into dependence. Cities have become tumors on the land – pulsing with unregulated growth – fueled by something not consistent with the natural flow.
Where is the harmony?
What is considered sacred anymore?
Where are the empowered souls stepping out of the mechanized crop rows and declaring no more to the status quo?
I confess I am a hypocrite. I lose hours scrolling on my phone made of materials mined on a massive scale. In town, I often overuse my vehicle. Sometimes I buy products that have too much plastic wrapping and food that supports land degradation (like any product containing palm oil).
But I am learning. And I am taking responsibility.
As I expand my awareness of the systems I am a part of and play into, I see I always have a choice. In every moment, I am empowered. Sure, I can bike those 5 miles instead of drive. Yes, I can remember my reusable bags on errands and purchase locally produced and ethically grown food. Indeed, today is the day I act on healing damaged relationships in my family and community.
When you see things from different perspectives your reality expands. You consider things from more angles. And once you experience or learn something, there’s no going back. Your life is forever changed. The next question is simple: what are you going to do about it?
-Michael “Brother Spectrum” Anderson