Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Quote d’jour

Practically speaking, a life that is vowed to simplicity, appropriate boldness, good humor, gratitude, unstinting work and play, and lots of walking brings us close to the actual existing world and its wholeness.
— Gary Snyder, quoted in The Little Zen Book
Hard-core fans of Jack Kerouac will remember that Snyder (called Japhy in The Dhrama Bums) introduced Jack to Buddhism. That tradition informed Kerouac's writing from Bums through the end of his life — when Buddhism became intwined with his natal Catholocism.

Synder also helped Kerouac get his job as a fire look-out on a local mountain, an experience recorded both in Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels. I suspect Jack might still be with us if he had stayed on that mountain. For one thing, he had limited access to booze.

Gary is still alive, one of the few survivors of the "Beat" generation. He continues to be a practicioner of Buddhism, and is a respected student of that discipline.

The phrase that stands out for me in Snyder's quote is "lots of walking." When I was a teenager, I walked everywhere — about 5 miles to a local mall, 7 miles to high school. Not because I had to, but because I enjoyed the time to myself. Gave me time to reflect. I also walked a lot during my college career — being sans vehicle for most of that time — and actually wrote some poetry in my head while walking.

Boy, I've got to start walking again!

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