Thursday, August 16, 2007

Field Notes

I'm motivated to write by my emotions, not fact or accuracy.  So please forgive me if I've sacrificed verity for a juicier story. I'm not fibbing. I'm simply sharing my truth as it feels. Enjoy my anecdotes for what they are, the big messy puddle I so enjoy wallowing in. Come on in, the water's fine!

The more time I find for my favorite leisures, the more grounded I become. I'm amazed and impressed with my ability and desire to do little and, consequently, more.

I spend a lot of time in the wilderness. Each day I take time to hike close to home or camp. But I won't carry a notebook or notepad with me. I’ll leave one on the house or cabin table, one by my bed, one on the kitchen counter, one in the car, even one in the outhouse at camp. But I won't carry one, no matter how small. My policy for my daily hikes is, if it does not fit in a pocket, I don't take it with me.

Oh, I know all about field notes. They are the notations those more diligent than me take to accurately chronicle a rare or unusual thing or event as it occurs in the field, getting as much of the description as possible at the spot of the sighting. Many field notes feature sketches or photographs with written detail. Some field notes include an opinion or interpretation by the observer. “Proper” field notes can be used as evidence and become part of history.

But I've come to live with the fact that I'm probably less than accurate when I relate a sighting or an event in my life. By the time I get back to paper and pen, sometimes hours, sometimes days, my emotions about the sighting have taken hold. I'm unable to distinguish the facts of the event from my emotionally-triggered imaginings.

Does this mean that much of my recalled life, while not total fiction, is liberally spiced up? Probably. My field notes are unreliable. But I would challenge that we're not accurate about anything we observe when we leave out the emotional impact that observation has on us.
So in the final stretch of sweet, sweet summer, before autumn envelopes us, throw away your notebooks, allow your emotions to run wild and imagine BIG.

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” ~Albert Einstein

"Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I'll meet you there.” ~Rumi