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The Joy of Serious Inquiry (after The Risk of Serious Inquiry by Denis Leri)

I went walking this morning with the echoes of Moshe's words in my mind.

The person becomes absorbed in sensing the diminishing muscular tonus, the deepening and the regularity of breathing, abdominal ease, and improved circulation in the expanding skin. The person senses his most primitive, consciously forgotten patterns and recalls the well-being of a growing young child. Elusive Obvious Ch9 p121

I was feeling echoes of the dissonance. The dissonace in our community throughout 2020, including bushfires, COVID-19, lockdown and unemployment stress, BLM protests in a pandemic, and re-visioning history.

Along the escarpment and down a steep track to the little gully floor. Watching my step carefully so that I didn't fall or slip in the damp conditions, not paying attention to much else. Then, as I reached the track at the bottom, I smelt it.

Badger, no wombat! That unmistakeable, strong, acrid smell. I experience a momentary 'spin' as I recall where I am, a re-orientation to place as, of course, I am in Australia not England. I immediately know what it's coming from as my nostrils orient me to the source of the odour.

I move on. A short distance along the track to the little stream, which is running gently with a sparkling sound. As I step out on the stepping stones a flurry of gentle splashing draws my visual and hearing attention and again I orient myself to where it is.

The sparkling water is rippled and, as I look deeper, I see a yabbie of quite a decent size. Dark, with shades of blue and stripes of almost orange on its pincers. Well, hello! I am delighted that the shallow water is clear and that it affords the yabbie's home. We are in rural suburbia after all. I stood straddling the stream for a little while before completing the crossing.

The track winds on and I hear the white cockatoos swirling and calling high above the trees, only catching sight of them occasionally. Then a medium-size bird calls out it's warning, I don't know what it is and can't see it. Then a small bird twitters nearby, still high in the trees but lower and I can see it flitting from branch to branch. Each sound causes me to turn, to find where it is and seek a glimpse and to perhaps learn more.

I scramble through the multiple trunks of a fallen tree. This tree came down in the recent winds and has now been down for some time. Then shortly after that I hear a scurry in the grass off to the left of the track as I pass by. The hairs on the nape of my neck rise and I turn. Snake? Lizard? Oh, I just stepped on a long stick, which had its end in the grass further away.

I turn and head for home, into the sun and feel its warmth on my skin. Ah, now I'm relaxing and the whirl of my thoughts settle. I begin to move towards resonance with myself. I notice that the rhythm of my walking is more satisfying. That natural andante of walking, as one of David Malouf's characters remarks.

The rhythm and the pulls and pushes of my pumping legs. My right achilles tendon is not happy. I check out how my thighs and butt are working, yes, powering, but my calf muscles are Missing In Action. The strain is going into the tendon. Aha! I know this feeling and recover my ability to activate clearly through the vector of my walking.

The sunlight catches drips falling from the trees in the little remnant forest. I stand and enjoy them for a while. Further on there is a cloud of moisture vapour, a mist caught in a strip of sunlight. God's fingers reaching to earth.

I reach the little stream again. What? It is cloudy – I check in to bring up the memory of the water quality when I crossed only half an hour ago. And its sound is different, somehow thicker. I peer up to where I last saw the yabbi, the water isn't clear enough to see it even if it is still there. And as I step across I realise that one of my stepping-stones is submerged. I wonder at the change in that short time probably brought on by a shower of rain somewhere on the ridge.

The wombat smell is still there but less pungent and more diffuse. I sense the light wind on the side of my face and neck. The breeze is blowing down the gully and I turn up hill for home feeling the comfort of the work of climbing.

Now to face the climb up the hill. Finding safe rocks from which I launch myself upwards, feeling the work of climbing in my body and through my breath. I stop occasionally to catch my breath and pay attention to the fine details of the moss, rock, the sandstone cliffs towering around me. I reflect on the length of time they have been here.

Catherine Hamber
13th June, 2020

You can find Denis Leri's articles here: www.semiophysics.com/SemioPhysics_Articles_risk_list.html

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