Current location: Sarria
Distance covered: 670 km
Distance to Santiago: 108 km
In my last job I was very lucky to have my own spacious office. As I spent most of my day between its four walls, I tried to decorate it a bit to my own taste. I posted some pictures on the walls from an old calendar featuring Japanese nature and everyday life scenes. Scenes of gorgeous Sakura, flowing waves of the sea, breathtaking mountain views, the hustle and bustle of little villages… I loved to glance at them and reminisce about my own year in the land of the Raising Sun.
I also heard from a friend that having a plant in the office helped to rest the eyes – suffice that you look at it for 30 seconds or so whenever you felt a bit tired from the glare of the computer. The green was meant to appease the tired eyes, perhaps tricking the brain into thinking the body was elsewhere, somewhere a bit more natural.
So I had 4 lovely plants, including some sort of larger tree-like potted one that seemed to especially do the trick when it came to looking for green comfort.
One such time that I was staring at the potted bit of nature, I felt amused by what was happening. I was sitting in a square man-made box (albeit beautiful and comfortable), five floors up from the ground, tiring my eyes out with two computer screens and staring at an amputated tree in order to restore normal vision. It all seemed so… Well, unnatural! Not horrible or unbearable, but simply silly and unnatural.
Thoreau says, a tad extremely: “When sometimes I am reminded that the mechanics and shopkeepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them—as if the legs were made to sit upon, and not to stand or walk upon—I think that they deserve some credit for not having all committed suicide long ago.”
Excerpt From: Henry David Thoreau. “Walking.”
I also felt uncomfortable with the proverbial cross-legged position…
I didn’t want a few leaves of green… I wanted the whole forest!… I wanted my feet to touch the ground and my eyes to have an un-obstructed view of the hills and the land and the freshness and the whole lot. A feast of green and a bucket full of fresh air! I wanted those blue and white waves from the Japanese print to hit my legs and surround me with creamy white bubbles, those fluffy clouds to march on above me, that undulating fresh breeze to envelop me.
I don’t know what’s right for the next person… But I sure knew what wasn’t working for me. And resting eyes for 30 seconds looking at a plant just wasn’t it.
Today, in the hills of Northern Spain I experienced the greenest greens since my trips to the Izu peninsula in Japan, near where I lived a few hears ago. The air was fresh, the cows were grazing, the sheep crossed the road, the chickens scratched the earth, the pilgrim stopped and smiled, the wine was delicious and the sun burned my skin. There may not be a pay check at the end of this road, but at least I am standing and walking. And that’s a bit more like it for me.