Panoramic Vision, Quails and the Sun
In my studies for a yoga therapist certification, I have been reading about the relationship between vision, the brain and the human trauma response in the body. Leaving out the bits about the eyes actually being part of the brain, the simple story is that close, focused vision (like portrait mode in a camera) is a stress response. Conversely a calming response is invoked by long distance (panoramic) vision. Some of the science behind this is discussed in an accessible way here.
It explains a lot about why walking in an open landscape with wrap around horizons is so restorative.
So on snowday afternoon this week, I took myself out for another little walk in the park.
The desert was Nguni cowhide dappled with patches of sparkling ,crystalline snow, squeaky and crunchy underfoot. Definitely dark glasses conditions with all that glittering light about.
For the most part, I could still see the rocks outlining the trail. It was clear no other humans had been this way on this day.
Snow keeps no secrets however, and I did encounter a lot of quail tracks crisscrossing my path like airplane flight paths.
I heard and saw the culprits too while I left my boot prints alongside them in places where I couldn't avoid trampling the beautiful snow.
Others with cloven hooves had been there too. Javelina? Maybe. A beautiful jackrabbit all long ears and smooth sinew bounded across the desert just ahead of me at one point as well, moving too fast to capture with my phone.
I found what I was there for.
The quail 8 mile marker (for the north to south direction), again rather weathered. If I hadn't known I was looking for a quail I might have puzzled over it though there was no shortage of live models of this particular image all around me.
I lunched at the Kettletop Overlook picnic table.
Then I turned around and retraced my steps north. Not having a shuttle companion, I am walking segments of this trail out and back, searching for all the mile markers and enjoying the restoration of walking in wide open spaces with panoramic far horizons.
For the south to north marker I found the 4 mile Zia sun/four directions symbol which has been much appropriated, even to being on the state of New Mexico flag.
I so often take myself out walking when my fire is low due to overcast skies. It's nice to know science has found a reason for my instinctive medicine.
Also it is somehow so appropriate that I find the Zia symbol on this sparkly, light filled, yet rare snowday when I just wanted to see the enchanted desert, so often hot, so often dry, respond to the magic of snow.
Windswept: walking the paths of trailblazing women by Annabel Abbs