In Groups

My most treasured memories seem different than others. They don’t usually involve other people. They are almost exclusively when I am someplace very remote and very alone. I might also add they always seem to be in cold places (correlation not causation).

The contract we have in the default world has many tenuous parts — fair work, fair pay, seventy years of life, safe streets, safe spaces, safe ideas. In the Far Away, you’re operating without a safety net and have to pay attention. Too close to an iceberg, and it might just flip over.

This need for deep awareness of your environment cleanses the system — it resets your brain, your senses, your reflexes. You notice so much more. You slow down (except when being chased by a Fur Seal). You consider your footfalls — do you really want to end the life of that 100,000 year old lichen colony? Is that a crevasse? Am I prepared if the weather changes? Mindfulness isn’t an app — it’s a way of life.

Yet, however dangerous The Far Away can be, it’s also equally beautiful and rewarding. Sit quietly at the North Pole and you’ll only hear the cracking of ice and the wind on your face. If you’re still, reindeer, penguins, & seals will often approach to within a few feet to check you out. Beauty is all around you — pods of whales surfacing between giant blue icebergs while lenticular clouds dance in pink Antarctic skies.

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