For half a year now, summer to winter, I have been walking-in-place. I do not use any form of motorized transportation. I walk or bicycle everywhere.
I thought about calling it “pedestrianism,” akin to vegetarianism. I like the inference of the common, the ordinary, the pedestrian. But the ism defeats that.
I toyed with being a “footman.” Archaically, that’s the guy who runs alongside his equestrian master. It places me in the tradition of my slave and serf ancestors. Today’s bondage is fear.
A footman is self-effacing. He bores-from-within. He takes the low road, a way which abjures and conceals. He plays a trick, an open secret. He plays the fool.
Walking-in-place is what I call it now. The phrase is fluid, though it is a stance. Unlike a peace march or an adventure trek, walking-in-place concentrates on context: this house, this neighborhood, this locale. I also find a paradox in the phrase. Walking-in-place looks like “running in place” — going nowhere with much ado. That’s a notion which counters the age’s shibboleth: progress. But perhaps, like sitting meditation, not-doing is the profoundest part of doing.
I feel like an addict, still in recovery. The addiction from which I am withdrawing is speed. Depending upon how the measure is taken, twenty-five to forty-five percent of energy use in the U.S. is for transportation. We indulge in the aggrandizing dreams of kings. It is a sweet, insidious hook that can no longer be ignored.
I resist, in the mode of aikido, by giving way. I forego easy access to exotic sights and fashionable scenes. I give up “the best” of all the things. The daily horizon contracts. Touch and smell and hearing come into greater play. The act of breathing is delight. Walking-in-place transcends pleasure for joy.
I have heard a call to walk, just walk, for a long time. But I flew instead to the four corners of the earth. After twenty-five years the call still remained. I answered it finally, a week before my father’s death. By dint of that circumstance, I began this practice from the residential metropolitan area where I grew up. I am thankful to be connected in this way to my father’s life force. He was a man who fought for justice.
But I am uncomfortable here in the city. Ever since I first saw the full magnificence of a starry sky, as a city kid at summer camp, I have sought open and green space. For much of my adulthood I have lived in the country. So it came as no surprise when, after several months within the city walls, my wife and I reached the point where we “just had to” get out.
We put our baby daughter into the bicycle trailer and huffed six hours to the nearest state park. We had a nice campfire, kicked around in the dry leaves, admired the stars, slept in the tent and — in the face of contrary winds and a darkening sky — biked back the next day.
It was hard.
It was dangerous.
I didn’t like being reminded that automobile drivers are made hasty by their machines. They anger at our biologic pace. They arrogate all the pavement to their right foot. They take chances with our lives for the sake of their outsize geometry. I didn’t like being reminded that, until our old age, death by accident is statistically most likely.
Nonetheless, the risk was overshadowed by something else we saw on that trip. Alongside the road, at four or five mile intervals, large telephone poles had been newly erected. Atop each one sat bright yellow sirens. They were labeled with the innocent triangle and the innocuous logo, “Civil Defense.”
I gave obeisance to spruce. I asked forgiveness of copper ore.
I fear that the men who put the sirens there know more than that they were just doing a job. I also pray that they know more.
In the air, I hear condemnation for risking our baby’s life on a bicycle. In answer I point to the sirens, those pathetically named “security measures.”
I see a frightened people devoted to “conveniences” and to “safety first” (last and always). I grieve at the million little lies which hinge together the misnomers: “healthy economy” and “national defense.”
More stuff, more insulation, more barriers. From what? Death?
It comes to a choice of life over comfort, freedom over safety, process over property.
The air raid sirens are the nearest obscenity. Where’s the saw?
Let us say there is no saw. Nor even a stone ax. Let us say we are as desperate and as helpless as ever a naked human was.
Well then, we have teeth. We can beaver those sirens down.
I resonate to such a call. I would like to take a direct hand in destroying these machines designed to commit the most heinous of crimes against humanity. I would risk long incarceration simply to decommission one monster. In these times, there is disgrace in not spending some time in jail.
But I withhold, for the time being, from such attack. I employ a gentle pressure. I keep an eye on myself and how I walk-in-place with wife and child. I look for the bomb within and try to ease it out.
There are many tactics. We need to have many people trying all of the ones based on love, a love both universal and specific.
We need the abolitionist thunder. The crude, blunt hammers should be denting those warheads of the finest spun carbon. The hammers are breathing the spirit of the trumpets at Jericho.
We need, toward all institutions of power, an attitude of malign neglect. The government’s law allows for the obliteration of the entire planet. The economy’s rules allow for barren money to generate more money; they call it making interest. The military’s regulations demand blind obedience to maximum violence. These are the status quo. We need to actively shun them. They should be regarded with the deepest shame.
Probably most of all we need what Gandhi called his “constructive program.” For him, this meant village reconstruction, agrarianism, land reform, revivification of local handcrafts, daily “bread labor,” and much more. Extending his vision to our situation, I think it would include such things as the replacement of consumerism with an ethic of engagement; and conversely, decreased industrial production. Gandhi lamented that he did not stress this “constructive program” more than he had encouraged civil disobedience.
In choosing my tactics I trust my spirit to lead me. I listen to its embodiment — my legs, my heart, my lungs. They tell me now, by walking-in-place, that I am paying a fair price. We have plenty of work, real work, to look forward to.
Of course I keep weighing things out. Studies show, for example, that regular commuter bicyclists have cleaner lungs than their sedentary motorist counterparts — even in heavy traffic. Higher respiratory rates process pollutants better. Unfortunately, this is not saying much.
I am not a kamikaze. Studies show, a further example, that a conscientious adult bicyclist, trained in effective cycling techniques, has a per-mile accident rate about the same as motorists. In terms of a per-hour rate, the competent bicyclist is, of course, several times safer.
I have not seen studies which show the accident rate for the pedestrian population in a bicycle-oriented society. Certainly, bicycles usurp and disrupt much less than any motorized vehicle. As a pedestrian, I demand more bicycles.
But ultimately I bicycle as a compromise to the exigencies of this big land with its culture flung out. Furthermore I gladly admit to the juvenile urge to accelerate at a cadence of eighty r.p.m. in eighteen gearspeeds. My dreams include the archetype of flying by my own power — which I do in the sky which begins at my feet.
On balance, though, I’d rather walk. The bicycle constrains my muscles to act like an assembly line. It provides great aerobics, yes, and bottom-heavy muscles. But there is little balance involved — the wheels are gyroscopes shortly after take-off. Development of coordination and flexibility is practically nil. It is much fuller, more rounded, to simply saunter — and there is no machine.
As pedestrians, we greet strangers face-to-face. Here in the city, serendipitous hellos are antidotes to pervasive paranoia. We reach beyond caste and pay more attention to the blades of grass at our feet.
We joined the nearest food co-op. It is organized and directed by retired old folks — flag-waving patriots and anti-big-government conservatives. At the annual shareholders’ meeting, I moved to delete the closing Pledge of Allegiance. Of course the motion failed, but we were joined by a few others in altering the previous unanimity of the decision.
Since I am physically grounded in this neighborhood, I must make my stand here. As is my wont whenever the pledge or the anthem is demanded, I remained seated and silent. Though some were hostile, they allowed that it is a “free country” and we have remained friends.
The incident pointed up that it is not a victory we seek. Victors require losers. Those proud pledgers are acting, just as we, for love. That we are in battle is without doubt. But the aim is a common goal — survival. It requires the mathematics of win-win, elusive and new.
This is where the slogan, “If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem” holds. This is what Gandhi’s “constructive program” speaks to. This is where we must abandon the superficial syndrome of “if it feels good, do it.”
For several years now my family has managed — rather too easily, it must be admitted — to stay below the official “poverty level.” Of course, we do not use state welfare. Unfortunately, at such an income level, we lose the privilege of refusing to pay the federal income tax, nearly two-thirds of which goes to war.
We have been migrants, planting gardens in one place and harvesting in others. We knit and sew. We forage and hunt. We put up foods when abundant. We use mail order, thrift stores, and factory seconds. We study basic pediatrics. We floss and brush with baking soda. Rarely we visit family health and dental clinics.
In formal or informal exchange for shelter and sometimes food, we have worked in agriculture, chopped firewood, built a wooden yurt, made household repairs, and volunteered in a soup kitchen. Money has come from building a garden wall, being firetower lookouts, catering a large meal, selling a few handcrafts, and writing an article. I have learned recently to weld in order to take a hand in building the recumbent bicycles we use.
We realize that all of this is, in part, the privilege of living in a rich and wastrel land. It is also, in part, the legacy of the class and education into which we were born. Most importantly, though, it is the development of a network, a nationwide community of people, devoted to helping one another and to “building the new within the shell of the old.”
I am intrigued with how walking-in-place is changing the way in which we have been living. As a place to begin, this city neighborhood is easy. The population is dense, middle-to-poor and old. All the necessities for sustenance are near at hand — for a price. Our priorities become based on distance. It is a pleasant surprise, not as obvious as I would have supposed: by doing less, we “save” time. It is a rich life, in time.
But urbanity runs on money. An abstraction, Mammon, rules. The tool of exchange in the metropolis is the tool of life. We are holed up here, overwintering as house-sitters and family guests. We work and play largely indoors. Come warm weather, we intend to return to rural dirt. As our daughter gets to her feet we want to avoid crossing so many streets. It may be a couple of thousand miles to our destination. I hope to convince my wife to accompany me with backpack and cart or bicycle and trailer. But she and daughter may motor on ahead.
The observation has been made that the bicycle is an appropriate conveyance for a five-mile radius of flat terrain with well-paved roads. At moderate pace, such a commute would be, round trip, under an hour. For someone who wants to live beyond road’s end, the implication is obvious — walk.
I have a friend living in rural Maine who walks-in-place. He says he doesn’t “get around” much. He recently took his first automobile ride in three years — to the hospital as the victim of the automobile that hit him while he bicycled. He asked me not to be sorry for him, but for the driver.
I don’t know what lies ahead for us on this non-motorized path. In the past years we have lived in several remote situations, using two feet or canoe. But once at the roads we always had access to a bicycle or a friend’s vehicle. Cross-country, we drove “driveaway service” cars, hitchhiked or used public transport. Significantly, the last was viable rurally only in the Philippines, when we were in the Peace Corps.
I am in no way free of the itch to move. To explore is to be alive. I love to seek the edge, any edge! It’s a good thing I live on a sphere.
I want to extend the limits of imagination, mine as well as others. It isn’t always fun. It wouldn’t be interesting if it were. But usually it is. It should be. One’s work should be engrossing. And large.
On the streets I am invisible, just another pedestrian or bicyclist. Peace marches and cross-country treks are much more dramatic. I’ll continue to do both from time to time, starting from my door.
It is the small step involving simple day-to-day decisions that most radically changes everything. On two legs or two wheels, I come up to people quietly. I move in near silence.
I listen to that silence. What I hear is the invisible roar within. It is the coursing of my bloodstream against the deaf dead din.
I have heard a call to walk, just walk, for a long time. But I flew instead to the four corners of the Earth. After twenty-five years the call still remained.
I occasionally irritate my wife by repeating that it is only one step after another to anywhere. Patagonia, for instance. She considers herself to be “walking mostly.” She compares our lifestyle to the predominant versions of the American dream and concludes we are doing well enough, low enough. We needn’t be extreme.
At Christmas I made a compromise. We motored eighteen hundred miles, round trip, to be with loved ones. To subdued consternation, I walked-in-place while there. The trip disrupted the continuity of steady footfall and pedals’ spin. Upon both arrivals — there and back here again — I was surprised at the shock of dislocation. I had grown accustomed to a different kind of quantum leap. Call it slow space.
I don’t deny that there are times I feel stuck in the mire, like a slug. This is intensified by all the fast and sleek around us. I remind myself that, actually, slugs do quite well in mire.
When we lived in the pedestrian village of the Negritos, six miles from the nearest road, our biweekly supply trips to town made us the fast-and-about. It is only proper for us now to slug along in the slow lane. It is time, after all, to clog things up.
I am not arguing with all of the modern age. There is this magazine, its printing and distribution. Our bicycles and backpacks use alloys developed for fighter jets. Our tent of nylon is a cousin of napalm. Our daily bread, homemade though it is, is intimately industrial.
We must consider the human travail and environmental degradation caused by the fabrication of whatever we use. The closer to home these things are made, the more palpable are the true costs involved. Perhaps that is why crude, handmade materials look and feel so cozy. They are close to home.
What we seek is balance and an enhanced ability to choose. The dichotomy of independence versus dependence is false. Thoreau built his cabin with nails and scrap lumber. Self-sufficiency includes relationship — whether it is the automobilist with the bicyclist or the hermit with the frog. Walking-in-place removes a layer and makes this constantly obvious.
Not least in the matter of relationship is the burden of history, the sins of the fathers, karma, destiny, just deserts.
A generation ago, some of us humans bore a “baby” in the Valley of the Dead. Code name was Trinity. Almost a score of generations ago, some of us humans caused some of us humans to name the island at which we first contacted each other, Manhattan — “the place at which we became intoxicated.” Appropriately, then, the aforementioned “baby” was born of the Manhattan Project.
Toward the end of his life, Gandhi counselled, “Have nothing to do with power.” The firewater dispensed at Manhattan has become thermonuclear. Old habits die hard. Each step, each step . . . one chooses.
So then. That seems simple enough. Just choose the good, the true and the beautiful. Choose the way which affirms life. Hm. That formula could be: work hard, hurt none, succeed to the good life — and end up using guard dogs. Could be: struggle for justice, speak kindly, seek peace — and die by the hand of an assassin. Could be: walk don’t ride, abjure power — and be a cipher. Or be a slave. Could be.
We could promote walking-in-place on the grounds that it would improve the quality of our environment. No doubt it is cleaner and quieter. As I saw in China, much greater densities of human population can be accommodated — without the feeling of crowding — just by eliminating noise, motors and speed.
Plenty of us humans, however, would gladly trade dirtier and noisier for a bit more to eat. It was not too long ago that such was the case right here. Just yesterday I visited, in the botanical gardens, the only old pine tree to have survived the coal dust of the city before 1940.
Perhaps this need not truly be the trade-off. But for many, especially in developing nations, it currently is.
The bastions of the privileged everywhere are notoriously sanitized and sedate. To the hungry, my walking-in-place probably appears luxuriously recondite.
In truth, I do not know. The world is beyond figuring. I rejoice at that. But as I do use my talents in simple direct ways — body to move, mind to think, spirit to soar — I find myself growing expansive and loose, as is the whole outdoors.
Encapsulated, effortless travel is too small for us. How could we have fallen for such a shill?
Ah! I become so quickly indignant. Sit-down travel is another of those princely fantasies in which some of our ancestors indulged. The burden of history is direct and heavy — sedan chairs, litters, palanquins and rickshaws. Bicycling itself might be seen as an updated version of galley slavery. Or, as an old guy sneered, “wearing out your legs to give your ass a ride.” I sometimes see it that way — when grinding against the wind or up an interminable hill.
What distinguishes the bicycle from the shackles of old is that one chooses to make the exertion for one’s own locomotion. The limiting factor of endurance provides protection against addiction. The truth of “no free lunch” is evident — no free ride.
The addictive hazard of passengerhood is great, but not insurmountable. We can illumine the danger and point one way out by taking a look at three disparate technologies: sunglasses, Mesoamerican toys, and wheelchairs.
Several decades ago, sunglasses were seen as an ugly device used only by the visually impaired. With a bit of marketing hoopla and selected snippets of science, we now find significant numbers of people who “can’t get along” in simple broad daylight without the things. We may pity their addiction, but these people have fully accommodated themselves to their crutches. As with all addicts, light is pain.
Perhaps the pre-Columbian Mesoamericans saw the light before the pain. I have never heard a satisfactory explanation as to why they used the wheel only for small clay items, usually described by archeologists as toys. Therefore I will make my own speculation. I will base it on the joy I find in swinging my arms and balancing my torso on two pendulum legs. Maybe the Aztecs and Mayans considered it joyless to cut one’s roots to Mother Earth. It may have been less than human to ride.
Although humans are often given short shrift in the annals of mammalian athletics, we are really quite remarkable creatures. In an all-mammalian decathlon, for instance, a human would probably win. Two factors would see us through: first, our well-known adaptability as long distance runners extraordinaire. Human legs are more highly developed than any other primate’s. That, in conjunction with hairlessness and the ability to sweat through all pores, provides humans the endurance to run down healthy deer.
To abandon this talent is to deny our heritage. Some may argue that we are here, not for our muscle power, but for our unique brain’s ability to defeat entropy. I would say we are here for both. Mind and body are one. To cut off our legs is to dehumanize ourselves.
Wheelchairs, then, might be seen as the only wheeled device — an unfortunate prosthesis — appropriate to a culture which values its lame. But a healthy two-legged probably wouldn’t be caught dead rolling anywhere.
I write this from behind a window as cars, trucks, buses and a few bicycles whiz by on a cool day. The scene is only a few decades old. It is said that throughout the world, pedestrian multitudes aspire to this scene. Even deep in the mountains of Luzon my hunter-gatherer friends have these dreams manufactured for them by their transistor radios. That doesn’t bother me.
The scene, and the dreams, will change — are changing. We don’t need edicts to abolish passengerhood.
There is no final solution. I pray we have learned that. Not anywhere.
It is the small step involving simple day-to-day decisions that most radically changes everything. On two legs or two wheels, I come up to people quietly. I move in near silence. I listen to the silence. What I hear is the invisible roar within. It is the coursing of my bloodstream against the deaf dead din.
I have been privileged to travel the world wide. Conversely, I have spent nearly a third of my adulthood in onerous relocation. Like most Americans, I have been an energy glutton — for miles. But it is neither travel weariness nor conservationist guilt that inclines me to abandon the auto, bus, ship, train, and plane. I remain thankful for those times and those things. This may seem contradictory, but so be it to the hobgoblins of small minds.
I will dethrone myself. I admit to a matter of style, as a boxer has a fighting style.
I look to the warrior culture of the mounted Plains Indians. One rare occasion, with a single solitary charging gallop into the midst of the massed enemy, the bravest warrior would literally throw his life away. Thereafter, for many moons, his compatriots would recount the details of his last ride. They would be ennobled by association and enabled by example. They would carry on the game of counting coup with a heightened sense of both pride and humility. The warrior did it with style.
The samurai also employed style as utility. After resorting to gunpowder to win a war against the firearms of the Koreans, they shut down their own competent gunsmiths and closed their islands for two hundred years. They successfully banned firearms, even for the state, as beneath the dignity of their highly evolved swordplay. Granted the samurai were protecting their class’s status against the crass egalitarianism of firearms. No matter. They chose against “inexorable” progress and they did it with an appeal to style.
So here I am, citing violent, mobilized warriors and oppressive, elite police — all the while professing to be a humble footman among the equestrian militarists. Indeed, here I am, an aristocrat.
I deign dissociate from the atrophied addicted. Let them exercise their fannies! I fight for and from the Earth, grounded. Let them slash their roots! I am lean and hungry. Let them bloat.
I renounce, furthermore, the uncivil discontinuity of “waiting-until-we-get-there.” I will not be waiting. I will be working, of my own accord, using oxygen, water, and calorie intake from annual sun power. I will not be waiting and, thus, there is no “there” to get to.
I will move in a way which infringes least on others. I will not waste the concentrate, anaerobically composted dinosaurs, when — by moving my own self — I can bring joy to all.
Thank you, TransWorld, but I am richer than you propose to make me. I have legs and I drink the open air.
Well. Harrumph. Now that I have exposed my queer snoot, we can consider more ponderous virtues. Like sacrifice: sacri-ficium, to make holy. On the fortieth anniversary of “Big Boy,” ten days before my own fortieth birthday, I walked with a group out of a synagogue to a city park pond. We placed floating candles upon the water. Since then, I have been making a little Hinayana sacrifice. I am on a world-girdling peace march, atoning and making holy, even as I walk in this place.
It is the element of denial which has caused the most discomfort to those around me. I am no longer available for entertainments hither and yon. Opportunities for visiting distant friends are curtailed. This runs against the grain of a culture which has taught us to scratch our every itch. Even walking-in-place may be my kneejerk to “Go For It!” But I must say that the anger of those who are discomfited by this practice is the result of cultural conditioning. It is their anger, and their thwarted expectations, with which they must deal.
Granted, this is no small point. I reassess it every day. It has much wider implications than interpersonal relationships.
The jails, for instance, are full of people whose cultural conditioning has been made mockery of. Many of them have only failed to “go for it” on a big enough scale. They are nickel-and-dimers. None of them made “Big Boy” or, as at Nagasaki, “Fat Man.”
International human rights organizations quibble over which country has the world’s highest per capita prison population: South Africa — or the United States.
The land of the free?
If not all, then how many?
There is much to atone. Walking-in-place is the least sacrifice I can make.
Throughout the ages, of course, walking men have waged terrible wars. Perhaps it is ironic that, despite the headlines — and coincident with the beginnings of nineteenth-century mechanized travel — the incidence of war has been declining. Henry Ford envisioned that his mass-produced automobile was the technology to engender world peace. I may be mistaken to revert to foot travel. But as a child of materialist “miracles,” I feel the need to reexamine them from the outside.
In any case, the severity of war has gone beyond all bounds. With walking wars, the males bloodlet, by and large, amongst themselves. Boys were boys, from Thermopylae to Antietam, trying the only way they knew to assuage excess testosterone. Even the Great War had civilian casualties of “only” five percent. In World War II the percentage grew to fifty.
Today one Trident submarine holds more firepower than has ever been exploded in all wars throughout all history. One boat.
There are no more civilians. None now at all.
So I make my choice. I know that the clean young men and women are buried with their clean, sleek machines in silo, cockpit, and submarine. I refuse to have them “serve,” to stand and wait, in my name.
I no longer partake of at least one of their enticements. I turn in my ticket to their universal passengerhood. For me they need not any longer “protect” the oil slick sea lanes.
But do not think I am dismissing evil. Every nation contains psychopaths who are willing to manipulate young men’s enjoyment of combat and who are capable, under favorable conditions, of inducing mass hysterical hatreds.
I believe that, with an iota of the current arms race budget, we can develop an unarmed, nonviolent civilian peace force. These women and men, of all ages and walks of life, would be capable of preventing or intervening in these recurrent human aberrations. Models are available; steps in this direction are begun. By walking-in-place I continue to unilaterally disarm myself and to enter as a “soldier” into this peace force.
Thus I am free to walk with a clear heart. I refuse to obey the moles who dig tunnels and set up sirens. If my vaporization by the Russians or anyone else is the result of walking in the open air, I gladly seek to so discorporate.
But I succumb to none. And I grin.
I began this path aware, in varying degree, of most of the foregoing. But the longer now that I walk this path, the more that clarifies itself to me.
In particular there are three qualities that have asserted themselves as paramount. The first of these is mindfulness.
After the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt observed that modern evil embodies itself in thoughtlessness. The Nazi executioners were banal, venal, and ordinary men. Ask them no questions and they would tell you no lies. They were “just doing a job that someone else would have done otherwise.”
In this U.S. of A., to choose metabolism over combustion is to elicit and demand mindfulness. The electronic and familial whisperings are seductive. Often the whisperings shout. It is a constant struggle to remember that it is a gift I am trying to deliver. The whisperings would have me believe that I am only smiting my face. They insist that the only real merit is to run what they see as the one legitimate version of the human race.
I will continue the experiment. The early results indicate increased mindfulness. That quality may be the crucial armor needed to wage the battle in which we are engaged.
The second quality I am finding heightened by use is intuition or spirit. It is my inner voice I follow. I feel a great strength gathering within myself and within many others. The strength arises from trust in that voice.
Whether walking-in-place is efficacious, only time will tell. We do not wear it as a Ghost Dancer’s cloak. I am not going to charge my bicycle into a Trident, nor into a Greyhound bus, nor into a VW Rabbit, nor even into a hypothetical photovoltaic Gerbil.
Despite my playful machismo, I do not grant moral superiority to walking-in-place. It is my voice, not yours, I hear.
With intuition, however, there is a rather predictable sequence available to any who listen and try. Faith begets hope. Hope begets strength. Enough strength begets letting go.
The third quality which grows and strengthens is compassion. It leads me to conclude that even if all the problems raised were solved today, I would continue walking-in-place.
I have seen the forested wildernesses filling up with people. The poor are seeking wild roots for bare subsistence. The rich are seeking respite from the roads they built to get them there.
I have seen gullied fields, barren hills, despoiled waters. The plow may have done more damage than the sword and grazing herds combined. The trend is toward a repeat of what happened to those who entered the ancient land of milk and honey: that is, desert and bedrock. Nature scurries for cover from the maws of thoughtlessness, dominion and greed. The industrial world treats the rest of life as if it were incorporeal fodder for a perpetual motion machine.
I choose instead to walk with coyote and with buffalo. I stand firm with oak tree and pine. I submit to sun, wind, and rain. I choose to tumble, in joy, with grains of sand and granite as they roll down into the sea.