Steve Madewell

Pedestrian Ramblings

Nearly thirty years ago a friend of mine John Humpston was telling me about filling out his application to graduate from Ohio state. He had left the religious affiliation line blank and it was returned to him stamped incomplete, so he wrote in “pedestrian”. The admin types accepted that and John graduated. When he told me that story I decided that I wanted to be a pedestrian too. Since that time I have actually developed some fairly complex ideas associated with what it means to be a pedestrian. I spoke at the Bishops retreat for the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Ohio last winter, and shared some of my ideas about the Spirituality of Place and landscape. Basically I said you don’t get an idea of what is going on somewhere until you get out and walk, and you sure don’t know who you are if you don’t know something about where you are from. (I said a little more than that, like an hour and a half worth). Anyway the beauty of being a pedestrian is you can get to the lowest common denominator. I like that, it's slow but there are merits to that too. Being a reductionist of sorts I belief that there are three primary systems that interact that enable life as we know it. Energy flows (or cycles if you happen to believe that the universe is a closed system) water cycles and mineral cycles or geologic processes. I like to feel that I am interacting with these big systems. When I am standing in a stream of moving water, I feel like I am in the vortex of all three. The water is moving due to the effects of weather, the weather is the result of energy flows, and of course the moving water is eroding the rock on which I am standing. Of course fly fishing is the excuse that I predominately use to go stand in streams, and don’t get me wrong, fly fishing certainly has it’s own zen thing going on for me too, but fishing is not the end game. That is an interaction of mechanics and the merger or interactions of two worlds and one just happens to above the surface of the water and the other below it. But if the water isn’t moving it isn’t the same. It is not the big hit that I sometimes get from just being there in middle of the dynamic interaction between earth energy and water. If I get emails of interest either directly or posted on my little comments page I will share more of my thoughts on this. But mean while back to John Humpston. John had a sign in his bathroom that said “Preserve Wild Life Throw A Party!” I adopted that as a motto for too long too, like 25 years too long, and realized, there has got to be a better way to help animals! This kind of living is killing me. Who knows, maybe some day I will give up on being a pedestrian, but for right now I am still walking.