Photos Wander

China Camp

February 16, 2017

Yesterday between rainstorms, the skies were wild. Clouds flocking together then fleeing, slipping toward the horizon or fanning up and away like wings. And the air was strangely warm. Put all that together with the fat palm trees and the long fishing pier at McNear’s Beach? It felt like Hawaii to me, so wonderful and strange.

I had been housebound all day, hunkered down working. It was satisfying but I didn’t know what to do after the work was done. I’ve finally accepted that flopping down in front of the television with snacks is rarely the cure for feeling tired. Eight times out of ten I end up feeling more cranky, more empty. As Brother David Steindl-Rast has said, the antidote for exhaustion is not necessarily rest — it is wholeheartedness.

The thing about wholeheartedness is that it likes to break our habits. In turn, breaking habits requires both careful listening and the courage to act on what we hear. Yesterday, for me, wholeheartedness meant being willing to trust my natural inclination to wander, even if it was almost dark and I didn’t have a clue where I might end up. (Does the word “wandering,” by itself, imply an unknown destination? Or at least an unknown path toward a desired end? Or might it be simply an attitude or tempo? All of those things. Any of them.)

This brief field trip to China Camp State Park — which was not at all in my mind when I left the house — was about heeding that call to go out: Not to distract myself but because something in me knew that to simultaneously settle down and perk up, I had to get out and let the world have its say.


About China Camp

History of China Camp

Audio interview with Frank Quan, who was the last surviving resident of the China Camp Village until he died last year at the age of ninety.

Photos Trains Wander

The Brown Line

January 7, 2017

Riding the Brown Line of the Chicago “L” system from Western to the Loop and back, in 10-degree winter weather.