Walk Around
Walk Around
28 - Overabundance

28 - Overabundance

Can overabundance be as harmful as scarcity?
A still from my sister Teal’s project, i dreamt i was my great great great great great great great great great grandparent (2024)


(Unedited—includes typos and run-on sentences)

As spring has gotten into gear around here, I've been noticing the general abundance of plant life, and weather, and birds, and social engagements—and it's got me reflecting on different kinds of abundance, overabundance, scarcity, relationships, community... From that corner of the human experience of consuming and creating the dynamic between those two aspects of our nature, you could say

And particularly with the dimensions of over and under abundance, or scarcity and overabundance.

There's a season for everything in life, as it's said, and my experience over the last eight to ten years or so was kind of a back and forth between a lot of abundance, and social connections, and a lot of scarcity.

And so I've gotten to learn the dynamic nature of what it feels like to have one or the other in cycles.

And it's reflected throughout the year too, in the summer and spring, there's a lot of energy, there's a lot of things going on, a lot of people putting time in to spend time together, and create things, do stuff

And then in the winter and fall, it's kind of more of a, can be more of a solitary time, except when people are gathering in smaller groups indoors, depending on where you live

And getting to know people where I live now, I've noticed that this season brings on an incredible abundance of so many things, in terms of the natural world and events

And it's interesting to note that if a person's system, or even a physical system isn't ready for a surge of growth and abundance, there can be a pressurized thing that occurs, where it doesn't feel good

It can be too much, and it can create some issues with heat, or inflammation, or something

Which is what a lot of things seasonally that are seen with people's allergies, kind of start to show in the spring

And it's not necessarily that it's abundance, it's more like there's just a profusion of new experiences after the earth was asleep for a while

Which is a form of abundance, and you could even say if the system isn't ready to handle all the new inputs, it just gets overloaded

And that you look to the liver, and how the liver processes all those new experiences, and sensations, and particles, and everything

And so it's always good to eat a lot of bitter things this time of year, to help the liver function more smoothly, you could say

Hay fever, it's like the heat is rising to the head, when it should remain maybe lower in the body

That's just my little interpretation

And I've read into some people recently, that I'm getting to know, who I think have struggled with overabundance, and I think many of us do

I think it's kind of a part of the culture we live in, when there's so much, there's so much to do, and it's almost impossible sometimes to choose

Every option seems so good, how do you choose? And so sometimes it's easy to just want to do it all, have it all

And it's destabilizing, in my experience, to have so many options

And so for me, I've had to become very clear about what's real and what's not

Having spent time in various parts of the country, and taking in the different cultures there, what I've realized is that a limit is actually a good thing

It helps refine what's really important, and what's healthy and what's good

And it's actually essential

Constraint, restraint, limits, these things are all very important, and they're actually part of the physical reality we inhabit

And limitlessness is not real, at least in the reality that I inhabit

I think that there has to be constraint and limit, and that's kind of embedded in the makeup of being a physical organism

There's only so much you can do every day, and so much you can process

And I think it's so important to remember that any type of exposure to experience has to be digested, whether it's travel or images or food

And so when I open my phone and pull up Instagram and consume 17 posts and three videos and five songs in an hour, where does all that go? It might just seem like, well, your nervous system sort of just encounters it and then moves on

But is that really the truth? What am I actually getting from that? And it's the same with social situations

What am I getting from tons of interactions with lots of different people in many different settings, going to lots of parties or whatever, which I haven't been doing

But I think that's why I'm reflecting on this, because I've gone to one or two, finally

And I've started to realize that I can only handle that many anyway

I guess I don't want it to seem like I'm trying to say anything about the way other people live or what they are going through or encountering

But it is a general struggle I've heard of for many people

And I think it disorients a person to have so many options all the time

And it actually requires work to turn away from them, to say no

And that takes effort too

It's kind of a difficult paradoxical situation or something

Catch-22? I don't know if I'm even using that right

And then also in every life, life has its season or whatever

Every experience has a time and place

There was a podcast I was listening to recently with Bob Quinn, who's an acupuncturist, bodyworker guy out of Portland

And he was talking with Michael Maxx on Geological about bringing presence into a room, like a patient treatment room, and bringing your full attention into that room and what that looks like

And he mentioned at some point, or Michael mentioned at some point, that sometimes you hear people say, well, bring your attention all the way out to the Milky Way

Go out like that far

And Michael would respond and say, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, I can't even think of this planet

That's just too much to encompass

And so how about we start with the room, with bringing presence into just this room? And I like that

I think that helps ground and feel a little bit more manageable

How about we look at just this one little corner with love, care, attention, and really examine what's in here

Wonder how small you can get and how deep you can go with looking into a tiny little pocket of experience, thought, something you remembered or processed

There's a practice I like to do when I can't sleep, or when I am falling asleep at night, where I go back through the day in my mind in reverse

And I physically kind of go through everything I saw and remembered

And I am always surprised that I can remember quite a bit, especially in my visual memory

I can remember certain details that are just strange

Like, why would I remember that? Like, I'm thinking now, yesterday, I rode my bike down on a trail that goes by the water with my friend Brendon to go to a boat launch party for a boat called the Tally Ho, which is, I think, a gaff cutter that just got restored by this guy who lives around here, named Leo

And he has a big, Leo Sampson, I think, he has a big boat project Instagram

And so he had a launch of the boat, which I missed, but I went to the party

And I was remembering back to the ride

And I remembered that I remember the whole bike ride

If I think about it, I can remember almost every detail of what I saw when I passed by that I had noticed

There's obviously things I didn't notice

But it's really strange to think like, oh, yeah, I crossed one of the roads next to the paper mill

And there was a guy with a black car

And he had a bag that had a brand on it, like Oakley or something

And he turned and he was walking towards the trail

And then he turned around quickly on his heel, like he'd forgotten something to go back to the car with the bag in his hand

And I was trying to figure out what he was doing, because it was pretty late in the evening

And he had muck boots on like he was going clamming or something

But it was almost dark

So it seemed a little funny, like he was up to something strange

And then further on the trail, there are two guys coming off of the shore is low tide with two bags that were similar

And maybe they were all meeting up

I wasn't really sure

And then further on, there was a couple people that I passed on the left side.

And I remember their expressions and kind of what they looked like

And then I remember looking out at the water and seeing a crane in the distance and seeing herons fishing in the twilight

There were two herons and it was almost dark and they were still fishing, which I thought was pretty impressive

And then I remember pulling into the boat yard and seeing a group of people in the distance and dragging my bike under the nautical flags that were roped around some sawhorses, leaning my bike up against one of the sawhorses

And in a couple of days, I probably won't remember much of this, but it's interesting to realize how much is in there, how much could be processed, how much could be gone through and understood and seen again, and how often I don't do that

And it's curious to think about how much there really is that I experience every day

There's so much abundance even in sitting and watching a view

There's so many things to look at and think about

I think that abundance is a kind of positivity

It's a positive outlook

I think it's dangerous, just as dangerous as negativity and scarcity

You can fall off a cliff on either side

And I think it's important to have restraint

And I'm learning more about that as I've encountered a super abundance of social connections in this place that I live

And I'm remembering that I'm, once again, as I said previously, I'm not really the most social person

I tend to pick out relationships that I want to invest in very deeply and have very few of them

But when there's a super abundance of relationships, it can be tricky to discern which ones are worth the time and effort and which ones are real and which aren't real

And it can be very painful, actually

Sometimes I think about the core relationships in my life and how I don't check in with those people as much as I should

And I look at myself and think, what am I doing? I'm surrounded by all these new people all the time and all these different places I've never been to

And I'm not sure what I'm doing

I'm not sure what I'm doing

I'm surrounded by all these new people all the time and all these different places I've moved

And I put a lot of energy into those relationships just because they're right in front of me

And then I move on and I don't talk to them very much or ever again

And the core relationships, they're sort of in the background of my mind

Yeah, I'll check in with them once every couple of weeks or something

And they don't live necessarily nearby, so it's harder to keep in touch

But they're the ones that really matter and then the ones that are going to last

And it's easy to constantly chase the new and to not honor the old

That's a problem in this culture

There's been a flicker, which you can probably hear in this little copse of trees below this rolling set of small rises

The flicker's been really shouting it out these last couple days, I think, probably establishing his area for the season

And it's a good thing to learn

I guess it's a good reminder of limits and effort

Well, thank you for listening.

Walk Around
Walk Around
We Are All A Part. Writing and recordings about nature, existence, and wildness—at three miles per hour.
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Hudson Gardner