The valley of trees
Sitting alone amidst the valley of trees, a certain emptiness permeates. The valley is hollow, and so when a gigantic wind begins to move through, echoes of its powerful current vibrate in every branch. That vast movement travels slowly, and just listening to its sound helps one perceive the immensity one is sitting in. Its sound is like that of an ancient mystical spirit, immense yet unattached. One’s body is so small in that vast movement, that the body seems to submerge in that wind, moving with it, in bliss and freedom.
There is also the sound of the woodpecker. It is quite subtle, and if one isn’t quiet enough, the sound might elude the ear. The woodpecker is a lone bird. It hunts alone. Because of its solitude, it is quite alert. You can try to approach it, but it will always spot you and fly away quickly to another tree, accompanied by short but delightful tweeting. Its pecking isn’t fast, but more calculated, as if there are not enough worms around.
Solitude is rare in the crowd, rarer still in the massive settlements made of concrete and steel. Everyday the echoes of our own mind radiates from the screen, the radio, or the net. Everything seems connected, yet also strangely segmented, walled, cut off. In our contradictory connectedness, our massive yet antagonistic travails, isolation begins to feel like a natural condition.
Solitude, however, never isolates. It forces you to be alert, to receive, to be open to all that happens. Solitude in the wild automatically heightens the senses, because the organism must do so in order to survive. Our senses have been dulled by our own chambers of information. We are no longer in touch, in a quite simple and literal sense. We seem to be only in touch with abstraction, with the constructed images of personality, with the abstract categories of objects, with theories and ideologies, with clever words and smart tactics. We are absorbed by our own thoughts, high on our own words, fascinated by our own constructions. No wonder humans are so proud of themselves. They see nothing other than themselves.
For a sensitive heart, isolation is quite literally impossible. Such a heart communes with all. A true community isn’t built upon an ideology or identity, but with minds that are alert and open, that listens and welcomes. Such a community isn’t exclusive, since it isn’t based on defining oneself against another. This is true inclusivity, not the empty words written on banners and political slogans.
Cover photo by Aman Upadhyay on Unsplash