I couldn’t decide what was more beautiful, the silk waterfalls, montane forest and glaciated rock formations of Yosemite Valley, or the tears that they brought to my mother’s eyes.
How filled I was with rum and whiskey and how sad I felt – as we made our way along the moonlit pavements of Victoria – to see five grand deer stepping hesitantly across the concrete. Indeed, with my blood so heavily infected with liquor, the sorrow of the sight brought me close to tears. The city isn’t good for them – the deer – just as it isn’t for me. But we persist, for one reason or another, against our yearnings.
One day I hope for my instincts and my actions to immaculately align; one day I want to see these very five deer deep in the Island forest.
Martha Kennedy – writer, painter and ‘intensive’ traveller – wrote to me recently with a succinct, yet highly rewarding note:
I didn’t even know how to see at all until I hiked the same 3/4 mile uphill trail every day for a year in a landscape that people said, “there’s nothing there.” (Southern California chaparral) Fact is, everything was there and while in a certain sense I hiked the same trail every day, I never hiked the same trail twice.
I hiked in, through, around, over, into the same 5800 acre chaparral wilderness park nearly every day for over twenty years, but it started with one short, hard hike, nearly every day, for a year. I learned that even in the serest summer heat new flowers bloom in the chaparral and after just one good rain mushrooms spring up from ground that has gone from red to moss green. I learned that from the top of a mountain you can might look down on a rainbow and see it is a circle.
Though it may not be a validated decree, spider webs imply solitude; and solitude, for many walkers, is a sensation worth pursuing.
Do not shy away from the cobwebbed forest of rooted paths and ancient trees, for it’s likely that its isolation – accentuated by the tickling spider webs that caress your face – is just what you set out to find. And, whilst others may be deterred, your ease with the spiders will allow you to adventure on, through the forest, away from the voices and into a land as honest as they come.