My, Myself, and Nature

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I sit here on our deck at the first flush of morning and watch the magnificent view before me. I am immediately reminded of a poem entitled Walking Westward in the Morning by an Indonesian prose poet named Sapardi Djoko Damono. I stare at the rustling rain-ridden tree and watch as the sun lazily emerges from the clouds, the weather looks happy again. The sky now has turned bright blue where the sun has worked its magic and grace, and is shining its light upon the Tasmanian landscape.

It is now warm but breezy with a tinge of chill. I feel like walking westward in the morning and so the verses of Domono’s poem come flooding to my mind: Walking in the morning the sun follows me from behind. Domono writes. “Walking, I follow my drawn-out shadow before, the sun and I don’t argue about which one of us creates the shadow, the shadow and I don’t argue about which one of us must lead the way..”

I take a walk and retreat into the bush. It is my panacea.

I have never been “a big city” kind of girl nor have I ever loved living in big cities. To me cities are fast-paced, crowded, noisy, and polluted.  I see life in the city as stressful with the noises of hooting cars, angry drivers, and throngs of people making their way through the crowds. It is like a rat-race and we are trapped in the centre of it.

In the city we are consumed with this culture of discontent. We are always in discontent with our possessions, always wanting something bigger, better, and more! We are always on the go, where there is no time to wind down or even think and reflect on life. This is why a city life and I are incompatible. We are ill-suited for one another.

This however does not mean that I avoid the city entirely, I can still draw out some pleasure from the city, but I find life in the wilderness or the country more appealing.

I want to talk about the latter.

I may be called a chronic romantic; a person who finds peace, love, and serenity in the natural surroundings. In Tasmania, where I reside, wilderness is at my door and so the power and meaning of place digs in.  Land and place is sacred to me as it is to Indigenous Australians. There is this spiritual connection with the land, the wilderness and then there is me. This connection fuels my happiness and sense of fulfillment.

Into the wilderness I want to find something certain, is a long way from into the wilderness I am certain to find something. In wilderness I am constantly searching, searching for something.

On my walk I find an isolated bench in the bush. I sit down and look at the vast expanse of sea. I stare at the beautiful shades of light which make for quite a delicious evening. I can hear the faint chirping of the birds on a nearby tree. Nature hums to me with its magic. I can feel the stickiness between my fingers-remnant icing from the warm buns I ate at the local café.  I sit and let the beauty sink in.

Written on hand made paper I read a favourite quote by Thich Nhat Hanh: Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is a wonderful moment. I feel like dozing off on the bench with a smile plastered on my face. A wonderful moment lost in the bush.

It is just me, myself, and nature. An unspoken bond we have.

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