For some time now I have had the nagging “need” to get out of civilization. To get away from all the clutter that fills our lives. TV’s, Computers, Cell phones. Yes, even people. The more I listen to people, the more I become aware of how small they think. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t reckon myself to be better than anyone else, far from it. There are so many inspiring people out there, people that know what it means to really be alive, people with so much that we can learn.
Take George Atkinson for one. Only 17 and he has climbed all seven of the World’s highest peaks! C’mon, seriously? If that is not inspiring, I don’t know. Take Aron Ralston. This guy got stuck in the mountains, literally between a rock and a hard place. Watch 127 Hours to see this amazing story. What are we really capable of as humans? How far can we push ourselves for survival? Why is it then that so many people, millions and millions of us, on the globe is just “happy” to go along every day like donkeys? Why do we find it so hard to surrender to the urge we have to truly live?
A friend told me once: I would rather be a spectacular meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy permanent planet. The proper function for (wo)man is to live, not just exist.
Think about this for a second if you will. When last did to take time to stop, forget about time or dinner or deadlines, to appreciate a wonderful sunset? No two are the same and the best part… It is for free!!! When last did you take a walk to nowhere? A road you’ve never been on, a direction away from the norm, just walk and take a look at the wonder around you. Free your mind from everything and focus all your energy on the spider’s web with dew drops glistening in the morning sun. Appreciate the magnificent colour of the smallest little flower, growing carefree where your foot would have stepped. ARE YOU ALIVE OR MERELY EXISTING?
I’m rambling I know.
This weekend I was asked by a friend to tag along on a 2 day, 1 night camping excursion. I was a bit hesitant at first, with the weather not looking to good, but went along and boy I am glad I did. We laughed until we cried and yes, even cried until we laughed (That was when I tried to roll closer a rock to sit on next to the campfire, without realising that someone had just rolled it out of the fire. My left hand is covered in blisters!)
I witnessed a husband and wife team who have been running the place for a couple of years and who live solely off the land. Every morning he would go fishing while she tend to their garden, veggies, flowers, fynbos, you get the idea.
After brunch they set out to find firewood. Inevitably this leads to them walking the land for hours on end. Some days are better than others and they get back before noon. On other days, they only get back by 3pm. I tagged along on Sunday morning. We set out just after 11 and got back by about 2pm. On the way I became really thirsty and was cursing myself for not having thought about brining water. When they heard I was thirsty they walked to a grouping of plants and told me to come over and cup my hands. Ever so gently they tipped over the leaves and inside the little folds of the leaves, right where it meets the stem, were pools of dew, so cool and fresh and sweet. I’ve never tasted anything better or appreciated water more.
I wanted to ask about what satisfaction they got out of this routine, but soon found it was unnecessary. The sense of contentment that they share, those silent moments that sometimes drag into an hour or two, the joy at seeing the first puff of smoke coming from the fire, where you had to really work to put it together, the absolute pleasure they get out of eating potatoes that they grew, fish that they caught and drink water they collected from the previous days rain! The emotion shared by them is inexplicable, something to be witnessed to be appreciated.
Earlier in the week I had a discussion with T about Survivor. I said then that I would quite happily get stranded on an island with no running water, toilet or shelter. I could quite easily imagine myself setting off into no man’s land with a backpack and an axe. I think that it is there that we truly find ourselves. Find out what exactly we are made off, what we are capable off.
Maybe the weekend was not a good idea. Instead of thinking that something like that would be amazing, I now know that it would be life changing!