I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the places on this beautiful planet that give me a true sense of self. The kind of place where just being there opens up a deep, hidden part of you and shows you your reflection. Suddenly you feel like you can breathe again; tension leaves your body and for a brief moment, your mind is clear. You are whole.
When I was young, that place for me was a field behind an abandoned school nearby my house. I’d walk there alone almost every day and sit in the grass to write my little poems in a notebook. When I got a little older, it was an old cemetery in the middle of the city. It might seem creepy to some, but nobody bothers you when you sit against a gravestone to sketch portraits of what the dead may have looked like. It’s quiet. It’s calm. It’s every shade of green and desperately beautiful.
When I think about now, well, things have changed. I have precious few opportunities to go and be alone somewhere in nature, to spend time where the wind rustles leaves overhead and the ground springs new life towards freckles of sunlight filtering through. I miss the days where I could set out on foot and discover some fresh little corner of paradise.
Walking in the thick, quiet woods of Cypress Hills last year gave me a sense of calm unlike anything else. Breathing in that fresh silent air and feeling the thick bed of needles soft under my feet was a gift. Listening to the wind whisper to some forgotten hill as the infinite sky swirls overhead helps brighten the senses.
When you lose the incessant hum of the electronics we use every day, the constant drone of traffic through the city, the scream of police sirens, the noisy neighbors, and the bright lights that blot out the stars in the night sky, you can focus inwardly. The turbulent waters of your mind begin to calm into a cool, peaceful little pool, the surface of which allows you to see your own reflection clearly once again.
Oh, how I want to be there. I can’t think in this city.