~ 4 min read, publishedPublished 16 September 2018 19:10 - Updated 7 October 2018 01:53 (86 views)
You observe the weeds stretching along meandering roads from one desolate town to the next because you love the challenge of precipitous hills and entwining passes, pouring rain, whipping wind, and blinding snow. You love the feeling of trembling knees and aching arms, because you know that true relaxation can only be achieved after great fatigue. Where two roads diverge, you make the choice that leads you to a snow covered clearing speckled with stones etched with insufficient compliments, desperate pleas, and hopeful promises that are barely discernable behind wispy moss. Here and there, traces of snow angels formed earlier are slowly eroding due to the relentless wind that races down the hill, like an invisible avalanche, threatening to tear trees up by their roots as they desperately cling to the mountainside. It is the kind of weather you would normally endure between four thick walls, under a tight roof, in front of a burning hearth, with your hands wrapped around a cup of hot mulled wine filled with raisins and almonds while listening to the wind colliding against the window, making the glass rattle, but, right now, you want to know what it means to be alive.
You want to feel the biting wind against your face that forces you to squeeze your eyes shut as it brings snow crystals to your bare skin, where they quickly melt and sail down your cheeks. You want to see proof that you are part of the world from which you have become alienated due to leading a busy, urban life obsessed with material things. The proof comes in the shape of healthy, red cheeks and fingers so cold they feel burning hot, and a runny nose that forces you to sniff, making the nostril walls momentarily stick together. In the wind, the green, eerie aurora wavers like a shining curtain caught in a powerful storm, stretching out among the countless, sparkling stars. The snow appears green under the mysterious phenomenon covering the sky, and in the distance, owls are hooting contentedly.
It is curious that this is the place where you feel truly alive, on this clearing covered with raised stones, but you know that life is impossible without death. For every death, a newborn arrives into the world, a newborn whose first breath fills tiny lungs with air that is pressed out to produce brave cries that awaken the spring flowers and command them to break winter’s frozen grip and reach for the sun and the core of the planet simultaneously. For every new member of the graveyard on which you stand, a tiny human opens its eyes, eyes incredibly wide, as if to better take in the world’s wonders all at once. You love watching the seasons come and go; the changes brought on as a consequence of the tilt of the axis relative to the planet’s orbit. You study the seasons’ association with birth, life, decrepitude, death, and then rebirth. You observe the green leaves turn yellow and red, and you love watching them sail to the ground and the rustling noise they make as you saunter about in the world, but, when the trees redress, you realize that that is equally wonderful.
You do not always have to look to appreciate the wonders found in nature. Sometimes, you are content to simply be there, with your eyes closed, and feel the cold winter wind against your skin, the gentle touch of moonlight, then the soft caress of sunlight and the tepid spring breeze that brings the smell of lush grass to your attention. Instead of watching the squirrels scurry about, looking for food, you focus on the sound of their busy feet against the thawing ground and the flutter of birds in the distance. You thrive in the bliss found in exploring nature with all of your senses – not just sight, but also touch, smell, hearing, and taste, and it does not stop there. As you stand there, surrounded by the blinding light of the sun, feeling the wind against your skin, listening to the critters in the distance as the tastable aroma of nature surrounds you, you realize that without the aid of any of your senses, you can cast your thoughts over unconquerable mountains, across the vast seas, over the frothy clouds and to the edge of the infinite universe. In the grand scheme of things, you are insignificant, yet you are equipped with the tools needed to deal with the myriad of impending experiences, to rejoice in the innumerable feelings there are to be experienced, awaiting you out there in the world, and it all starts right here, right now, today. Sometimes, life seems too short, while other times too long, but it is the fact that it is temporary that makes it precious, so make the most of it and treat today like you would the last day of your life.