Thursday, June 22, 2006

Vignette

I remember idyllic summers spent working at camp. I recall surroundings full of natural beauty. Acres of woodlands led to a bluff, which dropped off to a wide-pathed river, and the river flowed on to the Chesapeake Bay. I wandered those woods alone sometimes, confident in their safety. I loved to sit on the edge of the bluff, day or night, watching distant ships and sailboats navigate the river - commerce and pleasure mingling on the waterway. The night sky was worthy of every romantic description you've ever heard: the stars were diamonds sparkling against deep blue velvet; breathtaking in number; close enough to pluck from the sky.

Sitting alone in such surroundings feeds the farthest reaches of my soul, quells its deepest longings for the moment. It brings a serenity so powerful and personal that it is difficult to discuss it with others, even friends and lovers, because it gives a glimpse of my elemental, unencumbered, unguarded, unfettered self. I don't like to show that side of myself to others very often; it's too vulnerable, and I don't trust enough. So many people seem to have lost the capacity for this deep pleasure, and showing the face of it to someone who cannot understand can take it from pleasure to humiliation.

I have neglected this primal core all too readily as I have aged. I can count (and describe in detail) the few times I've felt this way in the last half-dozen years. It seems that it has become harder and harder to find a spot which allows for withdrawal from the goings-on of mankind. I was so rich back then, living in an open-air cabin, with no electricity or running water. I had a rickety dresser full of shorts and t-shirts and sweats, and a pair or two of flip-flops and sneakers. I had the same old dark brown sleeping bag I'd used since second grade. My prized possessions were a battery-powered lantern, a notebook and a camp sweatshirt. But I lived for the span of each summer on a spot any billionaire would have been proud to own, and it allowed for privacy, which is the greatest luxury of all in our teeming world.

I don't know whether or not it's possible to share such a moment with someone else. I have not. Having another person present seems to take me out of the elemental world. I become aware of myself, less free to be open.

Well, enought of this serious stuff. It's making Jane a Dull Girl. X my heart, next post will be in a lighter vein. Count on it!

6 comments:

PaxRomano said...

I get this...

Once in L.A., on Mulholland Drive on a balmy night, I stood and watched the city of angels glow below me. Behind me was a house that a wild party was going on in, before me was a city of a bazillion, and yet I found a spot that seemed quiet and peaceful. A full moon hung in the California sky...oh man, I remember it so well.

Another time in Boulder Colorado, with my best friend camping in the mountains. I woke at around three in the morning and went outside of the tent and the stars above me in the sky seemed close enough to touch...I remember thinking, "I could die now and be happy"...that blessed solitude.

And then of course, there is the sublime joy of taking a walk on a snowy winter's night where everything is muffled and you feel like the only person in the world...sigh, I get it.

Merci said...

Pax-
I'm glad you understand. Sometimes I think I'm too emotional about these things.

MissMagnoliaThunderpussy said...

As we grow older, it's nice to stay home, once and a while, playing Solitaire with our memories.

Personally, I've seen too much or know too much, the result being I'm the biggest cynic (sp) that ever walked but on occasion, there are flashes of a more innocent time. Of course darling, if anyone said I had a heart and was a nice person, I'd be forced to kill them.

Merci said...

Miss Magnolia-
Then I won't say it, but I can still think it! I know what is true ;)

Joey B. said...

I have a couple. Once, I was snowboarding in Utah, and there was 3.5 feet of new powder. It was like floating on a cloud. I fell at one point, looked up at the sky and did a snow angel, and couldn't stop smiling.

Another time, I was playing soccer in Brazil while it was raining. Suddenly, the sky opened up and a rainbow spread over the entire field. We stopped training for a couple minutes (Which is unheard of in Brazil).

Merci said...

joey b.-
I guess there really are miracles, after all :)