You’ve got to stop holding your breath sometime.
The air is too… thick here. With the multitudes fighting for space. Fighting to be seen, to be heard. To feel like they matter.
There isn’t anywhere you can go to escape them, not even outside in the ‘National Forest.’ No matter where you go you can see houses and permanent signs of humanity. You even regularly see people or you hear them. Feet crunching on the gravel, bike tires disturbing the rocks. Laughter as they enjoy each other’s company in their time ‘outdoors.’
And you can hear the traffic from the dual carriageway just a few minutes walk away. The never-ending parade of cars, trucks and motorcycles hurtling down the road disturbing the peace you’re seeking. Whether you’re inside, or outside, you hear the tires eating up the distance and the engines grumbling as they propel their vehicles up the hill.
You can’t escape them in the woods with their permanent, travel worn paths of gravel and pavement. The official signposts and detritus from the disaffected youth and lazy walkers litter the area. There’s train tracks running through the forest that see very little use but take up so much space and add the possibility of danger to you and your four legged companions with their lack of structured timetable.
The woods open up to a man made field bordered by trees and a fence. Your companions can run freely here, as long as there aren’t others about. There are houses on all sides, their lightless windows ever watching the small ‘wild’ space. You can’t escape from people on a small island without traveling some distance by car, to areas where roads are dirt and only wide enough to fit your single, small vehicle.
You could try hiding in your house, one of those curious interconnected row houses that are ubiquitous to the area. It doesn’t give you the peace you seek. The quiet, the disconnectedness you desire. Your home starts to feel like a prison, rooms and walls that aren’t thick enough to block out the sounds of your neighbors.
You start to crave altitude.
The ability to be above your world and look down at the tiny people living their lives. To be in awe of the earth and reminded that you are just one small part of a whole. That everything is connected. That everything is real, very few things are important and that the world is beautiful. Even with all of it’s broken bits, it can be truly awesome in the traditional sense. Awe inspiring.
You want to touch the sky again.
To feel the rush of the wind in your face. Pushing you back on the ledge you are sitting on, the sky a riot of color playing across the clouds. You watch the sun set on the beautiful red rocks. The same red rocks you look at every day, so often that they became ordinary and just another part of the boring landscape of your life.
Becoming beautiful again because you took the time to consciously disengage from your frantic life and just be you. Sitting on the edge of the world, open sky before you. One small human being, on top of a plateau, watching the sun set. Absorbing the tranquility of that space in time. To be lost in the moment.
You want that. You need that. And you haven’t had it in so long that you can’t stop the tears from falling as you remember that perfect moment.
Then you laugh because of a completely human moment that day. Forgetting your car keys on the ledge of a plateau in the twilight. The scramble to find them by the light of your flip phone so you can make it down the mountain before full dark closes in.
The tightness in your throat eases a little, the yearning isn’t quite so insistent. You can go back on with your day.