Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Big Empty

Sometimes you just want to feel the emptiness and hollowness of the natural world, just let it sweep over you and through you, the sound of the wind, the lapping of waves, the call of birds, the smell of living and dying.  There is nothing more beautiful and terrifying than external nature.  Inner nature, that's another thing.

I went to the coastal marshes and swamps and savannas yesterday.  It was a spooky, lovely mess.  I used to know the names of things, but I struggled yesterday to recall them.  Limpkins and gallinules escaped my nomenclature, or rather my nomenclature failed them.  Egrets and herons were easy as were the spoonbills.  Marsh rabbits and giant bores and alligators, of course.  Hawks but no eagles.  Mangroves and rivers of grass.  The big empty.

Afterwards, there was the returning to things, the retreat from nature, making dinner and listening to music and sleeping in my own bed.  But the hollowness stays, the lonesome sounds that keep whispering something I can't quite hear.  It seemed I was standing on the edge of space ready for the bigger, deeper void.  It seemed a step away.

People like noise.  It is a distraction from the big emptiness, from our puny insignificance.  It would be terrible, perhaps, to go out into all that. . . all that.  But it is there, still, in ever-shrinking places, lovely and too fragile.

It is going, going. . . .

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