The wilderness is gathering all of its children back again – L. Cohen
For 5 days I walked among the life-giving trees in the virgin, evergreen¬†forests and dramatic coastlines of Tsitsikamma National Park. I frolicked around¬†the gushing network of waterfalls and rivers that have carved their way through¬†ravines to form fresh water pools, and I celebrated with the fragrant fynbos, flora¬†and fungi that sustain an intelligent network of harmonious life throughout this¬†special stretch of land.
I know that words if not used well, can demystify what is experienced as sacred.¬†Though I feel with even greater conviction that we cannot defend nature unless¬†we love it, and we cannot love it if we don‚Äôt experience it. I had stepped into a¬†mystical communion with the land; a land that is intact with pre-industrial¬†visions that offer solace and safety to the sorely troubled minds of a¬†disconnected culture.
I had come into nature to break. I had come to dissolve all the masks and¬†insincerities we gather and collect for ourselves. I had come to shatter and shed.¬†Within her deep and ancient colours that roll the universe together, I had come¬†to be reminded.
It is my intention to express an awe for the single living organism that is our¬†planet, our home where everything is so perfectly interconnected and every¬†single creature, from the tiny microbes in the soil to the predators of the oceans¬†and grasslands, relies on each other to function and thrive.
This body of work is a remembrance of love.
The Tsitsikamma landscape is hypnotic. I can feel it drawing me deeply into its¬†fractal patterns and crevices that repeat themselves throughout the cosmos. I¬†feel like I could continue to wander deeper and deeper into the earth with no¬†thoughts of returning, as if it was the most natural, primal thing in the world.
In the midst, the otherworldly landscape is made up of blue and emerald hues¬†and layers of alternating granite and quartz and form crystal-clear rock pools¬†bursting with a fascinating ecosystem of micro-creatures. The straight cut lines¬†of crystal that break the black granite reveal a cross-section of the earth‚Äôs¬†geological history, and I imagine how the earth has been pushed and rolled¬†together. I feel as though I have landed on some floating, gaseous planet; and I¬†am the only person inhabiting this world. I am a faint figure in the midst. My¬†identity, ego, past hurts and future hopes are all concealed.
I explore upstream from where a rushing river becomes a pristine black pool of¬†water, forming a canyon in the distance that calls me towards it. I swim between¬†the small opening and between two solid walls of rock. There are dragonflies and¬†butterflies the size of my hand. Wading between the narrow walls of rock ‚Äì¬†with its luminous moss and lush ferns that catch the trickles of fresh water¬†running off its edges – is something prehistoric. All around me life is reacting,¬†moving, evolving.
I slowly feel myself beginning to adapt and dissolve into my surroundings. I am¬†being brought to my senses and the aches and pains that niggled at me when I¬†first set off have begun to fade. I start to recognise this land as my home, and it¬†is as if I am returning to it after a thousand lifetimes in exile.
I remember sitting with myself on a rock right near to where the waves were¬†crashing. The water rushed over and between the rocks with such force and then¬†would rush off again like a vacuum. In this movement I felt the age and earth.
There was nothing to judge, nothing to say what was good or bad or even¬†beautiful, no concept of what is right and wrong, just an intuition that I was¬†looking at the most truthful thing in the world.
Confronted with the force of the natural world reveals an ancient wisdom that¬†has been accumulating over billions of years of evolving life. With this truth¬†resonating all around me, I had the distinct feeling that I had reached a realm¬†akin to paradise and a clarity that all the constructs of our modern lives, and the¬†dramas we play out over a foundationless stage built by concrete and comfort,¬†simply did not matter. I had all I needed. I had come home. I had connected with¬†the real nature of my own being.