August 18

Does it always have to be this way? That whatever used to make you happy ends up TORTURING you?

The full, warm feeling I used to get from the aliveness of nature, that had me drowning in happiness, that turned the world around me into paradise, has turned into this UNBEARABLE TORMENTOR, this HAUNTING GHOST, that follows me around wherever I go… I used to look out from the cliffs past the river all the way to the hills, over this whole fertile valley, and see everything budding and sprouting; I’d see those mountains covered from foot to peak with tall, thick trees, see those ravines with all their twists and turns dotted with those beautiful woods, and the gentle river flowing between the whispering reeds, reflecting the pretty clouds drifting up above in the gentle evening breeze… I’d hear the forest around me come to life with birdsong, while a thousand clouds of midges danced nimbly in the last red sunbeams, and that last glimmer of sun brought the beetles humming out of the grass…and the buzzing and whirring all around me made me look down at the ground, and I’d see the moss sucking its nutrients out of my cliffs and the broom growing up from the dry sandhills, proving how much hidden, glowing, sacred life-force there is under the earth — and I used to embrace that all so PASSIONATELY, I felt like a DEMIGOD, overflowing with this fullness, and I could feel all these magnificent creations of earth moving inside me mingling their life-force with mine. Stark precipices loomed around me, chasms opened at my feet, the rivers rushed below me, and the forests and the mountains rang out; and I could see all them all, all the subterranean forces kneading and spawning all together in the depths of the earth — and now look at the earth and sky, swarming with these infinite unique creatures…every inch of everything filled with a million forms of life; and PEOPLE, meanwhile, board themselves up in their houses and huddle together and think they rule the world! How sad! valuing everything so little, because you’re so small… From the impassable crag to the desert where no man has set foot all the way to the floors of unknown oceans, the Spirit of Creation flows everywhere, and He rejoices in every particle that draws on Him and lives. — Gah! back in those days, the beat of a passing eagle’s wings would send me yearning for the coast of some measureless sea, where I might drink from the frothy cup of the Infinite a flowing dram of joy, and, for just one moment, the pressure in my heart might be soothed by a drop of the peace of the Being that creates all things in itself and through itself.

*sigh*…oh, Will, just thinking back to those days makes me feel so whole. Even just making myself summon up those transcendent feelings and describe them again is putting me in such a better place, it makes me realize that much more what terrible shape I’m in now…

It’s like someone pulled aside a curtain in my mind, and this whole scene of limitless life is morphing in front of me into the black hole of an infinite mass grave. Can you really say anything’s real, when it’s all going to die? when everything gets swept away like a flash flood, and practically never makes it through its whole lifespan, gah! gets swept up by the storm, dragged under the water, and smashed against the cliffs? Every second that goes by destroys you and the people you love, and makes you a destroyer too, unavoidably; even going for a walk means killing a thousand worm babies, one single step annihilates the homes that ants have slaved over and stamps out a whole tiny world in a gruesome holocaust. HA! All the terrible once-in-a-lifetime disasters of the world, the tsunamis that wipe away whole villages, the earthquakes that swallow whole cities, they don’t move me at all; what kills me is the murderous power lying hidden in the heart of Nature itself — which has never created anything that didn’t destroy itself and everything around it. So I go staggering around terrified! With the sky and the earth and the threads of life weaving around me! All I see is an infinite tooth-gnashing lip-smacking maw.