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2005-07-03 8:30 p.m.


On Sundays when I remain on The Rock, one of my favorite things to do is head out and wander the island with my mp3 player and a good book (for when I find a nice place to sit). Itís often a hassle to drag myself out of the house since there are always so many things for me to do there, but Iím always glad I did once I do.

Every time I do this I inevitably find one or more lovely little locations, spirited away down obscure pathways, that fill me with inexpressible calm and beauty. I call them the Hidden Places, and I keep a mental log of their locations. I donít revisit them especially often, though, since there are so many yet to be discovered.

Once out and about, wandering, Iím filled with such magnanimous calm and contentment. These are the times when I feel thankful, even blessed, to have been sent here and not to a city. I will miss these outings very much once I leave.

It seems that not many people would really appreciate this place as I do. So often people seem horrified when they found out where I live and incredulously ask me what I ďdo.Ē What do I do? Friend, when you live in a place like this, you donít have to do anything but just be there.

Most of my life Iíve lived close to nature. Iíve always lived within walking distance of the wilderness. I love cities and all they have to offer culturally, but ultimately my heart longs to be among mountains and earth.

This place is so different from where I grew up. There is no ocean anywhere near my original home, and its beauty is, for the most part, the beauty of desolation. But this place is so alive. Everywhere green things push up and through, clamoring for the sun. The hum of cicadas fills the air, dragonflies flit everywhere, hawks circle overhead, fish splash in the water below, and the underbrush is filled with crabs and snakes and frogs and spiders and all manner of strange and wonderful things. I love it here.

Today I left the house around three, listening to The Divine Comedy, with my book of the fantastic tales of Guy de Maupassant (and a French dictionary) in hand. I headed south and west, and after about an hour I found myself sitting on a ledge with a tiny rice paddy crammed in against the cliff at my back, the ocean and scattered islands before me, and a precipitous terraced drop down to the rocky shore below me. The sky was grey and the clouds were low, cooling the air and lending an ethereal mistiness to sea and the mountains rising out of it. Good music, a good book, and natural beauty on such a scaleÖ what more could anyone want?

Well, sometimes I wish for someone to share these things with.

But only sometimes. Iím quite content in my obscurity and isolation for now, for the most part.

ďEven broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions seem still to have the power of elevating his soul from earth. Such a man has a double existence: he may suffer misery and be overwhelmed by disappointments, yet when he has retired into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures.Ē

I read four Maupassant stories, gazed out across the sea for a while, and then headed back, listening to The Divine Comedy again. At one point a black dragonfly flitted across my path, so I stopped to watch it for a while. Iíd never seen a black one before. It liked to just sit on a leaf, with its wings folded together vertically behind its thorax. Periodically it would slowly unfold them, bringing them down to the horizontal as if preparing for flight, but then suddenly snap them back up to the folded position and remain still.

I got home around seven. Tomorrow itís back to school.

with rocks and stones and trees,