Allowing the world to contaminate me


Trinity Alps Wilderness, California

As I sat on the granite monolith, simply breathing in and out, I began noticing the sounds, smells, sights and sensations of this mountain world. There was the gentle lapping of lake water on the rocky shore, the green dots of conifer trees on the light gray granitic mountainside, the call of Steller’s jay, northern flicker and red-breasted nuthatch, and the feeling of cool stone on my bare legs. But before this intellectualizing and naming of experience, there was just the experience itself. Before I turned this momentous world (a world in the moment) into something extraordinary that I could capture and consume in words and concepts, there was just the world in all its ordinariness and intensity.

Elisabetta Corrà said, “The extraordinary seeks something beyond reality. Intensity forces us to experience reality…” There was still the lapping of the water against the shore and the birds calling and the like but I wasn’t busy naming it and putting it on a list of experiences I had had. This is difficult to explain because our usual mode of explanation, language, is not the experience itself. There I was simply experiencing and as I did something dropped away, like an autumn leaf falling off a maple tree.  I had become porous, and the beauty of the place and its wildness contaminated me, became a part of me and I a part of it. We were in relationship, in love, and one landscape of mountains and waters and that was all there was.

Plop a trout rose to the surface to capture an insect, and suddenly I was back, thoughts and conceptions and all. There was the lake, the granite peak rising above and my small tent. I rose, stretched my stiff legs, and carefully made my way down the rock to boil water, chopped vegetables and make dinner in a most beautiful and serene kitchen.

written by David

5 thoughts on “Allowing the world to contaminate me

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