I wake at 5:30am to the sound of 50mph winds howling past the caravan and rain battering the roof. The caravan is visibly moving. At first I was a little uneasy about the whole situation, but after assuring myself that the van was staying put I decided to do the same. When the weather is bad there is really not much else to do but stay inside, and I was secretly glad as my body had been telling me to rest. Between the move, the long walks, and the decorating I was shattered. It was time for blankets and books.
The weather has the effect of amplifying the self-imposed solitude, and rather than becoming lonely and bored as I had feared, I began to stretch out in to it, to fill it. I surrounded myself with the greats, the truth-seekers; Whitman, Woolf, Rilke, and Plato as I re-visit the big questions. Life, truth, beauty, love, meaning, and the self. This exile is a time to consume, consumption of a different kind. To learn, to experience, to see, to charge up the creative muscle. There are no rules. No expectations. No time. I wake before sunrise and let the weather and my mood dictate my direction. Sunset is my signal to settle in for the night. And I sleep when I am tired. Food is there to nourish my body and soul. I take pleasure in cooking. I take pleasure in eating. I take pleasure in everything. I appreciate everything. Existence is a sensual experience.
” Everything is gestation and then bringing forth ” – Rainer Maria Rilke.
Occasionally I feel a twinge of boredom or loneliness. And instead of rebuking it and seeking pleasure as I once did, I now explore it. I understand what it is I am longing for and why. And I find what I’m looking for is always within me. In this re-calibrating of the self, I am calmer, I smile more, I look different – more alive, more full.
It’s evening. I cook off the ingredients for a lamb curry, put them in the slow cooker, and head out the door. The wind has stopped. The sun has set. The remainder of the light in the sky guides me along the river. A slither of a crescent moon appears out of the dark clouds. And all is quiet. All is calm.