Back In The Bay Of Many Islands

It must have something to do with my growing up in the verdant countryside of Switzerland. Big cities always give me the creeps. Their artificial and impulsive energy seems at odds with all other living things wide and far. The concrete plastered earth is unable to breath. The animal world has been all but extinguished and the soothing greens of the forest replaced with blaring neon colors advertising fictitious comforts. Man becomes lost in his own mind, neurotic and competitive, making arrogant assumptions and very few openhearted people remain amongst a mass of self-centered maniacs.

It’s good to once again be able to walk for barely five minutes and be away from it all for a good and soothing while. I’m stepping over a dark-green colored rock that’s covered with colonies of cream-hued, sharp-edged oyster shells. It’s ready to be submerged again and again in the salty solution of the intertidal flood plains twice for every full rotation of the sun around the earth. Then I continue walking along a earthen yellow colored sand beach where millions of little remnants of abandoned molluscan and crustacean real estate is fast disintegrating into finer and finer fragments until they become the proverbial grains of sand that pass through the tiny orifice of the hourglass and create the sequence of time. Even finer ground material builds mudflats where cockles, crabs and mud worms feast on decomposing sludge before being feasted upon themselves by stealthy feathered descendents of the dinosaurs wading gingerly on slender stilts. Once out and about I have time to go through things with just myself, face to my own face so to speak, man to man, with an open ear, eager eyes and without any foreboding and premeditated arguments. There is not even the slightest amount of greed left in my veins now and I can observe and breathe without having to have a pretext for doing such and outrageous thing.

Not that this place up here in New Zealand’s Northland is without its share of problems. Wherever there are human beings there seem to be plenty of those around! Even in relatively minute numbers modern man’s impact on the land is nothing short of disastrous. But the degree of madness is greatly tempered by soothing Mother Nature, who looks diligently and tirelessly after all her flock day in and day out, making sure that nobody leaves the table hungry or in fact needy of anything essential for their survival.

The pace of things is important. It defines the rhythm of your daily life. It regulates the delicate balance of energy and matter needed for our every motion and commotion. Artificial acceleration of that pace therefore makes for a stressful rap that’s upbeat only in the beginning. It then quickly degenerates into a tasteless routine that goes on for much too long, held up only by the constant injection of artificial sweeteners into our bloodstream, an aggressive advertising assault on our six or seven senses and the constant bowing of our heads before the mandates of materialistic mass hysteria.

I cannot help but think about those things, bounce them around in my head while I wander around marveling at the undulating landscapes. These issues and their haunting screams for urgency and resolution bug me all the time, obnoxiously and exactly like the sand flies that come punching your skin here with an outrageous frequency after the heavy rains. Common sense dictates that you’re not supposed to scratch the miniature puncture wounds they leave behind on your legs and arms. But you catch yourself again and again scratching them anyway, risking ugly sores of infestation that drill their itch into your consciousness against your most mighty will and reason. Just like those little red dots that innocently decorate your dermis after the insects’ onslaught, the festering wounds of civilization itch and pinch my mental motions without mercy. Like a cosmic background radiation they resonate through every inch of happiness, every gram of joy and every strand of delight, as wholesome and filling as those may be. They are the dark matter of my daily universe, the elephant in the room that shelters me, the calm before the devastating storm of my awakening, and the constantly loving and nurturing mother of my despair.

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