There won’t be any pictures today. I have been digitally lazy, and besides, I don’t think I could show what I’m trying to express.
I am, essentially, a torn person. And I’m learning that I’m happy that way. Maybe “wholeness” for me means embracing twoness. I am happy knowing that my existence (in terms of family and friendship) is firmly rooted in two continents. I’m equally happy split between urban and rural. When I’m in the city, I am a city person, rarely missing the country. And when I’m in the country, I feel that the people who live here full-time live according to the best kept secret. (Shhhh. It’s better here.)
In the city, I am overwhelmed and filled up by the genius of humans to coexist and to inspire each other to create bridges to a future that didn’t seem possible. I love the hustle and bustle and the constant drive. I love the machine that throbs at the heart of it. I love the fermentation of ideas—the bubbling up of creativity and the fact that the city reinvents itself over and over again.
In the country, I am conversely filled up by silences. By a heavenly lack of pretension. By the heady perfume of nature in place of the cloying persistence of other people, no matter how brilliant they are or profess to be.
In both places there is a way of breathing deeply, of pulling it all into yourself, and then…of disappearing in the process. Losing yourself into what each has to offer.
When I come to the country, though, particularly in the summer, I have an experience that is profound for me. It involves deep breathing, but not mine. Here, I can feel the earth breathing. If I stand very still, I can feel eddies of air, like water currents, brushing past each other. Warm and cool, intermingling then separating and sweeping around me.
Behind our little place is a vast uncultivated field and stretching up the hill from it as far as you can see are fields of grain, sunflower, rapeseed, rising up toward an elevated horizon marked by the lone tree or copse. Last night, the earth literally heaved a sigh of relief at sundown. And the lovely breath exhaled wafted down that hill and all around us.
Day turns to evening latish this time of year—at nine or ten there is still light—and yet the day has turned from warmth to “coolth.” An undeniable shifting down. A slowing. A gentle breathing all around. The earth exudes a perfume of dirt and exhaling leaves. Coolness swirls around you. The labors of the day are laid to rest. It is beautiful.
When I am back in the city thinking the city is the place to be, I will be missing this. In the city, the night just brings a different challenge to your energy, and you hope to wake in the morning with enough energy to start again. In the country, day falls like a gentle giant, releasing a mist which fills your lungs deep with new life for tomorrow.
I love that.
Have you experienced it before?