On Quiet Places and Reflection

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Sometimes, when I get the chance, I like to take a walk. Walk with me.

There is something cathartic about a long walk down a quiet path, for those who have the luxury. Near my college, there is a dirtpath which bleeds out into the countryside. When I walk down it I am enveloped in silence, a silence so profound I’ll take the liberty of calling it sublime. There is no sound but my breath and the blowing wind. There’s a small, grassy knoll partway down which is perfect for leaving the path and just standing. And I just stand for ages, because to break the silence with the sound of my footsteps is almost profane. An old friend showed me the path, and looking back now, I can never understand why she’d walk down it plugged into her earphones. Sacrilege.

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It’s like stepping into an empty Narnia, utterly devoid of inhabitants except the beauty of nature. It’s a strange sort of high. And it’s at times like this that I find myself able to reflect on my thoughts and dismiss the negative ones, the downers, the ones I don’t really want to think. Normally it takes longer to get myself into a positive mood, as sometimes I feel like I have a strange, mild form of manic depression. Sometimes I’m optimistic and driven, and at other times the apathy is overwhelming. And I am aware, as I always am, that I cannot always step into a physical Narnia to escape negativism. But it helps, during times like this when I find myself slowly, but surely, gravitating towards an optimistic mood. It helps me put my problems in perspective, and realise that while I am going through these things, I should really focus on the word through. It will be over and things will be better.

This positivity is also helped along by other things, of course.  In class, we’ve started reading Nigerian literature, and having lived in the country for a time it’s quite funny watching my fellow English students butcher all the names and struggle to understand the stories in context. Everyday comedy is often under-appreciated. Aside from Cambridge, three out of my other four university options have given me offers, which gives me a strange sense of being wanted. I talked to my personal tutor for the first time in a couple of months, and that was a different kind of catharsis in its own way. Things are looking up, and I’ve resolved to remain positive. Even sitting next to a rather annoying person in Philosophy class and enduring the casual ignorant comments on religion in said class don’t seem so bad at the moment. And if I do get a little down, I remember the overwhelming response and support (thanks everyone) I received in my last post.

If you’ve gotten this far, and you feel like dropping a comment: do you have a quiet place you like to go, or a cathartic activity you engage in every now and then?

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2 thoughts on “On Quiet Places and Reflection

  1. pinappleflavouredpeople

    First of all I’m glad you have a place like that.
    I used to have one in Switzerland. In Thun there is an old castle they’ve turned into a museum. But all around it are stone walls, houses and beautiful views over the town. I could stay up there for hours. And then there’s a place in Berne, down by the river below a large, iron bridge. Only a few joggers go by there. The force of the water calms me.
    And then there’s feeding ducks. Unfortunately it is forbidden in most ponds to feed them as it disturbs the biological balance, they say. You can feed them in Switzerland.
    Now I think about it, I suppose Switzerland is my quiet place.

    Those pictures look very beautiful. And oh, what would I give to go to Narnia! It’s my Hogwarts. While other 11-year-olds awaited their letter telling them they were wizards and witches, I would go wondering through wardrobes.

    And congratulations on your uni offers! I knew you had nothing to worry about with a mind like yours. All the best for the time ahead of you. You’ll be just be fine.

    Reply
  2. Deri

    I like to set up my little tent away from people. No books (for me a rarity), no iPod. Just a lone, comfortable spot with trees or a river or lake or mountains or all of them. Then just empty out all thoughts, meditate on nothing and everything. Gaze at stars. Wonder at the spirit in trees and rocks. Laugh with wildlife, sing thanks to nature, dance for joy.
    I love your thoughts in this post. Glad we share such madness. And well done you, for earning such fantastic opportunities.

    Reply

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