I was reminded the other day by a friend of places that call me. Some might say magical or serene, but I know the truth. Those are just the feelings which come forth in the places that call, these places aren’t magic, yet they feel magic all the same. Sometimes the head and the heart they know what they need. So they remind me to go searching for the places that call, places formed by forces man can’t match. There is something of these places which root me firmly in the ground, something liberating, something that shows the depth of my place in this world, something that calls to me screaming the meaning of life. I don’t know how come I lose track of these places that call, but I feel the call beckon now and soon I must go.
There are places around that call to me, deep underground and buried by mountains. There is something about caves, deep caves, that call to me. It’s the feeling of being part of something huge, something larger than I can conceive and something beyond anything I can control or change. It is a billion years echoed in every plop of water, the history of the earth written in ever line of color. My mind boggles at the weight of the mountain above, who are we to think we can move mountains such as this. And the smell, the smell is something foreign, alien, and primordial. It’s the smell of earth before life, the remnants of forces so powerful we can only call them acts of god. Yet for all its weight when the mountain stands atop of my shoulders I feel rooted in a sanctuary in time. That no matter how violent the worlds past there exist places of peaceful slumber where time can stand still. A place where someone can plant their feet knowing they have time to grow tall.
There are places around that call to me, open gardens countless hectares in size and filled with life. Some are forest, some are scrubland and some are plains of desert but all have one thing in common, life. I know that some people find the trees, birdsong and wind calming and peaceful, and I certainly feel this, but that isn’t all I see. There is a complexity to life, coldly deeply logical despite its outward appearances. No life exists in a place that won’t support it, it thrives or it dies. There are no mistakes in nature; everything is in the place it is supposed to be in, in the place it is meant to be in. Birds fly and sing because that is where they thrive; trees grow tallest near creeks because that is where they thrive, insects crawl under rocks because that is where they thrive. Everywhere I turn I am met by a tapestry of life and not a single thread misplaced. When these places call I know I need to be reminded that I am still alive, that there is still a place meant for me, a place where I can thrive.
Occasionally on my walks I am called by places where sky, water and rock meet, waterfalls big and small. I don’t completely understand the allure of such places, but they call most strongly of all. I wonder if it is the sound of irresistible forces meeting immovable objects, the cascade that results seems to sing out that not all conflicts need to be won and lost. I do know that waterfalls suck me into a sensory explosion of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste that drag me from my mind into the here and now. I become lost in a never ending trance surrounded by movement and change, and for a man who spends a lot of time in his head, reality is a welcome escape.
Finally, there is a place that calls which is the most expansive of all. It’s a world where man shouldn’t be, can’t be. It’s a world without air to breathe, no place to walk and the sky above the barrier between this world and ours. Water has always called to me and diving opened up a side of it I never knew existed. It wraps you in a soft, muffled world, not quite silent but mostly not noisy either. It’s an alien landscape filled with sights and tracks that don’t fit with our everyday experiences. Even the fish know we shouldn’t be there. Yet the thing that calls me the most is the freedom. There is no gravity just buoyancy, and sinking or floating is as simple as a deep or shallow breath. There is no news, no TV, no Facebook and all the other things that trap us, just you and your buddy in a world that knows you don’t belong. How do you describe the freedom that comes with this when it exists in so few places in the world of air? How do you explain the call of another world where the laws of physics aren’t the same? How do you explain the meaning of adventure to those who live in a world already explored?
I hear these places calling now; I need to get back to one of them soon I think. It has been too long. Sometimes I get too caught up in life and events which unfold and I forget to heed these calls. My head and heart know what’s best but sometimes I forget to listen. I think a waterfall might be best, it calls to me the strongest. I’ve had too much conflict of late, too much losing and too much winning. I need an escape back to reality. I’d like to see a cave again like my friend may be doing, but there are no deep ones nearby. As I write this I consider the Natural Bridge cave in Springbrook, I’ve never been there. The cave isn’t as deep as I would like but it has a water fall and a walk through the bush. Yes, I believe it’s time I answered the call.
Photo: Getty Images
*A minstrel was a medieval European bard who performed songs whose lyrics told stories of distant places or of existing or imaginary historical events. Although minstrels created their own tales, often they would memorize and embellish the works of others. The Modern Minstrel observes the world around him and shares it with us as lyrical story. This series was inspired by Luke Davis, whose eye for story and ear for lyrical prose are featured here.
Also by Luke Davis
|What A Man Wants In A Marriage||What it Takes to See a Man’s Feelings||Have You Seen a Man’s Heart?||Why Date a Man Who Dances?|