Tonight I walked through trees and by rivers, over bridges over weirs and through a quaint little village with only the moon glowing overhead and clouds bursting around it.
With no sunlight and freezing toes, my most tangible sense of my surroundings was how it felt, not how it looked. If I went there again on a bright, hot summer day, I would hardly recognise the place. I’m sure it would look gorgeous and idilic, but I would already know how good it felt.
I loved the stroll even though I couldn’t see where I was walking and even though, if I had let myself, I could have interpreted every shadow as something ominous. But I didn’t, and I didn’t have to try to enjoy it; I just felt it. And what I felt was good. I trusted the friend I was with and my instincts, not nagging thoughts telling me this would be a perfect spot for murder or falling into the swollen river. These thoughts were what my brain reasoned might or could happen, but they were less true than how I felt, which was non-threatened, in bliss and at peace.
Is feeling the truest representation of my surroundings, of me? If so, how do I prioritize sensation over rationalization everywhere I go? My ability to feel when unable to see made me wonder if I could train myself to feel this same way even in the sunlight, when the trees and the water, the expanses of grass and the pretty patterns of sun rays were clearly visible to my conscious mind.
Perhaps we begin by first asking ourselves, “How does this feel right now?” not, “How does this look, or how would this look when the sun comes out?”
And maybe if we always felt our landscape first—took that as truth and acted on it—when the sunny days came, we would enjoy our surroundings with far more satisfaction. Because we already knew how our environment felt, we wouldn’t approach it with detached, preconceived notions of it based on our judgments of its physical appearance, no matter how ugly or beautiful.
So let’s stop waiting for the sun to change everything and be a bit more honest about how we feel right now. What feels right? What feels wrong? What feels honest? And what feels true?
And then, when the fat, magical sun does rise, we will enjoy it all the more from a place of peace and perfection within.
I’ll see you under the small fir tree, laying on my back, boots muddy and eyes closed, drinking in the loveliness of the sun, making my already-perfect-feeling place even better. Bring some wine.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Andy Charrington
Apprentice Editor: Caroline Beaton / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s own