A Solitude Complete

by Christopher Lovejoy on October 2, 2011

I opened my eyes to the morning light, to the sight of a bird perched at the foot of my hammock with its head cocked. I wiggled my toes as a greeting. It squawked and pecked my foot affectionately.

Another day in paradise.

After the heavy rain, everything smelled so fresh; everything around me had come alive. The colors were vivid, the birdsong was simpatico, the morning breeze cooled and refreshed my bare skin.

My observations and contemplations on the state of humanity, compelled by countless considerations and confirmations, were but distant memories ~ still relevant but no longer all-consuming.

Last night, after the cloud cover cleared, I climbed down my makeshift ladder with almost everything I had and walked barenaked under the moon and the stars back to my base camp.

Now here I was, lost in paradise, swaying to the music of nature inside my hammock.

This was going to be one of those days, I thought. This was going to be one of those days where I stayed put, where I could do nothing but observe, listen, inhale, and feel.

Nothing else seemed to matter.

I blissed, I slept, I awakened, I observed, and I blissed some more with cyclical regularity. All day.

By evening, I finally felt motivated enough to get up and out of my hammock.

A few weeks before, I had made a discovery that had me giggling with gratitude in a clearing near the center of the island. I had found a couple of naturally formed pools of freshwater in close proximity to each other. I used one for drinking and cleaning, and the other for bathing.

In a manner of speaking, a short walk separated my bathroom from my bedroom.

When I arrive in the clearing, I start my routine by scooping water from the smaller pool with a polished coconut husk and drink as much as I need.

Scooping water again, I brush my teeth with nothing more than a toothbrush and then shave my face and neck with a hand razor and cream, using the water as my mirror.

I brush once a day and shave no more than once a week to conserve the cream. After brushing and shaving, I leave the brush, the razor, and the cream in a small vinyl bag near the pool.

Since coming to this island, I had let my hair grow long. I had run out of toothpaste, the toothbrush was getting worn, and the razor was losing its edge, but I still had enough cream to last me for a few months or more. After that, if I wanted a clean, close shave, I would craft a flint and sharpen it.

For bathing, I immerse myself in a roughly circular pool that has a circumference that is almost twice my height of six feet, with a depth that slightly exceeds my height.

Ironically, I don’t urinate or defecate in my so-called bathroom or anywhere near it. I perform these bodily functions at an isolated spot in a self-made pit of sand on the shore after I wake, in an area of the island where I otherwise have little interest in being, where little of interest ever happens.

Where my need for hygiene was concerned, I liked to think I had it all figured out.

Now that daylight was fading, I had a choice to make.

After getting a drink, brushing my teeth, and combing my hair, I entered the pool reserved for bathing and made a decision to do something I had never done before: spend the night here.

I was rested from a day of mastering the art of doing nothing, beautifully, and I wanted to extend the cultivation of this art into the night, in a place that felt strange yet alluring.

On this quiet evening, under a clear purple sky, amidst a cooling breeze, I reclined on a ledge inside the pool to relax and observe, to find harmony with my natural surroundings.

On this paradisiacal island of abundance, I had 22 things to my name. Initially it was 24, but I had since used up my toothpaste and eaten my trail mix. Just 22 things. I smiled at the thought.

I chuckled when I realized I needed none of it. Not really. I had a natural cave that protected me from the wind and the rain, a bronzed body to carry my soul and spirit, plenty of fronds with which to stay cool or make a comfortable bed, more fresh fruit than I knew what to do with, fresh water to keep me clean and hydrated, and an aesthetically pleasing environment that made exercise a pleasure to do.

I really didn’t need anything else.

It was the ultimate in personal fulfillment, and by ultimate, I meant an essential pathway of living organically, formed with and by an ideal vision of who and what and where I was at the time.

I thought about this some more. I had all the time in the world. As long as I remained calm and content, and as long as I didn’t frustrate myself sexually by taking the master bait, I was fine.

I could thoroughly enjoy my own company.

I closed my eyes and became one with the music of paradise.

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