"I have not grown misanthropic, but with the passage of time I have come to value emptier spaces, to seek out the natural world and the ultimate of what travel has to offer—wilderness. Is it a way of reinvigorating myself with a peek at innocence, of having trespassed into Eden? It hardly matters—so much in travel is self-delusion." Paul Theroux, "Fresh Air Fiend."
More food for thought from the "Fresh Air Fiend." Bon appetite...
"The profoundest satisfaction in travel is a sense of discovery, the private thrill of seeing something new or seeing it in a new way... As far as I'm concerned, everything else in travel is a vacation, the view from a a chaise lounge—horizontal."
"Who are the great travelers? They are all sorts, of course. A large number have been depressives, bipolar types capable of serious gloom: Livingstone sulked in his tent for days, Vancouver locked himself in his cabin, Speke shot himself, Scott sometimes wept, Nansen was suicidal, so was Meriwether Lewis. But at their best they are curious, contented, patient, courageous, and paragons of self-sufficiency. Their passion is visiting the unknown. Travel, which is nearly always regarded as an attempt to escape from the ego, is in my opinion the opposite: nothing induces concentration or stimulates memory like an alien landscape..."
After this glorious, soul-quenching excursion into solitude and reinvigoration, I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It was a cleansed feeling, akin to how I felt as a child after my serial Sunday trip to the alter when Pastor Don would call for those with sin in their life to "come forward and be forgiven." Had I the nerve to ask for a little "clarification" on what exactly constitutes "sin" amongst prepubescent, hormonally assaulted males, one alter call would have sufficed (sigh).
Even though I didn't go so far as to break down and cry up on the mountain, I easily could have. All that was missing was an organist with a choir singing, "Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you to come home." Deep down inside, I've always known that "Church," in its most genuine form, is more than a building, more than a congregation, more than doctrinal mind-washing, more than repentance and redemption. Church (salvation) is a highly personal matter between an individual and what ever it is that feeds their soul, rights their ship, softens their heart, and tempers their tongue. Genuine Church is what ever it takes to magnify love, goodness, and humanity, while shrinking ego, self-importance, and greed.
I happen to find all of those things in wilderness.