About the last true hermit
Christopher Knight said that he lost his identity during his years of solitude.
“With no audience, no one to perform for, I was just there. There was no need to define myself; I became irrelevant. The moon was the minute hand, the seasons the hour hand. I didn’t even have a name. I never felt lonely. To put it romantically: I was completely free.”
Yes, his insights and experiences resonate with me too – there is something about the call of the wilderness, the lure of Nature and the attractiveness of solitude away from the modern society that soothes and comforts the soul, that overrides all the inconveniences and challenges of living in the wild. As Knight aptly put it, he missed the stillness the most, and indeed there is a sense of profound freedom from having to maintain any cultural identity that society imposed on us, hence I can relate to his feeling of complete freedom in and innate connectedness to Nature, where there is no audience and no one to perform for, and where loneliness has no place in the company of the moon, the seasons, the trees and wildlife. It reminds me of this quote I came across in Facebook yesterday – “Nature is my “mega church'”, yes indeed, for Nature can be where we find contentment and feel at peace in the world.
In a way, his introspective life could very well be a reflection of my innate desire to live apart from the world system and experience that profound stillness and freedom.
For the 27 years that he was in the forests, he never saw a doctor and was never sick. He said that you get sick when you are around people. I agree with him. It reminds me of how the indigenous people lived strong and healthy in the rainforest in Amazon and other places until they encounter people from modern society and easily contracted sicknesses. I think there is also something about modern city environment that makes people prone to sickness (and stress). Nature on the other hand provides pure clean air and water, chemical-free food, and quiet, soothing environment.
He lives in a tree, wears no shoes and brushes his teeth with a pine cone
In another article, I find the mountain forest dweller’s story inspiring as it is my childhood dream to live carefree in a mainly natural environment too, as shared with you before. I also like what he said here:
“In following my feet I found myself stepping out of the insulation of the modern world and landing in the earth. The results came quickly. Not only were my feet healing, but my back pain, neck pain and most of all my heart pain disappeared, and in no time at all I was back into a dead run, stepping out of the sedentary, stressed, sedated and secured living of the modern world. I was muscling my mind into the heart of the matter. I was dancing as the fire, running as the wind, strengthening as the stone and flowing as the water within, by the simple act of touching with my bare soles and allowing the Earth to teach.”
Yes, Nature always stirs the poetry in me and brings healing and restoration in every way. Life in the countryside benefits our immune system, as also mentioned in this article. It is indeed safer and better for our health and well being to be in the woods and countryside more often than in crowded city areas.