The Tale of the Hermit
So now you see the door, you open it and you go through it. Look down, what do you see….
The immediate sensation is of cold, I’m standing over the pristine white snow. The flakes are soft and mushy, icy and sharp. I am barefooted, the feet are of a man. They are irregularly shaped, hairy with overgrown nails. I keep looking up and I am not wearing anything on my legs either or on my torso for that matter. I only have what it looks like a piece of leather on my waist. On my back, I carry an animal fur as a cape. I look at my hands and I see they are also hairy, they are purple, wrinkly, bony, with cuts and wounds. I recognize I have a beard and long hair, curly light brown. I feel lost in the vastness of the snow, utterly resplendent.
I start to recognize some of the bark of the trees behind me, they are covered in snow. A forest is erecting in front of me, I see now the trees´ shadows, the mist all around. I begin to recognize sounds and creaking, I keep turning around to look at my surroundings. I am painfully aware of my bare feet, they feel everything on the ground.
Time to question who I am, how did I get there, why am I alone? I don’t have many answers, I feel the mist reflects my mind, I cannot find the words, I really don’t know what is taking place. I can’t remember my name or how I got there.
I go back to the beginning, let start as a child, what do you remember? Nothing. I vaguely remember my mother, she was tall as me now, also curly haired, tall and thin, I remember her blue piercing eyes looking at me. I don’t feel she was a nice person, I can’t really tell. I don’t have a sensation of missing her. I remember a man, could’ve been my father. We were on a dark hut, cold and humid. I remember sitting on the floor and that’s it, that’s all I remember I must to have been four years old. I don’t remember my name at all.
I feel I was left alone for some reason, I don’t know if something happened to my mother or she just never came back. I can see myself in the hut alone. I begin to walk aimlessly looking for her, I must to have taken the wrong way. I ended up in the deepest forest, in the middle of the mountains, couldn´t find my way back. I think it was Siberia, but could’ve been Russia, it felt deserted and Nordic, so close to the top of the world. I don’t know the age, same with name and place I don’t think this man…knew. I was alone from so early I never knew, furthermore, my language was very limited, there was so much I didn’t know. I couldn’t make up words and I think that make me especially angry. I felt as if I was limited for emotions because I couldn’t reason anything with verbality. I hold a lot of resentment and anguish from feeling helpless. This resonated with me profoundly, I always wander whether we think because of language or if some kind of thinking could be supported without dialect. This made me feel there wasn´t. That my emotions were reduced to anger or admiration. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t have ideas, I couldn’t understand the reality around me, truly lonely.
Ironically, when thinking of the best thing and the worse about this place, the same answer popped into my mind: solitude. Solitude was a great thing, but I think I was using my current mind to think of that, the forest in my imagination seemed so enchanted at first, so quiet and magical. But as I discovered the situation I was living in, that romanticized solitude suddenly seemed like a curse, a nightmare. Animals where there, I remember seeing a wolf and bear, but to my surprise (as you may think from The Jungle Book) I wasn’t friendly with them nor was it an option. We were aware and we made efforts to avoid each other. I was part of the environment, another creature they had to mind. If I really think what was truly nice thing about this life is the change of seasons. It seems like a whimsical movie projection, always rolling, keeping things changing, worthy of staying alive and discovering what the next spring will bring. Without that, life would´ve be truly a nightmare. This past life genuinely made me appreciate the pass of time, we want to keep things still, but it would kill our spirits, we live for change and rebirth. The only time I could feel this man have any joy was picking berries or smelling flowers or jumping in the water. That was the only thing that kept me in the long winter. Butterflies and all sorts of colors and things to discover.
The absolute worse was the cold, not doubt. It was in the bones. I didn’t know how to make a fire and I think I never did. Only some skins trying to stay warm, laying down without moving in the dark. I hated it.
When I died I must to had been in my late thirties, the cause of death came to my body like a stab. It was illness, the cold, the cold had penetrated my whole existence, I hold my hand to my chest, feels like my lungs are freezing. I can’t breathe, I am alone against the rock, it is icy. I can see the sky from where I am, I can see stars and I am simply asking why, what happened? I experience this dead and I create the memories with the emotions, yet I am not in pain. I know about the pain with my body but doesn’t hurt.
This poor man had such miserable life, yet he learned a lot. This life may seem grim and sad, and it was, but really brought a lot of knowledge I had questions for. About solitude and nature and about language and our capacity to think.
When I was a child, I used to have this horrible chest pains until I was about ten years old. My mother took me to the specialist, they run tests in my heart and lungs. It seemed as I had a small arrythmia, it did cause me a lot of pain. My grandma used to put warm clothes on it and it really would help. It was as if someone was trying to pull open my chest. They were growing pains. Were they? Only I had it, none of my sisters did. When I started to become an adult it just went away, but when I remember how the hermit died, the same feeling, the same place.
I had no house, no family, not even intellect, it was just me and the elements. I spend a short life in pursuit of some meaning, some anything really. When I was done, I had this feeling of absolute appreciation for all I have present day, not just people or things. I have appreciation for my thoughts, my feelings, my voice, my name, things I would’ve never even thought of. It was such a contrast to which compare this life and be grateful. To be in the skin of such a wretched creature, to feel the abandonment, the fear, and the appreciation for the sunlight, for the fruit and the water. All these primal feelings I managed to unlock, a blessing of new emotions to exploit, to acquire empathy and grow from.
I set that life free, I let it go. I kept the lessons, the feeling of innocent, wondering joy. I understand that a link between all things and beings and even conceptual things like languages, shapes, numbers exist…it’s all connected. The more you search for wisdom, the more you feel home with yourself. Without my name, I was forgotten, my name is just a sound, but how powerful a sound can be, imagine a kiss or a hug.
I learned from this experience that I can go to negative places and learn what otherwise I couldn´t, do some more soul work through other lives or even other´s people experiences. We believe to be so painfully and gloomy, but actually brings a lot of light on how strong we are to overcome it and how better life is now. It´s all about contrast.
And the mist was dense and cold yet as he walked out into the door and I set him free, I had this very warm feeling and all of the sudden, the heart was clear. Sometimes we need to provoke a little sadness to keep on creating joy. I like to think I can submerge myself in this unconscious sadness that will create conscious bliss.
But it is not all bad. My next life was a treat for the heart. Check out my next post!