Originally written on Sunday, May 5, 2013
A Much Needed Change of Pace
I’ve just returned from a small, personal excursion to the London Museum of Archeology and the Medway Valley Heritage Forest, which seems to surround the former. Despite the Museum’s small size (it was just a bit bigger than my apartment, minus the separate/divided rooms) it held a few interesting artifacts and facts about the First Nations that settled in and around Canada. These included the tribes that settled at the Lawson Site, which apparently bordered the edge of what now is the Museum; at the back, past the parking lot, a re-creation of that village had been propped up, displaying a Longhouse (and a smaller Longhouse), Tents and a few other landmarks that created a vague, though palpable resemblance of what those pre-modern times of hunting and gathering must’ve looked like. But more inviting that the Museum itself, at least to me, were both the forest behind the recreated Lawson Village and the Heritage Forest, the latter of which I traversed until I found a nice, quiet place by a stream that seemed to flow with crystal-clear water, and where I sat alone with my thoughts as I tried to return to those simpler times, traveling inside a cloud of smoke that seemed to linger in the air for just a few moments before entirely vanishing, just like those figures in my mind…Yes, it was among all that nature that I felt the most free.
The path was long and sinuous, resembling a snake that stood still. The sun was beaming with full force, though its strength diminished a bit since it had to poke through the foliage that rested so very high above my head, at the very tips of awesomely huge trees which seemed to, indeed, scrape the sky. At my sides, through the intricate web of trees and branches that separated the darkness and bowels of the forest from my apparently forsaken path, an orchestra formed and carried me along with its tune: a marvelous melody of birds’ songs that repeated their beautiful pattern with clock-like precision every four seconds or so, and then the response from their aviary comrades which would come shortly thereafter, extending and fulfilling a melody that uttered a love story. The shrubs shrouded from time to time, and twigs snapped as little but lightning-fast feet scurried around the floral-maze…It almost felt like eyes were peering at me from behind the bushes, but they were kind eyes – at least they felt as such – which made the path no longer feel deserted and forsaken, but rather like a live, breathing organism that accompanied me. The Snake, it seemed, had regained its life…And perhaps, I felt, it was my presence that had had something to do with it.
As I continued walking, enjoying that serenade emanating from within the very Soul of the Forest, the peculiarity of being alone in a new place – though not really alone – became apparent to me again, just as it had on those now long-gone days when I had traveled the Venezuelan streets alone, armed with nothing but my recorder, my pen and enough money to refuel on ice-cold beers. Yes, the magnificently impactful experience of being alone in a new city, or country, or forest, or house, will never leave me…I’m not sure if that is an experience that most travelers share; I have met so many experienced travelers from all over the world and with so many different personalities, goals, vices and stories, that a really focused conversation or analysis of their feelings at being alone once again has never materialized. But, as in many things in life, and without at all descending into that banal “individualism,” which really is egoism (and, sometimes, border-line anti-social tendencies), that plagues most of the world, if not all of it, I must admit that in this case, the feelings of other travelers on the matter is really of no concern to me, at least in regards to my purposes, which focus on deep and critical self-analyzing and on the creation/implementation of a revolutionary process for self-evolution.
Into the Grinder
What I mean by all of that, is that I’ve realized that it is when I’m thrown head-first into the Grinder that I feel most alive, most free, most useful. I wither with routine; I find myself rotting, both from the inside and the outside, whenever I have (or choose) to do the exact same thing every day…and that includes the things that my eyes see, that my ears hear and which, thus, create the images and ideas that my brain propels. It is the excitement and panic that I feel – the Fear and Loathing, in the words of the Good Doctor – that seem so wild and pleasing at the same time. It is knowing that things have changed, that the walls have morphed, that the ground has gained life. It is knowing that at any given time, I may find the Stairs that Lead Straight Up, just as likely as I may find the Elevator that Plunges Downwards. It is knowing that happiness and utter despair are both new friends and foes that wait for and lurk behind me, and that I may come out all the better at the other side precisely because of them. It is knowing that I am taking steps nearing either the Head or the Tail of Snake…but that I am, indeed, taking them.
As a matter of fact, I will never forget the steps I already had the pleasure of taking in Mexico, or Cuba, or Venezuela.
Particularly in the latter – in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela – I experienced some of the most amazing things in my life, including, in its own way, a desolation of the soul that blinded me from any reason and which nearly destroyed my sanity and my health…Yes, for some odd reason – and certainly without being a masochist, for I abhor unnecessary pain (and likewise, cherish the opposite) – even those depressing experiences taught me something; they made my brain and my thoughts react a certain way which, sooner or later, would come to form some of the most powerful convictions in me. Of course, in retrospect, if I could choose to do things differently – to have taken a different path among the Long Snake that was that trip – I certainly would do so; but, for that, I’d need to think like I do now, which is physically/metaphysically/mentally and any other kind of degree of impossible, given that it was precisely those experiences from which I learned and eventually evolved into the Beast that I am today…Indeed, as a Wise Fool once said, He who makes a Beast of Himself, gets rid of the Pain of Being a Man….And pain, there is!
And it is in this way that my experiences here in London thus far, and those to come over the course of the next year, are surely to teach me something…For much more than just becoming a Journalist – a profession which I admire with all the Integrity in me, and which I’ve devoted myself to entirely – my time here will be used more like narcotics for an addled brain: uppers, downers, herbs, medicines, whatever you want to call it, the experiences will all cause new chemical reactions, feelings, thoughts and behaviours to go along with it. And all of this will accumulate to a Refined Me; to an individual that, much like the Snake, has Shed its Old Skin. The essence remains – the soul is intact – but the Ideas Grow.
The Individual who Propels the Great Wheel
I remember thinking at some point today – as I rode the bus through what I could only describe as one of the quaintest towns/cities wherein I’ve had the pleasure of residing, however briefly – that while it is very true that Ideas Never Die – a maxim not only true and widely known, but which has regained its fervour after the unfortunate death of Commander Hugo Chavez – they are insufficient to really Propel the Great Wheel forward. As important and powerful as they are, it’d be a sin (to put a religious twist in there) to allow the Idea to remain static and to eventually become sedentary, if not regressive, within the context of the ever-changing societies and conditions around the world. I had in mind, at that moment, the aforementioned events of Chavez’s death, and the subsequent battle between the two opposing (political) sides.
Though it is very true, again, that the Movement and Revolutionary Fervour that he revived in Latin America will continue – for, as we’ve agreed, Ideas Never Die – the Greatness and the Supremacy (not in terms of class or any other such exclusionary terms, but rather in a sense of greater preparedness, both physically and ideologically), of the Individual (now in the true sense of the word) is vital…Nay, Unforgivably Necessary!
Indeed, to conclude with the Venezuelan example and the political implications for the Latin American continent, if we allow the ideas that Chavez left as his legacy – what we could, to use his own term, call 21st Century Socialism – to stagnate, to become an unchanging model, then it only becomes dogmatic; worst, it becomes antagonistic to the context of the society. My faith resides fully with President Maduro, for he’s proven himself capable – at least thus far, in his short terms as both interim- and elected-president – to not only continue Chavez’s legacy, but to nourish it and allow it to Grow and Evolve. Nevertheless, new Individuals must be born and moulded with the Revolutionary Ideas that are overtaking the Continent, so that they may lead said Ideas towards their Ideal – so that they may continue to nourish them and perfect them.
And it was with that thought, as I rode the bus, that I regained the consciousness of being, once again, alone in a new place…and with all the tools that are therefore necessary and available to Mould a New Man out of myself…To pry deeper into my Real Self; into all my “Wild Dogs,” as Nietzsche would say. For my ideas and convictions, as ingrained and solid as I know they are, hunger for Change and Evolution and Progress…
Hasta la Victoria Siempre!
Patria, Socialismo o Muerte!