So, I would routinely sit on the garden brick wall gazing at the deep dark sky above my head as my short legs hung over the edge of the wall – sometimes for hours on end. It was something I did for the greater part of my childhood.
The sky was always black, but never the same kind of black.
An Astronaut kinda’ life …
I wanted to be an Astronaut. I loved the stars, moon, planets and numerous galaxies that existed in our Solar System. I was also fascinated by darkness and what it veiled. It was a strange kind of fascination really – a fascination that instilled great fear into certain parts of me, but equal urges in other parts to imagine and wonder about it all, an urge to want to explore. I figured out early on that I couldn’t really be a 9 till 5 ‘daytime’ Astronaut. Light and darkness seemed all part and parcel of the explorer package, whether I liked it or not! For best results, I figured out that exploration deserved a life long thirst.
I become convinced at times that I could identify some rare star formations using my glow stargazer map thingy (a Toys R Us special!) In hindsight, I’m not quite sure whether I was *actually* identifying star formations or alternatively imagining what I desperately wanted to see at the time. Imagination surely is a powerful thing. And I could imagine. The days couldn’t be short enough and the nights long enough. The urge to explore never really ceased during childhood or adolescence. Needless to say however, I never made the grade as an Astronaut! In the end, I set my views on a more earthly profession (if we can put it that way) wanting to pursue a career as a Concert Pianist.
Thirst and fascination
In a recent blog about depression, I questioned – why I do it all. I often do this. Ask myself why I carry on taking my medication when I still get horrendous lows? Why I get up after falling – only to continuously try again, hoping for a different outcome? I also asked when would exhaustion finally mean I could no longer carry on doing it all?
Intense depressive episodes have managed to instil that exact same fear of darkness into my system as I felt sitting on the garden wall as a child. It’s just that depression in all its stifling glory managed to transcend childhood boundaries by going further and robbing me of the ability to be fascinated by life. In a single sentence, it quenched my thirst to wonder about it all and killed my urge to want to explore beyond the veils of darkness that once inspired me so greatly.
Depression and the wilderness
The Solar System I perplex about these days exists mainly in my own mind and in the tortuous darkness of a pollution (aka depression) that suffocates my spirit. Depression is always black, but never the same kind of black. If I could only sit on the edge of my own consciousness (legs hanging off as I used to when I was young on the garden brick wall) marvelling at the darkness that depression brings – wondering whether it veils anything really worth living for – like a thousand beautiful Galaxies. But, the hostility that this pollution brings along with it incapacitates a soul – thrusting it to a barren corner where all I can do is lie helplessly, waiting. Hoping -that I ‘m strong enough to get through it all, again. It’s this place that I wish to flee. This place that makes my once treasured nights, way too long. Instead of being thrust into a barren corner in my mind – perhaps I could change it all if I just believed that that place was a ‘forest of wilderness.’
‘The clearest way into a Universe is through a forest wilderness.’ – John Muir,
Scottish-American naturalist author & environmental philosopher.