I am missing the island today.
Not just its blue skies, the heat and clear, flat water – although I miss that too – but its island-ness. Its sense of being so removed from everything, that nothing matters except the very moment you find yourself in at the very point of contemplation. The disconnectedness results in an espousal – and feeling – of all of those cleansing one line summations – nothing can touch you, everything can wait, nothing is so important it must consume or detract from or affect this very instant. Or anything at all.
I know how people get stuck there. I know how one summer becomes fifteen, how a season becomes a way of life. How street puppies become pets and rooms with one bed and a tiny fridge become homes. I know how time stops and everything that happens off the island seems as if it is so far away, it is happening on a different planet, to a different species. Not to you, never to you, because nothing can reach you here. Here things are beautifully inconsequential. Nothing can get through, if you don’t want it to. Nothing can switch you back on except leaving.
Most of the time when the missing pangs start, when they tickle my feet with their feathery reminder, it isn’t because I want to see the sun, or swim in the sea. Most of the time it is because I want that feeling of being untouchable. I want to stand on the edge of a cliff and see absolutely nothing and, despite this, know that everything is fine. That all is as it should be.
There are few places in the world where I feel more vibrant than I do on the island and simultaneously so basic. So simple. So slow. Whilst everything happening elsewhere is beautifully inconsequential, I am, to the island, precisely the same. I can exist in whatever manner I see fit, but regardless, everything will just keep plodding along as it has done for thousands of years and as it will for thousands more.
Perhaps that is what it is. Perhaps it all comes from knowing that upon this warm, baked rock, your footprints are but a pair of thousands. That this sleepy monolith has, for so long, welcomed so many. The feeling of age, the sense of space, the idea that in eighty years, it will still be standing, but you won’t. Perhaps that is why you feel so untouchable, as if nothing matters. Because this island’s ancient existence and its yawning volcano are a gentle reminder that nothing does. That in fact, if anything really does matter at all, it is that in this moment, you stand still, look out at absolutely nothing and feel as if you are standing on the heartbeat of the world.