Eight thousand feet up, there was a lake that started as a waterfall that started as ice melting at twelve thousand feet. I looked up and all around me the sides of rocks stared down at me. They felt like they were closing in on me. Even in such a vast open space, the size felt claustrophobic, as if it were telling me over and over how small my body is. How inconsequential my worries are.
They are. In comparison to these three million year-old mountains, my twenty-two year-old frame knows nothing of the world. The world is this: huge and incomprehensible and it doesn’t try to explain itself. Humans try to explain away the sublime. They try to quantify the size and shape and age and color and chemical bonds within the mountains. Maybe these things are inconsequential. Maybe all that needs to be done is to exist without dualities, without self-reflexive thought.
Isn’t it ironic, then, that all I can think of is how my reflection looks so small. Even if I’m thinking that nature’s longevity makes the span of my life meaningless, I am still analyzing existence and trying to find meaning in the meaninglessness.
One night last November, about fifteen of my friends at a hostel and I sat down and meditated. I don’t do things like that very often, but I did my best to concentrate on some void that didn’t exist. The night air brought out bumps on the backs of our necks. I tried to empty my mind, but all I could do was think of how the emptiness of our interaction gave meaning to all of our wandering.
As I sat on the lake’s edge, I thought the same thing. But then I thought of how the meaninglessness is just meaningless and nothing more, and that is neither positive nor negative. It just is. And just being is all any of us can do. I fell asleep under the stars that night. The Milky Way turned so white I felt like it was falling down on me and tucking me into sleep.