The Cosmos Reign In Each of Us

I’VE BEEN in Calabria, Italy for the last eleven days, working on a farm in the coastal village of Isca.

Yesterday afternoon, I stepped outside when I heard the tapping sound of rain upon the wooden roof. It was a soft rain suffused with sunlight.

A spectrum of color formed over the hills and the village of Isca. In the distance, the rainbow fell into the Ionian Sea.

I didn’t know what the village was called when planning this experience through a program called Worldpackers. But I’m here, and it’s been a hell of a ride.

I’ll be working on this farm for a couple more weeks — I’ve done nothing like this for an extended period: manual labor in the morning until the town bell strikes noon; then I have the afternoon to read, write, explore, plan, exist.

There are moments where I can’t believe I’m here. But it feels right, as if it’s part of my path to work with my hands and experience this simple way of life.

I’ve always wondered if manual labor, or at least just working with my hands, is the sort of work that will make me truly happy. In a way, I’ve found the answer, and it’s yes. I hope to always seek an outlet where I can connect with the earth, and thus all of history.

It’s satisfying in a timeless way; it brings me joy to explore why working like this brings me joy.

It accompanies the writing life well — I now can understand why gardening is such a meaningful use of time. I head out for the workday with nothing but my journal.

As I work, ideas and thoughts come to me, accompanied by sounds of chickens crowing, insects whizzing, wind blowing. I look out from the hillside upon the bright blue sea.

I’ll do whatever I can to savor this chapter, immersed in nature and the perennial melody of existence. It’s been vital for me as a human being.

I write this in the final moments of dusk as I sit upon a set of stone stairs. The light of day has nearly faded from the landscape. Soft grey clouds, steely and subdued in pink, sail across a hazy, half-lit moon.

The sky seems bereft of faults; the clouds drift by in no rush at all, closing the day in stormbound perfection. Night is falling; street lights dawn in the village below. The air is warm, and I resist the temptation to swat at bugs. Yet I do, because I’m only human.

I am only human, a heroic riddle which mystifies the more we try and solve it. Within us there’s a life force as strong as the silver-green olive trees which grow with rain and wind.

During the day, as I prune these ancient trees, I find myself in awe of their might, their graceful branches, the sweetness of their subtle scent. They give me strength.

I feel connected to the past when amongst them, exposed to the open air and dirt, to my endless thoughts and questions. Perhaps we need time to connect with the life that’s always been and always will be. In doing so we connect with our truest self.

We feel how small we are compared to life, yet how elemental is our soul; the cosmos reign in each of us.

We are only human; I want to watch the moon take time to glisten. Maybe time is what we need. Maybe time is what we have. To enjoy our place amongst the stars, instead of only seeking it.

To go about our days not in worry but in awe that the sky felt urged to cry. The night is still. The clouds are somber.

Time isn’t the shadow lurking, but the sun that says don’t be afraid. Savor every ray. Step into the night, freed from your sense of self. Swim in the sea of darkness, for time is in your favor.

We are only human, primitive and wise, linked with an unforeseeable future. Yet we have all of history to look to. It’s in the swaying trees, the drifting clouds, every drop of rain. We are human, small, a part of something greater.

Something greater is a part of us.

It’s 3 am. After the foreshadowing afternoon rain, I hear the rain begin to pour. Again, I head outside. Thunder booms in the hills and flashes of light illuminate the early morning sky.

The sound of falling rain is everything — the past and present, time itself — the quickening, slowing, quickening tempo, the temper of the gods.

I fall asleep, in and out of dreams. I wake for a moment and look out of the large window with metal, crisscrossing bars.

My imagination runs, but I’ve learned to corral it as best as I can. I witness nature’s flash, then comes the long, low, roaring drum of fury — further, closer, everywhere and nowhere.

It’s pouring, absolutely pouring. I’m a kid again, a smiling kid, unable to move. The land and my soul are nourished by the symphony of commotion. The lights won’t turn on; I can’t help but listen to the brilliant summer storm. Time is rectified. It’s so good to be alive.

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