It was atop a boulder partway up Bear Butte in the Black Hills that my critical mind loosened its tentacles from around my physical senses and allowed them to connect with the world unfiltered. I never decided what I seeing, smelling, touching, hearing, tasting. It didn’t matter. When I identify what I am sensing, I distinguish myself from the world around me; I mark myself as the control center for signals being sent from a separate entity. When I can turn off the control panel, nature grows up and around it, like vines growing over a backyard fence, and eventually the structure breaks down into the soil and becomes one with the earth.
Look at this:
And there was no god orchestrating the beauty. The symphony needed no conductor because the instruments kept time to the heartbeat they all shared. Every being was connected because it was all really the same being. My mind operated with no more complication than a water molecule rising into the sky or a plant growing toward the sun. The wind made me shiver. My brain made me blink out the dust. The air made my goose bumps rise. My brain made me sniffle when my nose got runny. While the wind and my brain and my eyes and the air and my skin and my nose could each have their own identity, each identity was temporary and arbitrary, existing in only one point in time and space. As time passes the building blocks of each identity destruct and reconstruct, and no identities repeat in space. So while I could try to attach identities to the fleeting groupings around me it was easier to stop trying to hold them in place and let them fall as they may, flowing over one another, becoming one another, like notes in a chord or a body decomposing into soil. I gradually regained my sense of consciousness, but I never lost the feeling of connectivity. I started picking up rocks and throwing them as far as I could. It feels good to manipulate your environment when the effects are so immediate and directly related to your actions. It was like I was recreating my identity by exploring my power. Even though my identity is temporary, and my power is easily swallowed in infinite space, I can appreciate my place.
To appreciate your power and understand your powerlessness is the greatest connection with nature.