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The end of the world


Dear Jim,

We decided to hike to the most northern point of the island.

From here you can see the north pole.

It is an overnight hike, and graded "expert".

If I had known this before we left, I may not have gone.

But we didn't.

And so off we went.

It was an endurance test.

A test of faith.

Easily the most difficult terrain I have ever hiked.

There were many points where I wondered if my knees/ankles/lungs would give out.

And then suddenly you are at the edge of the world.

And it takes your breath away.

The ocean stretches out below, and it looks as if you could walk straight out across it and into the sky.

And it does cross my mind;

If we knew that this is where we get to go, at the end of all things, to walk out into the clear wide open, to enter the cool, clean air, then maybe we wouldn't be so afraid?

If only we knew, that instead of a numbing expanse of infinite nothing, we get to step out to where the sea meets the sky, and become part of the infinite light.

A few years back, you told me you were a nature mystic, and suggested that I might be one too.

At the time, I didn't really understand what this meant, but if I have it right, if it is to find connection, and power, and energy from the earth, if it is to be overwhelmed by its beauty, if it is to find magic, and life, and meaning in the sky and the seas and the birds, then yes, I too am a nature mystic.

And I don't believe in heaven, or hell, or any gods described in scriptures (though I love the stories), but the power of the earth gives me great comfort.

And, at the end of all things, I wish nothing more than to return to it.


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© Alisa Tanaka-King 2020