I slept outdoors in a hammock last night. Woke at 0130, just as the mosquitoes fell asleep. Wolves howled in the distance, all sounds and lights from the human world fell away, and shooting stars shimmered across the studded sky. Fireflies and bats flew around where I hung between two trees, swaying slightly, my skin drinking in the cool early morning breeze, an irrepressible smile creeping across my face as I contemplated my cosmic insignificance over gentle wisps of fragrant smoke.

In moments like those, I find it impossible to imagine being anywhere else, to want to do something different.

I feel alive, alone, awake, without apology, anxiety, apprehension.

Sometimes I seek solitude with desperation to get away from other humans, sometimes to sit and commune with God, sometimes to see and hear the beauty of what’s around me, sometimes to breathe and feel life.

And sometimes I’m in solitude to simply be without any intention of doing, thinking, saying anything.

Like I was last night.

I lay there in the dark, the expanse of the heavens with those minuscule spots of lights that’d fascinated man for millennia above me, silence all around me, conscious of a singular realization that ran deeper than words, a thought that dissolved itself into contentment and joy–the simple understanding that I exist, here, in this moment.

Nothing more; nothing less.

In the past, I’ve lived entire days forgetting I am alive, sometimes for weeks at a time. So driven to do I forget to be. Thinking so much over the present the moment passes without my having experienced it deeply, personally. Talking so often, so loud I forget to look around quietly and drink in the human experience.

These days, I live differently.

Suspended above the dew-kissed ground, I drifted back to sleep once my heart and soul was full again, conscious of life and content with it.

The next thing I knew, a rooster crowed at the rising sun.

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