Bart Och - Travel Journalist

People often say it is important to look inward in order to find the strength or meaning of life or whatever else people say. But the most enriching moments, the most enlightening experiences, what keeps life worth living, I think, are when you are looking outward, at least metaphorically. For most of us, almost all the time, we are looking inward, at ourselves, thinking about how things matter to us or because of us or with us at the focal point, concentrated on how we look and how we act and how important we are – or aren’t. But if you really look inward, there is nothing there. We are out here. In every little detail, of every little thing, in every little moment – in immersing into all the unfathomable features of the simple and mundane, and in realising, viscerally, what it means that you can perceive at all. That is where, I think, life is. I believe if there is any kind of spiritual experience, it isn’t when you look in to find yourself, but when you look out to lose yourself.

In the pale blue sky, planes draw behind long white lines that lazily disperse into the thin air. There is a bunch of clouds scattered across it too, which are a light-ish grey with a sort of orange edge to them. They are fluffy looking like cotton balls or maybe the inside of a cushion. The sun is behind one of the big ones, and it is sort of glowing through adding an orange layer to the bottom of the sky. It all blends together. No hard lines, just seamless colours and textures mixed perfectly. The orange looks warm. It is pure and bright and intense like the heat of a candle flame. At least for the orange, you could probably feel it without feeling anything warm. And the blue is light like it has been washed or faded. It is also hitting the water now and reflecting a similar colour. The water looks like jagged, melted glass. It is almost pulsing; it looks alive. It is kind of ominous. There are a bunch of rocks scattered around on the edge of the shoreline. They kind of look like headstones beset with fibrous strands of dry string algae that looks like long strands of tangerine hair. There are some small, pebble-sized ones, too. They are round, but also not. They look earthy. A bunch of little, tiny lines and divots run up and down each of them. They have slightly different patterns but none of them is symmetrical so the shapes and markings don’t really match or look like an actual shape. One is kind of clear and transparent – probably a sea glass. I hold it in front of me towards the sun. You can almost see through it. Noticing how absurd and fascinating everything is, how complex and hard it is to describe anything fully, to see and understand anything entirely, I find myself experiencing a strange sensation. Here, on the shore of Lake Geneva, I found gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy this world in such a way that not everyone can. The extreme appreciation of things most of us take for granted and the ability not just to look but to see.

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