The Great Escape
I'm not going to tell you where I am today. That
will remain my little secret. I am willing to describe my
surroundings for you though ...
My tent rests on a small patch of tough and wiry
grass, the blades speckled white from salt spray. Immediately behind
me rises a cliff about 20 metres high, very steep and impossible to
climb. Off to my right stretches a gentle curve of sand. I haven't
walked down that way yet this morning, so no footprints mar the
smooth and unblemished surface. On my left is a jumble of boulders
and stones, dark with moisture, and containing many cracks and
fissures, out of which peek swarms of tiny crabs. And in front of me,
stretching off into the distance until lost at the grey horizon
Well, I think that by now you know what lies in
front of me. Yes, it's the sea. I have come here, to this special
very private place that I have discovered, to spend some time by
myself, sitting on the beach gazing out at the sea. The entrance to
this little cove is blocked by the high tide, and it is thus always
completely deserted. In this place, just a short train journey from
my home, I am guaranteed privacy.
Sometimes, rather than this seacoast, it is to a
hidden bend of the OOO River that I go, sometimes it is to a place I
know nestled deep in a valley in the OOO Mountains, surrounded by
birch and aspen trees. I have made myself a 'collection' of these
private places, to which I escape any time that I feel the need. I
take my backpack, inside which is a small tent, a sleeping bag, some
food, and a little stove on which to cook it.
I have made it a rule never to take any books with
me. The purpose of these trips is not to keep my mind busy, but to do
exactly the reverse - to try and learn how to do nothing. And
usually, I succeed. I completely 'waste my time'. Isn't that a
terrible thing for somebody living in Japan to say! Sometimes as I
sit there in one of my private places, I think about the 125,000,000
people running around this way and that all over these islands, and I
want to remind them that it's OK to slow down for a few minutes ...
Yes, I love the energy of the Japanese people, and I greatly respect
their achievements, but I do wish that they found it a bit easier to
relax sometimes. This is a very wide and spacious country; there are
many peaceful places in which to unwind.
But there's no way that I'm going to tell you
where my three private places are!