Sustenance, originally uploaded by Jeremy Snell.

Our sense of perception seemed to be tuned in to a different and clearer reception, and we smelt, saw, and listened to everything around us as if we were tiny children witnessing nothing but miracles. All these little things were everyday matters, such as a little drop of water shaping up to fall from the tip of a green leaf. We let drops spill from our hands to see them sparkle like jewels against the morning sun. No precious stone polished by human hands could shine with more liveliness than this liquid jewel in the flame of the sun. We were rich; we could bail them up by handfuls and let them trickle by the thousands through our fingers and run away, because an infinity of these jewels kept pouring out of the rock. The melodious dance of the little stream below us, formed of this treasure, tempted us to shake pink hibiscus flowers from the branches and let them sail away, rotating and leaping down the tiny rapids between the smooth boulders. They were messengers to the sea, the magician's kettle that gave birth to all life, the perpetual purifier that cleaned the ugly village water from the river's mouth and sent it skyward and back to the hidden birthplace of our little spring.

Humanistic overtones and youthful idealism aside, I'm very much enjoying Thor Heyerdahl's Fatu-Hiva: Back to Nature, an account of his one-year stay on an island in the Marquesas group in Polynesia.


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