In my younger years it was my passion to journey through some of the greatest expanses of nature. I was inspired to explore their wildness all the way to the horizon.
Now in middle age the vast tracts of wild nature inspire me to be still. It was the storms that raged across the mountains of South West Tasmania that first taught me to be still; holed up in a tent or a cave on the side of a mountain, waiting for the weather to abate. It is in moments of stillness, and when the mind is most quiet, that the truth of nature hits you hardest. It is in moments of stillness, and when the mind is most open, that the nature of truth slaps you across the face to wake you.
These pages are a reflection on the times in my life when I was compelled to break out of the social norms and go and find my true self. It was the wild landscapes I explored that gave me the permission I needed to be myself, and help me to find out what my destiny really was here on earth. What am I doing here? What is my true purpose?
Since the early 80’s I have wandered through some of the planet’s most amazing landscapes. Either with friends or alone I wasn’t interested in the science of ecology but more with the patterns of light and dark and the way a land wove itself together creating its own unique scape. Each journey had a deep and profound effect on me. As I documented my adventures through the lens of my camera and in my journal I would also notice, as time went by, my own inner growth that came directly from my growing sense of place. To understand this better I developed my own ecologically inspired way of thinking and being; which, in the future, I found fitted neatly into the post-Jungian discipline of Ecopsychology.
My most profound journeys are physical outward manifestations of my soul’s inner journey to wholeness – to find spirit. They are unconscious soul-journeys carried out through some innate feeling that they just had to be done no matter what – driven by an inner daimon that just wouldn’t let go.
The combined stories of these pages outline my own personal mythology of my younger years based on pure experience. Through imagination my perception of symbolic awareness grew. The way I understood what I experienced was through analogical thinking. And the language I understood best was metaphor – the language of Nature. When I explore the truth of Nature I am also exploring the nature of Truth. That is how I know that the soul of the landscape mirrors the landscape of my soul.
Gary Caganoff. FIRST STORY