Travel Diary/Scotland. Aug.15 (Part 3)

Death by Nature!

Sunday 09/08/2015

It is often said that the simple things are the most enjoyable things in life.

The night before was pretty scary. Our tent was sheltered by a rock wall which helped with the rainy and windy night, but we were on a slope and I remember waking up several times that night and staring at the tent’s “ceiling” thinking that the next gush of wind will be so strong that I will roll over Tom and we will tumble down all the way to the beach.

Eventually the morning came and a new day was born. The sight was breathtaking and we were glad and felt privileged to wake up and enjoy the view and privacy of our little chosen spot. There is something utterly amazing and special to wake up in Nature. You feel instantly energised and whole!

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The day before we spotted a deer carcass on the other side of the seashore. The tides were low when we left that morning so we decided to stop and check it out.
It was pretty gruesome, but there is something very beautiful in seeing Nature reclaiming its own creation. Seeing how it all goes back to her and how she delicately envelop and covers what was once a breathing and living thing with another form of life, for the sole purpose of keeping the cycle going.

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It reminded me of a beautiful poem by Charles Baudelaire “Une Charogne” (A Carcass).

A Carcass

My love, do you recall the object which we saw,

That fair, sweet, summer morn!

At a turn in the path a foul carcass

On a gravel strewn bed,

Its legs raised in the air, like a lustful woman,

Burning and dripping with poisons,

Displayed in a shameless, nonchalant way

Its belly, swollen with gases.

The sun shone down upon that putrescence,

As if to roast it to a turn,

And to give back a hundredfold to great Nature

The elements she had combined;

And the sky was watching that superb cadaver

Blossom like a flower.

So frightful was the stench that you believed

You’d faint away upon the grass.

The blow-flies were buzzing round that putrid belly,

From which came forth black battalions

Of maggots, which oozed out like a heavy liquid

All along those living tatters.

All this was descending and rising like a wave,

Or poured out with a crackling sound;

One would have said the body, swollen with a vague breath,

Lived by multiplication.

And this world gave forth singular music,

Like running water or the wind,

Or the grain that winnowers with a rhythmic motion

Shake in their winnowing baskets.

The forms disappeared and were no more than a dream,

A sketch that slowly falls

Upon the forgotten canvas, that the artist

Completes from memory alone.

Crouched behind the boulders, an anxious dog

Watched us with angry eye,

Waiting for the moment to take back from the carcass

The morsel he had left.

— And yet you will be like this corruption,

Like this horrible infection,

Star of my eyes, sunlight of my being,

You, my angel and my passion!

Yes! thus will you be, queen of the Graces,

After the last sacraments,

When you go beneath grass and luxuriant flowers,

To molder among the bones of the dead.

Then, O my beauty! say to the worms who will

Devour you with kisses,

That I have kept the form and the divine essence

Of my decomposed love!

— William Aggeler,

The Flowers of Evil

(Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild,1954)

You can read the original poem in French here.

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