My mother told me that, when I was very little, she used to carry me in long walks through the forest, and that she did that nearly every day through all the seasons. It is almost as if something had entered me, then, a longing for solitude, for the woods and meadows, some thing that whispered to me: 'I am not of this world.'
As soon as I could walk, I would run through silvery, chest-high grass under an orange sun while she would paint watercolours sitting on the crest of a nearby hillock. I'd play hide and seek with gigantic dark brown menhirs or encounter strangely freezing currents of air around old, abandoned watermills.
And a few summers later, I'd already prance through the Alpine woodlands of Salzburg where relatives owned a small patch of forest. Inside of it, there was nothing to mark the borders of property, continuously it spread over mountainsides and narrow, shadowy valleys that had never been inhabited by man. Crouched down next to a small brook, I'd listen to the water trickle and gurgle endlessly by, and then on climbing tours and hiking trips I'd incessantly invent spontaneous nonsense-verses and drive my step-father mad, savouring the helplessness of that oxymoronic, because academic, philosopher in the face of words and expressions without meaning but with higher sense: a primal, deep-rooted sense in an utterance of nature itself whose voice I had become.
p.s. much later my good Zen teacher, when seeing some applicants and pulling some customary unlearn-what-you’ve-learned-jokes on most, upon seeing me just said: Ah! you know. He saw that I had once been taught by Mother Nature, already- and consequently treated me much harsher than the others [but that’s a different tale]...