Can spiritual satisfaction be gained as the result of a connection with the natural world? For a moment it seemed Mother Nature might be enough; no matter what else, I could always dip into the comfort of her aesthetics, conveniently push aside every real-world anxiety to pursue the dreamy alternative. The sparkling snow, the crisp air of a pine forest, the rushing of a mountain stream oh god (these are the kinds of things I notice in the wilderness) — that wonderful feeling of true isolation, the truest company one can keep…apart from maybe God… In appreciating these things I conceive dimly of a superior person who does not appreciate these things; rather, he lives them, he embodies them without self-consciousness and without intellectual pretension. In other words, this person has no need to placate a simmering psyche with vague, frustrated descriptors or with field recordings of Ghana and Tokyo and Thailand (evocative as they are!). He no longer craves the artificial escape; by now he doesn’t even remember a time when he did. Meanwhile, my actual life becomes an endless crusade to the understanding of a mystical existence I can never fully experience.