top of page

STOIC POETRY | An uncomplaining camp

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

Emotions are a curious thing to ride upon. They jump and jostle and jolt and then rest, before picking up again and tossing all about. As a young man, I wore my emotions upon my face, and my actions and reactions were a sure giveaway and barometer to whatever inner circumstance I was enduring. Like a private season and climate of the mind; at once halcyon and pleasant with sunshine and cool breezes, while changing like day to night to darkness and rustlings in the night. Storms of feeling could appear suddenly, bringing thoughts and words like thunder and rain.

With age, these seasons have tempered less than become better borne; though in fact there is less tempest to the day's troubles when the day is regarded as little more than a brief and ephemeral flash and glow upon the face of an eternal darkening night. For with age comes a better sense of mortality, as our footsteps grow weary from walking long, and we perceive a nice place for a last camp some distance off in the foothills of that dark mount. Never mind the fact of snow flurries passing before the face, or lightning flashing far off upon the silent peaks, great fury and tempest to be sure, though at such a distance as to render the voice of the storm mute. So too, your own still voice despite whatever fear may be growing within. Age has granted you a mute voice, and a mute face, and perhaps even a mute mind should such a thing be sought for along the way from birth to now.

And when the camp is reached, and our preparations for night are complete; we can then sit there upon stones and in the wind beside whatever shelter we have found. And if we are bold we will kindle no fire and consume only the simplest of whatever rations remain. We are alone now at this camp - even if someone else is with us - we are alone. We know now that we've always been just one in this passage along The Path of Wildness, a journey from nowhere to nowhere in what we now understand was the course of a single dawn leading to a singular nightfall. We will not survive this coming night. Our camp will be utterly gone when the sun rises upon the others. A few will remember us for a time. And in another time none will know our name. And still, upon these vain reflections, our voice, face, and perhaps even our mind remain mute. Such a good end. To return without complaint, or voice even, to the empty from which we once did emerge.


My name is Kurt Bell.

You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.

Be safe... But not too safe.

27 views0 comments


bottom of page