Ocean Hermit – sailing, solitude and stories

My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.

* Words from an unknown hermit – Time (2 of 10)

I’ve written before about the “Hermit Writings of S” and posted his script in its entirety on this site.  See here.

In order to bring his writings to a wider audience, I’m going to post extracts from the Hermit Writings according to various themes which he himself used as sub-titles.  They’re intended as bite-sized chunks that may be more easily digested. He writes well, argues simply and coherently and with a commonsense that is both engaging and intriguing.  Judge for yourself.

Little is know about the man who calls himself S.  He may be living, or have lived, in northern Canada, as there are references to the “huge horseshoe landscape curing around James Bay, the pre-Cambrian Great Canadian Shield, vast tangled forests sieved through the lakes and rivers”.


“Why we need time, long long swaths of undisturbed time, thick impenetrable blankets of time that no one disturbs, why when we know the illusory nature of time and instantaneousness of enlightenment, why do we still need time?

“For hermits, time is like travelling in the huge horseshoe landscape curving around James Bay, the pre-Cambrian Great Canadian Shield, vast tangled forests sieved through with lakes and rivers.  Being among people is like the arduous portage, hiking through thick bush boreal forest with everything you need heavy on your back, tripping over uneven ground, cutting through tangles, losing the way, frightened by sudden encounters with moose or bear, harassed by weather and insects.

“Then there is the hermitage: we shove off alone in our canoe on a lake like glass reflecting the shoreline of pine and birch, rippled only by fish or loon, quiet, reflective and immaculously breathlessly beautiful.  The longer the lake the better, for we can travel unhampered and untroubled, the mind can contemplate, yea, the mind can become this serene liquid movement; and if the lake is long enough we can enter timelessness and peacefulness, so thick and deep and exquisite that apparaitions of the Divine, of Mind, of the Soul, can surface like a leaping trout, sparkle in the sunlight, revealing their liberating wisdom, their incomparable beauty, right before our eyes, right in our hearts.

“Every interruption to a hermit’s solitude, regardless of how useful and discrete it may be, breaks this magical rhthym, plunges us back in to the thicket and briars of ordinary mental noise, which may well take weeks or months to repair.  Only a very accomplished, or exceptionally blessed hermit will be able to remain quietly in the middle of the lake while conversing with pedestrians on the shore.”

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This entry was posted on March 3, 2010 by in Hermits, Hermits & Solitude and tagged , , .
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