Skip to main content

Paths That Lead Nowhere


Heidegger says:

"Wood" is an old name for forest. In the wood there are paths, mostly overgrown, that come to an abrupt stop where the wood is untrodden.

They are called Holzwege.

Each goes its separate way, though within the same forest. It often appears as if one is identical to another. But it only appears so. Woodcutters and forest keepers know these paths. They know what it means to be on a Holzweg."

Most of the time, since such paths have been covered over with time, the uninitiated will find themselves losing their tracks. They try to trace their path back, to see where they took a wrong step, but only to find out again that the path suddenly disappears. The path unknowingly ends. There seems to be no next step. This is where the path comes to a stop and where the sojourner has to decide. Shall he turn around and head back or shall he go on off the beaten track? For sometimes, when he is patient, he may find new paths. But he knows. He knows that the danger of moving on off the track is that he may lose his way in the dark heart of the forest. And there he shall be forever lost.

But seldom still, such paths may lead to a clearing in the forest. There, woodcutters work on their timber, using the light which finally pierces through the otherwise dark wood. There one can finally see. See whatever may show itself. Listen amidst the deafening silence of the wood. And wait for the coming. This is the Lichtung. This is the clearing where nothing can be done but to wait.

Wait until one would have to leave the clearing, and again walk on paths that may lead to nowhere, or to yet another clearing. But what is important is that one leave the clearing.

One cannot wait forever.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Fields of Amorsolo

The first National Artist in Philippine history, referred to warmly as the “Grand Old Man of Philippine Art,” Fernando Amorsolo (1892–1972) still stands today as a looming figure in Philippine art responsible for being one of the artists who helped define what we up to now visually imagine as essentially Filipino. The images of rural life, of golden fields below clear blue, blue skies; the smiles of farmers which diminish their weariness as they plant, harvest, and winnow rice;most especially the iconic figure of the Filipina maiden working in the fields—the beloved dalagang bukid--; these, I believe, even after generations of Filipino painters since Amorsolo, have remained in our hearts and memory. Amorsolo did what great masters do for their country: bestow upon it its own icons, represent its native beauty, that is, to give its people and lands an identity and a face. There are, however, as many intentions for art as there are works of art. And these intentions will always remain in…

Without Why (The Rose) II

Lifetime is a child at play; moving pieces in a game.
Kingship belongs to the child.

Heraclitus, Fragment 52


The child at play never asks itself why it plays. The child just plays; and if it could, it will play as long as possible, it will play throughout its life. See its delight and witness its smile.

If it would never go hungry or if the sun would never set it too will never leave its playmates and playthings. Time flies at play because it stops or suspends time. Time -- as we grownups only know too well -- is the culprit for order, schedules and priorities; yet for the child, there is no time, there is only bottomless play. It is we who impose that this or that should be done at this or that time. We stop the absurd and supposedly endless play ("He does nothing but play") because we insist that discipline, order and priorities be instilled in the child at an early age ("He needs to learn other things beside playing"). So that the child will become like us one da…

A Love Sooner than Later

BROWN PENNY William Butler YeatsI whispered, 'I am too young,' And then, 'I am old enough'; Wherefore I threw a penny To find out if I might love. 'Go and love, go and love, young man, If the lady be young and fair.' Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny, I am looped in the loops of her hair. O love is the crooked thing, There is nobody wise enough To find out all that is in it, For he would be thinking of love Till the stars had run away And the shadows eaten the moon. Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny, One cannot begin it too soon.

*
One cannot begin to love too soon--conversely, one should not love too late or in life's demise. That waiting for the "right time," or the "right person" to love, what are these but the cries or sighs of an unready, even tired, heart? One becomes ready only when one begins to understand love slowly (or again), and one understands love progressively when one, simply, performs the act of love. Love, like mos…