It has been three months since the first time I tried to write about this spot on planet earth. It seems that Aranya carries too much meaning for me, that every time I tried to order my thoughts, I accomplished nothing but becoming effusive. Until recently.

Last week, I came across some lines from Claude Lévi-Strauss. It feels like Thanos snapped his fingers and my confusion vanished. I share a similar dilemma about Aranya as Claude feels about mountains: on the one hand, I value the solitude of it, and on the other hand, the solitude may cause the termination of Aranya.

For some years past, this preference has taken the form of a jealous passion. I hated who those shared my predilection, for they were a menace to the solitude I value so highly; and I despised those others for whom mountains meant merely physical exhaustion and a constricted horizon and who were, for that reason, unable to share in my emotions. The only thing that would have satisfied me would have been for the entire world to admit to the superiority of mountains and grant me the monopoly of their enjoyment.

Lévi-Strauss, C. (1992). Tristes tropiques (1955). Trans. John and Doreen Weightman. London: Penguin Books, 333.

In other words, it’s similar to the Arc Reactor for Tony Stark. It is the reactor that keeps Stark alive while the palladium within the reactor is poisoning him.

This is when I fell in love with Aranya. It’s very much like a scene in Oblivion: after a long period of time, humans became barely extinct. Just as Claude wrote in another chapter of the book I quoted above, the signs of the existence of human beings mark out, more clearly than if humans had not been there, the extreme limit that they have attempted to cross. Great nature placates the rebellion of humans and quells my turbulence.

I’m also a diehard fan of open water. Ripples on the surface make him alive. And he’s always here, listening. There’s a peaceful lake on my college campus. Without doubts, that’s the place for the inner me. Every time I approach the lake, the clamour in my mind fades away. It’s like a gigantic jar, purged and stored all my feelings——happy, sad, and everything in between. I always characterize the lake as a pensive old man. Not the style of The Old Man and the Sea, but more like Yoda.

In addition, Aranya is not only the certainty of space but also a state of mind. I’ve been super busy for the past year. And as far as I could tell, the coming one would not be of much leisure. Therefore, some time for simply wandering around is such a luxury for me. In the space opera Star Trek: The Next Generation, there’s some discussion about what makes humans different. Or, in other words, if a single feature of human is picked as the representative of mankind, which one would occupy the place of honour? The answer proposed by scriptwriters is curiosity. And I kind of agree with this one. Sir Ken Robinson once said: There are two types of people in this world: those who divide the world into two types and those who do not. Continuing this manner, I would like to divide the pursuit of curiosity into two kinds: those which require teamwork and those which do not. Throughout the last year, I’m offered some wonderful chances to collaborate with brilliant collaborators. A lost chance never returns. So, collaborations dominated my time. By and large, Aranya becomes the very only and dilapidated refuge for the private part of curiosity.

Every time I plan to spend some time at Aranya, I agonize. I’m so afraid that it may perish. Every visit I paid might be the valediction. I took the beginning picture of this article on my first visit to Aranya. And on my second trip here, it’s gone, encroached by a construction site. The following ones were taken during my first and second visits. Unfortunately, the spot disappeared before my third visit, with no trace. I hate what’s happening out there, but there’s nothing I can do except presenting my raw passion.

How this is gonna end? Maybe Aranya will still be there long after my death, while it’s entirely possible that it’s gone by tomorrow. I guess the only thing I could do and what I’m doing is that enjoy every moment with Aranya until the termination of either one of us.

Who knows where the road will lead us?
Only a fool would say
But if you’ll let me love you
It’s for sure I’m gonna love you
All the way

Sinatra, F. (1957). All the Way.

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