(November 3) Yesterday’s buzz and blur of travel, customs, and government level security clearance left me drained. The Ecotopians I met seemed eager to talk and get to know me, but I find myself stressed by the constant human interaction. Just this morning I rose at 5:45AM to briefly slip away to the forest for a quiet sunrise. I encountered the entirety of my housemates already awake and strapping on hiking shoes. They called me over to join their trip!
I acquiesced out of social discomfort and we voyaged to the famed Ecotopian forest. As the sun crept above the horizon, I slowly crept out of my shell. The Ecotopians were great company in spite of my desire for alone time. I learned about the cellular structure of a native algae that we harvested minutes later as a mid-hike snack. We trekked for a couple of miles, passing dozens of varieties of trees, bushes, vines, and more flora I could not name.
Eventually one of the Ecotopians stopped the group to embrace a nearby tree. The others floated over to surrounding trees, wrapping their arms around them, as if greeting old friends. Then, they were climbing! The whole group scaled the trees in no time, pulling me along behind them. “We believe all of your senses must know nature, especially touch.” Countless echoes of the mantra rang through the trees.
I climbed. My arms stung and the harsh bark dug into my hands, but the experience felt…natural. Maybe they were right about touch. When my head above the canopy, I was struck by the gorgeous, scarlet sun rise I had wanted so badly to see alone. I closed my eyes and breathed. I could get used to people like this, and sights like these.