Projects on Nothingness
For my second year on Nothingness I decided live in complete seclusion testing my wilderness survival skills for ten days on the barren rock in the midst of the ocean.
First I performed another thorough Island Cleansing. Next, I began construction on a shelter. Since Nest from the previous year did not provide much protection from the elements, I decided to build a weatherproof cocoon-shaped shelter using two wooden pallets as a base, with a wood frame and a cover made from sailcloth. I also brought a selection of tools and objects to aid my survival.
The weather Gods were kind to me for the most part, and thanks to my sturdy shelter I was able to survive an intense overnight rainstorm. During the full moon, I awoke to the soft murmur of water nearby, realizing that the high tide had risen much higher than usual. Fortunately, I was able to move myself and my belongings to the highest point of Nothingness and remain relatively dry.
I documented my daily activities for the ten days on the island: harvesting seaweeds, cooking on my tiny camp stove, collecting what had washed onto the island at high tide (mostly lobster buoys), kayaking to the neighboring island so that I could harvest pine needles, eating, collecting water, meditating and bathing.
Even though I was blissfully isolated, almost as if I were on my own planet, I could sense that the fishermen in the area had noticed my presence and were possibly observing me through binoculars. I tried to ignore the feeling of being watched as much as I could, and as an “alibi” I always had a tripod and camera visibly set up to look as if I were photographing the abundant bird population around me.
I concluded my stay by giving “offerings” to the island. I donated my last potable water to the bushel of grass on the highest point of the rock and constructed a Mandala from the oatmeal I had left for the bird population to enjoy following my departure.
The experience of living on Nothingness made me feel like Saint-Exupéry's Little Prince, carefully and lovingly tending to my island as if it were the only place in the entire universe. I consider it one of my most special places.