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Observations placeholder

Haig, Matt - Reasons to stay alive - 06 Communing with Nature



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Matt Haig - Reasons to stay alive  


TO THE SOUTH of lbiza there is the small island of Formentera, fourth-largest of the Balearic Islands. Me and Andrea used to go there sometimes on rare days off. It was a place of white beaches and pristine water – the cleanest in the whole Mediterranean due to UNESCO-protected seagrasses under the water. It was the calming yin to Ibiza's frenetic yang. Its small population of two thousand people is dotted liberally with artists, hippies and yoga instructors (if you look at it on the map you'll see it is shaped like an upside down V as if the island is continually in downward dog pose). It retained a sixties vibe. Bob Dylan spent some time living in the lighthouse at Cap de Barbaria, on the island's southernmost tip.

Formentera was also where Joni Mitchell wrote the album Blue.

I used to have a phobia about the Balearics. Couldn't face the idea of them, as it was on lbiza that I began to fall apart. But now when I think of a calm place, I think of here. I picture its landscape of juniper and almond trees. I think of that sea as well. So bright and blue and clear.

I think of the names of its small villages, and harbour.

And beaches. Es Pujol, El Pilar de la Mola, La Savina, Ca de Barbaria, Playa Illetes. And, most evocative of all, the name of the island itself.

When I feel the tension rising I sometimes close my eyes and think of it, the word rolling like soft pristine saltwater against sand. Formentera, Formentera, Formentera . . .

The source of the experience

Haig, Matt

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps





Communing with nature