A Walk in Time. Born in October

Ice Age Old

Rustling leaves on an autumn walk

We all love an autumn walk and dragging our feet through the rustling carpet of colourful leaves bedding a forest path in fall. Ochre, crimson, copper or brown, depending on what decomposing stage they were when they fell from the trees, the dead leaves work their magic on us. 

We greedily take in the soothing feeling selflessly provided by nature, the bit of sanity so much needed, and the escape provided by a few hours hike to recharge our batteries. We selfishly don’t give anything back, though.

We walk, drag our feet, pick a chlorophyll-deprived leaf and discard it later when the acceptance follows. The acceptance that the summer is gone, the vegetation is dying again its implacable death, and the earth takes a break to recover and replenish its strength to sustain a new life cycle in the coming spring.

Then we close our eyes and turn to the sunlight. The colour we perceive is not a warm, bright coral as in the summer months but a more sluggish, glowing peach.

This is the time when the mind becomes free to wander.

Mine is invariably attracted like a magnet to the old times. Ice age-old. Older than that. And so starts a walk in time.

With the amalgamation of thoughts comes the acceptance that I don’t know something that feels essential. Sixteen years of state education are wasted on me. It gets worse. Over two decades of intense reading, researching various sources and putting the information together takes me nowhere else than to the acceptance that Socrates’s words will forever be painfully right: the only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing!

And it is true. I walk onto the rustling carpet and know nothing beyond recognising the names of the trees by their leaves or trunks. Or that I’m not supposed to eat a beautiful red mushroom springing up from among dried ferns. Or any other mushroom, for that matter, even if some are edible (not that I know precisely which are); spores might contaminate them from the poisonous ones carried by the wind. Helluva valuable knowledge!

Poisonous mushrooms in a forest

I wonder again, for the umpteenth time, when had my species decided it was the brightest there ever was and based on what?

Neanderthals had a brain once and a half bigger than ours. Yet, our “experts” believe they did not have a language. Based on what, I wonder again? On the fact that they did not write endless, useless dinosaur treaties on their cave’s walls? 

Well, I’m writing on a PC right this moment; where will this insignificant piece of “wisdom” be in thirty thousand years? My PC will be prehistoric plastic by then, and the entire internet will be lost in the ether. The difference is, whatever species will live then won’t be far from the truth when they establish our species was pretty dumb.

Somehow, the Neanderthals dwindled and disappeared about 30,000 years ago. Not before they interbred with Homo sapiens, the fancy new species – sexier, taller, cooler. The new kids in town! So that we all have at least two per cent Neanderthal in our genes – perhaps where our intelligence resides.

Prehistoric hand prints on cave walls

Some more time after that moment, a long winter (no, not that one John Snow was obsessed about, but a real one) took over a large part of the planet. No farther than ten thousand years ago, the tribes that populated Southern Europe (nowadays scorched under a torrid sun in the summer) had to hide deep into the caves to survive the endless months of snow and ice. Many never made it out alive. Their bones were recently discovered, and yet another set of suppositions became the norm. More lengthy treaties filled the libraries’ shelves.

Indeed, the truth might be far from everything we suppose. No way to argue either way. Even if supposedly somebody lived that long to witness all this, who would believe a word they say? (I’m only saying this because I’m reading a book based on such a hypothesis; everything is allowed in fiction! The book is part of a series called The Immortal Collection by Eva García Sáenz for those curious.)

Prehistoric cave painting

What we smugly call “primitive people” (conveniently dismissing the reality that we will also be “primitives” not long from now!) indeed painted their caves. Unfortunately, they did not leave anything written, so possibly they did not have a language either. Right? The ways of logic…

Later, the ice retreated to the steppes in the far north. The humans came out of their caves. Their lands and horizons expanded. The mammoths were long gone, so they had to invent something other than hunting to occupy their time and thrive.

Agriculture came into the picture, ever-growing communities, greed. Wars to claim what belonged to others. More greed. Flourishing civilisations. Crumbling civilisation. Even more greed – the root of all evil!

Somewhere in the middle of all this, there was a long-lasting and widespread European civilisation called Getae. They loved and protected the forests in which they lived. They ought to have known the uses of all the plants I’m looking at as I walk the woods and many others, long extinct. 

(Diverging, because it bugs me: Australia, a massive slice of the supercontinent Gondwana that split up almost 200 million years ago, has managed to preserve prehistoric flora and fauna beautifully. All until the Brits colonised their shores about two hundred years ago. Today, Australia witnesses the worst extinction rate in the world, affecting plants, animals and aboriginals. All courtesy to the “enlightenment”.)

Back to the Getae. Of course, they did not leave written traces, so “logically”, they were pretty dumb. Except they understood nature, knew the use of every single plant at which I was staring cluelessly, and could perform brain surgery using natural sedatives that worked just as well as the chemical cocktail of anaesthetics and analgesics used today. 

They understood it was out of the question to heal the body while ignoring the soul. Their mysticism is almost impossible even to fathom today.

They knew so many things, which they passed on to the next generation orally, as the tradition continues nowadays in small, isolated communities around the Carpathian Mountains. Orally!  

One of these days, somebody ought to crack the writings on the eight-thousand-year-old clay tablets found in the heart of Romania, the Getae’s territory. Yes, tablets scribbled in an alphabet so old nobody knows how to interpret. Eight thousand years ago is long before the hieroglyphs or cuneiforms popped up.

Their healing knowledge must have been reliable since, many millennia later, the Greeks assumed it and used it to create the basis of modern medicine. 

Wild plants; medicinal use of plants

Later, but still far back in BC, a smart old guy called Zalmoxis came into the picture. A wise king, Zalmoxis renounced his Getae throne to become an ascetic and initiate his nation in immortality’s metaphysical secrets. 

Like a few others after him, this guy went into a cave at some point, and his people believed him dead. He re-emerged four years later (not three days!), very much alive and mega-spiritualised and taught his people that the soul is immortal. It does not commence nor end with a physical form. The physical form is only temporary accommodation for the soul capable of transcending infinite time and space.

It might be why the Getae accepted that the ephemeral body is not as important as the spiritual existence. It might be why they fought their wars with a ferocity never matched, not afraid of death but looking forward to the next reincarnation, the next temporary accommodation. 

Others who wrote their history on sheep-skin parchments, such as a certain Alexander the Great, advised their armies to carefully avoid upsetting the Getae because that would be their (tragic) end.

The Getae did not fear death, and rightfully so. What would one have to worry they would die when immortality was always going to be more alluring? When the soul will always find another vessel. When, if the current life might not be fabulous, the next one could be quite different, and reincarnation would always be an option?

Wiser beyond our current understanding capacity, the Getae would cry and woe the day a child was born into this wicked world and partied hard at each funeral. 

To think of it, what a better send-off than with barrels of drinks splashed in your memory with best wishes of “have a great next existence, mate!” organic food, music and ritual dancing?

Who today understands this? Many are strangers to the knowledge. Who really cares about origins, roots, and spirituality in a highly materialised existence? 

The few who give a damn wrote books with their suppositions we are free to accept or not. My genial late friend used to say this.

I’m still hiking the forest and having this strange and challenging time explaining that nothing is as we believe it to be. And I mean nothing, from mammoth extinction to the first acknowledged written alphabet and the Pyramids.

I drag my feet through the rustling leaves and take pleasure from their death. And I enjoy better nature in its dying hour – when it is at its most beautiful, than when it comes back to life in spring—somewhat celebrating its death and lamenting its birth.

But what do I know? I was born in October and might be ten thousand years old. Though I still know nothing.

Ice Age Old

The World Is An Oyster

Working as a journalist during university was pretty exciting. But landing a cruise ship job barely a year in my new graduate career was something else! Overnight, I moved from an already exhilarating job to an even better one. One that would allow me to wake up every morning in a different country. What more can a twenty-something wish for? The fact that I was fluent in a few languages helped. It made it easier to obtain the position I was seeking at the Shore Excursions department. Apart from dispatching tours in the morning and selling tickets in the evening, I would spend nearly every day on different trips. I did this a few years, spending half a year onboard and about two months at home. I enjoyed it immensely. I met fascinating people from all over the Globe and collected memories to last me a lifetime. Not to mention that I received a salary for seeing all those magnificent places the Earth has to offer! In an ideal world, everybody should live as they want. For me, that would translate into travel, then travel some more and keep travelling!

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62 Responses

  1. Sarah says:

    Ah, I love your walk in time history breakdown. I think a lot of people in a lot of places are ignorant of their history, especially beyond a generation or two and it`s really a shame because we can learn so much from the past. I will admit, that before today I had never heard of the Getea. Now I have learned something new while learning about something old!

  2. Lisa says:

    A very introspective post! I never thought about taking a hike and enjoying the fall leaves as taking pleasure in their death, but it’s true. Thank you for the thought-provoking post!

  3. Daphne says:

    Reflection, gratitude, it is so important. Thank you for sharing such an insightful post.

  4. Karletta says:

    I love your mind and what you share. So many mysteries … we will never know, but have the privilege to ponder.

  5. Jeri says:

    This was another captivating story! I love the history that you have written, so fascinating! I will look at the changing leaves in a different way now!

  6. Joanna says:

    I’m always mesmerized by your writing whether it’s about travel, history, art, or a simple autumn walk which leads to much deeper thoughts and ruminations. Another great one Mihaela!

  7. Freya says:

    Your posts are always so thought provoking. Autumn is my favourite time if the year, and I hadn’t considered that it’s the death of one phase, and allowing another rebirth.

  8. Marita says:

    What a beautiful reflection. I could see your feet stepping through the rustling leaves while reading. It is the time to reflect on all changes.

  9. What a fantastic and well-spoken, way to describe the change of season, the change of life.
    Truly well don, thank you

  10. What a wonderful reflection! So endearing. I love when summer turns into autumn.

  11. Ana says:

    What a wonderful read with a great history lesson! It’s interesting to think about what will be written about us and our primitive thinking. Thank you for the beautiful reflection of changing seasons and our tiny role in this intriguing world.

  12. Hadassah says:

    Love your reflections about autumn! I am born in September and autumn is my favorite season. Wonderful photos! You gave me a lot of things to think about… 🙂

  13. AISilva says:

    Thanks for the great post! Your writing always makes me ponder. It’s interesting to think in 30,000 years there won’t be a trace of what we have thought, done or written! I also agree, in relative terms, compared to those 30,000 years from now we will also be considered primitive!

  14. Richie says:

    What a great post, managing to be both entertaining and educational at the same time. Thank you.

    And anybody that uses the word ‘umpteenth’ in a post automatically ranks more highly in my blogger evaluation league table! (that’s just metaphorically speaking, of course – I don’t really keep a league table!)

  15. Jamie says:

    Love this and love Autumn! We just went for a walk this morning and the weather is perfect here. Thanks for sharing this!

  16. Adriane says:

    The photos are amazing. We love fall.

  17. Tasha says:

    Great title! I grew up in Connecticut and now live in New Orleans. I miss seeing the fall leaves very much.

  18. Angie says:

    Such a great reflection on the most beautiful time of the year for me, autumn. And such a great reminder to enjoy it a little more than I do now. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Autumn is the best/most beautiful time for a walk to reflect and ponder. It’s a shame we think we know it all. We should always be learning, changing, and growing. Thanks for some new information and new things for me to think about! Also, beautiful photos!

  20. I loved the title. So poetic. And inspires to take a hike!
    Also I should mention I was born in October. 😉

  21. Jenn Summers says:

    Incredible post and so very informative. I must say I love Socrates’ quote although I do not believe I have heard it prior to today. I often wonder how we think we know so much about the world around us yet it is dying at an extremely fast rate due to our interactions with it. Perhaps those Neanderthals were much smarter after all.

  22. Briony says:

    Wow, that was the most amazing read. Such an endearing article. I love it.

  23. Katiesaway says:

    This looks like an amazing place!!! We have been out all autumn picking mushrooms in the forest and loving it!

  24. Vee says:

    Beautiful writing. I absolutely loved your descriptions of walking through the leaves. Made me think of many wonderful trips to our local forest!

  25. hari says:

    there is no doubt that Autumn is the time for reflecting on our lives.
    thanks for sharing this highly descriptive post.

  26. Autumn is my favourite time of the year. It’s the time to reflect and ponder. And your post just does that. Brilliant.

  27. Andrea says:

    Love it! The autumn is so beautiful!

  28. I love Autumn!!! The way you describe nature and beauty is too good. Thanks for sharing this.

  29. Sehar says:

    Such a nice and interesting post. It made me want to go out for a nice and quiet walk to relax ❤️

  30. Tammy Harris says:

    Such a beautiful post. I love how beautifully written this is. Thank you for writing and looking forward to reading more of your stories~

  31. Jeannie says:

    missing autumn weather and the beautiful color of leaves. It‘s my favourite weather I‘m always mesmerize. thanks for sharing this.

  32. What a beautiful, reflective post! Autumn seems like the perfect time to reflect on life’s challenges and triumphs. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

  33. What a beautiful post! I love the way you talk about nature and its beauty – there’s just something so magical about it. The colours, the promise of something new. It’s just a wonderful time of year 😁

  34. Monica says:

    What a beautiful post, I really enjoyed reading it and it made me miss autumn with its colors and atmosphere already … we are just entering summer where I live here in New Zealand.

  35. Sarah Styf says:

    This is really a lovely look at autumn, one of my favorite times of year and living in Texas now makes me a little sad because I miss out on much of the beauty of the strong change in seasons.

  36. Glowyshoe says:

    October is usually the best time of the year for me in terms of climate change.. I enjoyed reading through your post.

  37. Alexandra says:

    What a beautifully written and informative piece. Sometimes we are so stuck in our own head that we don’t appreciate the world around us and how others lived.

  38. The best time of the year for walking in nature. To relax, recharge and reflect over everything. Nice post

  39. Lindsay says:

    Wow, such an wonderful and reflective post. Made me feel like going on a walk and doing some reflecting!

  40. Cassie says:

    This is such an amazing post. The way you write is beautiful, and I learned so much about the Getae! I love going on walks and listening to podcasts as a form of self-care, but I think I have realized that I need to find a spot near my house to enjoy nature and what the seasons bring us. Thank you for sharing!

  41. Kimberlie says:

    This was an extremely informative post. I had never before heard of the Getae. I agree with their teadition of mourning births and celebrating deaths and to some extent it it the same in the culture of was raised in. I will never look at a walk the same again.

  42. Karine says:

    I love your reflections about Autumn, its such a beautiful season that we often take for granted. I make an effort to notice more whats happening around me and the beauty of nature.

  43. I love the way you write about nature and it’s beauty, but also express how we take it for granted. I can honestly say I learned new information about the Getae! But what had me thinking the most is when you said that greed is the root of all evil. Unfortunately, this world is full of greed, war, and people not respecting nature. Thank you for giving some perspective and sharing your knowledge!

  44. Gabriela says:

    What a splendid read. I feel like Fall is getting us ready for the new year and the new comings or new beginnings of life.

  45. The change of seasons is so beautiful (despite my resistance to cold weather) and I try to appreciate all of the change happening around me.

    Nathalia | NathaliaFit – Fitness & Wellness Blog

    • Jere Cassidy says:

      Your article is very thought-provoking and reflective. I love Autumn for the fact it slows me down. You have enlightened me on the Getea as this is new to me. Unfortunately, we live our lives in greed now.

      • You would be surprised to know that even some Romanians have no clue about their ancestors, even if I believe it is mentioned in school. Greed and the internet=reduced brain and other interests in life, unfortunately:(

  46. What a beautiful post. Helped me to reflect on many things. Autumn is certainly a beautiful and reflective time of year.

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