Of all acts which make us truly human, perhaps to cry is the most forceful. It’s a moment in which emotion, pleasant or unpleasant, neither seen nor touched, becomes material and spills. It’s a shedding as metaphorical as it is physical. And crying brings a certain pleasure, a fact once remarked upon by the great Ovid. This is not even to mention crying’s cathartic and healing abilities.

Tears, for their own part, are symbols unto themselves. Aqueous gems (already nearly marine in their salinity), they’ve inspired works that coincide with their purifying quality. It’s one they share with water and, like the sea, they clean everything they touch. A capacity which lessens sorrows, tears atone through their very corporal nature.

“It is such a secret place, the land of tears,” wrote Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a writer who shone brightly for his own tremendous sensitivity. And yes, crying is nearly always a private act, an intimacy preferred by the vast majority to be lived in solitude, perhaps because of the irrefutable manifestation thus implied.

Likewise, in its ritual quality, crying might be better enjoyed in certain spaces rather than others, at specific moments or hours. Below are some of the most propitious:

A Waterfall

If you’re unable to cry in silence, the noise of a waterfall will mute your voice. In the manner of a mirror, the water falls in enormous quantities while tears (tiny in comparison) can’t be but reflected in the immense.

The Desert

“In the desert, you are always in the center,” Borges once wrote. And this center, the breadth of horizon, the fertility that emerges from the void, is one of the most intimate, introspective places on Earth.

A Movie Theater

Because no one can see you, because practically no one can hear you, because no one is paying attention to you, and because, if you’re lucky enough, what’s playing on the screen may lead to the pleasure of a pending cry.

At the Beach

Inner salt pours out onto the face. The outside salinity is agitated, stirring, roaring, and even of a particular smell. The immensity of the sea, like that of the desert, reaches our most sensitive spots.

In a Bathtub

During a bath, tears are lost in the water surrounding and comforting. As a kind of primal state, a bath provides both security and a certain fragility. You’ll bathe in your own tears.

In Front of a Mirror

Because there’s no greater confrontation with oneself, that stranger known primarily by force of habit, than the act of crying in front of one’s own image.

BONUS

On a Divan

For words felt (and heard) become like knots of emotion, and these cut the voice and may be spilled freely.

 

 

 

Image: Public domain

Of all acts which make us truly human, perhaps to cry is the most forceful. It’s a moment in which emotion, pleasant or unpleasant, neither seen nor touched, becomes material and spills. It’s a shedding as metaphorical as it is physical. And crying brings a certain pleasure, a fact once remarked upon by the great Ovid. This is not even to mention crying’s cathartic and healing abilities.

Tears, for their own part, are symbols unto themselves. Aqueous gems (already nearly marine in their salinity), they’ve inspired works that coincide with their purifying quality. It’s one they share with water and, like the sea, they clean everything they touch. A capacity which lessens sorrows, tears atone through their very corporal nature.

“It is such a secret place, the land of tears,” wrote Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a writer who shone brightly for his own tremendous sensitivity. And yes, crying is nearly always a private act, an intimacy preferred by the vast majority to be lived in solitude, perhaps because of the irrefutable manifestation thus implied.

Likewise, in its ritual quality, crying might be better enjoyed in certain spaces rather than others, at specific moments or hours. Below are some of the most propitious:

A Waterfall

If you’re unable to cry in silence, the noise of a waterfall will mute your voice. In the manner of a mirror, the water falls in enormous quantities while tears (tiny in comparison) can’t be but reflected in the immense.

The Desert

“In the desert, you are always in the center,” Borges once wrote. And this center, the breadth of horizon, the fertility that emerges from the void, is one of the most intimate, introspective places on Earth.

A Movie Theater

Because no one can see you, because practically no one can hear you, because no one is paying attention to you, and because, if you’re lucky enough, what’s playing on the screen may lead to the pleasure of a pending cry.

At the Beach

Inner salt pours out onto the face. The outside salinity is agitated, stirring, roaring, and even of a particular smell. The immensity of the sea, like that of the desert, reaches our most sensitive spots.

In a Bathtub

During a bath, tears are lost in the water surrounding and comforting. As a kind of primal state, a bath provides both security and a certain fragility. You’ll bathe in your own tears.

In Front of a Mirror

Because there’s no greater confrontation with oneself, that stranger known primarily by force of habit, than the act of crying in front of one’s own image.

BONUS

On a Divan

For words felt (and heard) become like knots of emotion, and these cut the voice and may be spilled freely.

 

 

 

Image: Public domain