He craves the desert, where he would be alone, and as far as possible untouched by water — by anything that cools, dampens, or tends to suffocate. He would slake his thirst, when necessary, on cactus fruit, or perhaps track an occasional passing bird to its water source. The cacti, who would be his only friends in this setting, are ideally designed to remind him never to seek affection here; the birds, to symbolize his need of rarefied air.
He is full to overflowing, but of a thorny nature that may be approached at all only by one with the courage to invite pain, which is the sole path to knowledge — or by one who keeps a comfortable researcher’s distance, and who will then inevitably mistake the contents of his trusty notepad, his “observations,” for understanding. While this observer carefully organizes his scholarly notes, his subject will have flown away.
To soul, it is death to become water, and to water it is death to become earth; and water comes from earth, and soul from water.
— Heraclitus, Fragment 36