3. Evening Conversation: In a Prisoner of War Camp in Russia, between a Younger and an Older Man

Younger Man: As we were marching to our workplace this morning, out of the rustling of the expansive forest I was suddenly overcome by something healing. Throughout the entire day I meditated on wherein this something that heals could rest.

Older Man: Perhaps it is what is inexhaustible of the self-veiling expanse that abides in these forests of Russia.

Younger Man: You probably mean that the capacious, which prevails in the expanse, brings to us something freeing.

Older Man: I do not only mean the capaciousness in the expanse, but also that this expanse leads us out and forth.

Younger Man: The capaciousness of the forests swings out into a concealed distance, but at the same time swings back to us again, without ending with us.

Older Man: It is almost as if, out of the open and yet veiled expanse, something could never break in that sets itself in the way of our essence and blocks its course. So nothing is encountered that bends our essence back on itself and confines it to a narrowness by means of which it is made rebellious in itself.

Younger Man: The expanse carries us to what is objectless, and yet also keeps us from dissolving into it. The expanse delivers our essence into the open and at the same time gathers it into the simple, as though the expanse’s abiding were a pure arrival for which we are the inlet.—

Older Man: This expanse provides us with freedom. It frees [206] us while we here—between the walls of these barracks, behind barbed wire—incessantly run up against and wound ourselves on what is objective.

Younger Man: At first this morning, I in fact also thought that this experience of what is healing [das Heilsame] came only from a feeling