Friday, March 21, 2014


I travel on a road of wonder, shaded by a canopy of brilliant green. Everything is new, every flower fragrant, every image shimmers as if a mirage. I reach out to touch it, and find it's realand I am walking on this pathin this momentthis worldthis illusory forest

And I stumble on, drunk in the surroundings, in the ambiance, in the simple fact that life exists exactly like this and that it is my forest. The world turns; I stay centered. All of this is for me. I give the requisite thanks to the requisite gods and rush to explore my world, one step, leap, dance at a time.

Soon after, I come to a fork in the road. One path remains canopied, sunlight filtering through the leaves. The other path leads into the full sun. It is open to the elements, littered with rocks, covered in sand. I know if I take that path I will walk, fall, crawl, and endlessly go on like this, never knowing if I will reach my destination. I am acutely aware of the fact there may be no destination.

But if I take the shaded path, I will remain intoxicated by the fragrance of the forest. I will take the insects that fly along with me and give them a name. Everything I need is given, and there is very little I need. So much I want, but in this haze I devise ways to believe that all my desires are fulfilled here. Is there any need to keep travelling? It isn't that no destination existsit is that this was the place I always wanted to be. This bliss, to live in, forever. Once the forest effects wear off, I will sleep at the base of the trees I have only dreamed of. And I didn't have to do anythingjust stay. Maybe when I wake up, I will wake back into that dream state.

And I wake, but the dream does not return. I try to recreate it but I have no strength. Now, the forest is only a forest. And sometimes the clouds come, and the trees give shelter but no warmth.

And yet there was another path...

I turn around, try to find the path, but I have no map. I can't go backward; I would be lost forever. There is only one way and it is forward. Or here. Why not here? Am I not a creature of the forest? I settle in.

A wild catalyst appears.
Reaches out and embraces the entire forest in silver,
Strength given returns to me.
A simple nod in a previously-unturned direction
And then it fades into the mist of a beloved dream.

I follow.

The leaves pursue me. I run to escape them, run as if in dreams where one does not tire. In a flash, I leave them behind and find myself standing in the desert. I am cold and it is raining. I huddle behind a rock. The rock is warm with the rays of the hours-earlier sun; I cling to it for safety. I am not sure where I am or if this is my world.

Does it matter if it is or if it is not? What matters is that I am here. And there is still more forward to go.

And so I begin. Down this path, open, vulnerable, uncertain. I step forward, fall. Catch myself. Sand is not soft. Lift myself to my feet. Again tumble. Repeating the pattern. I do not see improvement; only difficulty.

A flower! Blood-red, many-petaled. I am not immune to beauty and I have seen so little of it on this road. I stop for a moment to gather in its fragrance. It is a nostalgic smell, a sweet smell of tea and agreement. I will take this flower with me. I will use it to embolden my heart for the task ahead. I will

I will need to stop the bleeding. Blood, red as the flower in my hand, streams down my face. Sweet fragrance; toxic effect. I toss the flower aside. My mind goes numb. I am far from anything but sand. There is nothing that can be done now; it is surely over.

I remember a shimmer of silver in the forest, encompassing everything around, above, below. Below. I must go deeper.

All I have are my hands. They will not be enough, will they? But I must try. And I find that they are rougher than they were before, the many times they have broken my fall on the shifting sand have made them stronger. I dig in, push the sand aside, silicon scraping my wrists, down, down, until they feel cool liquid respite. This water will heal. I splash it on my face, on my scratched wrists, until the red washes clear and I slump to the sand, exhausted from all my effort. In hope, I await my catalyst but it does not arrive. I fall asleep again.

But this time, I awaken refreshed. I am still not sure where this desert road will take me. But it ceases to matter, as the daily task of moving in this alien land consumes all my time, all my focus. I forget about the forest. If this is the destination, it is preparing me for itself.  

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