The sands of life
I woke in the desert, surrounded by a rippled vastness that wove its thread round all horizons. Where was I? How did I get here? What was I to do?
“There must be a sign”, I thought, and I looked about me, puzzling the lines and wind-written turnings that gave the earth its face. “There!” I said, and strove upon the scent of a telling contour. On and on I went, with certainty, with faith. I knew the way.
But I didn’t. Not that time, and nor the thousand times that followed. I trailed the fall of the sky-fire, the natural end-point, the finish line, or so I thought, but where that blaze touched the Earth, it seemed, I could not reach no matter the days and months and years and steps.
“I must go to the beginning” I said, but the rising sun was nothing I could grasp. I went north, and south. I dug in the endless sand and reached up high on the dunes. Nor the heights nor depths gave answer to the ache in my soul, and I grew parched, so parched, in every hollow bone.
The hot and cold, hot and cold. Burn and shiver. Days became a spiral - perpetual, hypnotic. I rose each day merely to walk myself a little lower. Down and down I went, and each footfall trod more upon the will to continue, and the sands sucked more upon my feet, and the strength, the strength…
Yet I rose each day, and felt the endless dunes as if they were my own inner desert, barren and harsh and soulless, and I cared not where I marched, but merely marched for marching’s sake. SO as not to sink. Whether my march returned upon the yester-trail I neither knew nor cared. By now I knew there was nothing, no end, no destination. And yet still I pined for one.
Such isolation and pain - hollow, hollow anguish - I cannot describe, and on it went, for year upon year, and there was no change in the horizon, not once. I knew nothing but that I knew nothing. Hope and pride and desire all fell away like rags despoiled by rot. There seemed nothing left to seek except the bitter end. Not “the destination”, but the end of suffering, of pain, of desperation and incomprehenible despair.
I bit my arm, but little would I bleed, and so I wrote my name upon the sand, and watched my signature sink deep into the world I knew to be barren. I begged the gods, but the gods gave no answer. I thought to hang myself, but there was no branch, no tree.
And all at once, I gave up. Entirely. I lay there, empty and alone, hollow like only the parching desert knows. My soul devoid of desire, of love, of striving. I cared not for the reason of life, for the rationale. Gave no thought to the destination or finish line, had no hope for the future. I was empty, and reborn. In giving up all I wanted I was free. Somehow free.
All the world was my playground, and yet I realised I had never played. The desert is beautiful, but had I ever looked? Had I ever loved the sun for shredding the darkness with its light and warmth? Had I ever praised the moon for easing the heat and speeding me to dream and rest? No. I had sought a meaning, a purpose, a destination, but all the while my desert was fantastic to behold.
If only I had looked and smelled and listened, touched and tasted… I took up my life from the sands and gave my eye about, and everywhere it quenched my thirst, soaking in beauty, drinking in the sights. And I wandered. Oh how I wandered. Without care. Looked at everything without preconception, preoccupation, without an agenda, and satisfaction was mine, and wonder, and joy.
“This is life!” I told myself, and felt a fleeting pang of remorse for having wasted so much of it.
Last edited by eripiomundus; 12-14-2016 at 03:17 PM..
Reason: fix typo and add a word to the ending - cheers brian.