19 July 2006

Somewhere between here and there...

He went east across the mountains until there were no trees, only scrub grass and sage all around him, and the infinite blue sky above. He came to the mighty Columbia, cold and dark, roaring with the voice of a thousand years and more, ever moving, ever replenishing itself. He stopped the car and stood looking out over the great river and the dun-colored cliffs draping it's sides. A thin bead of perspiration broke out on his brow. He wiped it away. He remembered Heraclitus then, and his wisdom of waters: "You cannot step into the same river twice, for the waters are ever flowing, ever changing." After a while, he got back in his car and drove on. He passed mile after mile of sagebrush, gnarled and low to the ground, barely a hint of color to their branches. Some had long since given up the ghost, flitting about the earth in search of home; lost souls seeking heaven, tumbling along.

He'd once thought of this place as hell, as a blasted heath upon which no one in their right mind would live. Yet, he had been wrong. There were those who called this place home and made for themselves a life, albeit, one which moved at a different pace than the rest of the world. Here, the days seemed longer, the sun slower in it's arc across the sky. There was something he could not grasp about this place. It's lack of limits, the endless expanse of sky all around him. One could look east and west, north and south, and see the great bowl of the sky meeting the land as though there were nothing beyond those hills but the edge of the earth. He'd often looked off into the distance, trying to see where heaven and earth met and the void began.

He had learned slowly, over many years, that the void began and ended inside, not out. One only had to look into themselves to see where the void began. Perhaps, he was projecting what he saw in himself when he stared into the mirror, saw the intricate swirls of green in his eyes that made him think of far off galaxies and great distances the mind could only comprehend in cold, logical numbers. Somewhere between here and there. He took a quick look in his rear view mirror at his eyes, saw the familiar spark, then he lit a cigarette and stared ahead at the road.

05 July 2006

He sighs with the entire weight of his being and wonders whether the never-was-real place in his mind is really as far away as it seems, whether he might not still  be able to find it, touch it even as it fades away into nothing more than a lack of feeling, the absence of something he cannot describe. He sighs again and lights a cigarette. He exhales. He feels a heaviness in his body, something he has felt before and never wanted to again, but here it is, alive again. He wonders if it isn't despair he feels as he swims through the motions of extinguishing his cigarette in the ashtray, absently crushing the smoldering tip and watching the last few whisps of smoke twirl into the air and disappear.