I was listening to The Smiths and daydreaming, staring off wishfully. My mind was empty but for one thought; I was thinking of how the crushing weight of mortality made every hour of my life so valuable. The seeming finality of death made every moment I tightly held, slowly kissed, and firmly embraced your heavenly soul, every spare second my eyes met your own, every soft whisper you sent to my ears, every sigh your breath set on my lips, it made it all worth it. I pace in circles struggling to believe that any afterlife I’m offered could ever be sweeter than the one life I shared with you. If I ever met your soul again, among the ether of the stars, my heart would pound with love and pride, as the cosmos weakly shuddered, and shielded its eyes, and beheld the blinding beauty of your light; It would be nighttime and raining, The Smiths would be playing, and I would be dreaming, until I opened my eyes. Until the song slowly died.
I find myself confounded, often, as to the nature, distance, and direction of the blissful road the soul must travel, to find truth, beauty, and contentedness. With swirling, frozen winds by night, and tepid, bewildered desires by day, I feel myself pulled to each end of the infinite abyss; The abyss of mortal imprisonment and divine, consuming fires. Should I become a cloud of ash, and mock the silent stars, as a swarm of arid embers? Or, should I rest at the bottom of the sea, only to sink further, shouldering each crushing burden, and complete my metamorphosis into pale, apathetic stone?
Then what, I beg, is the alternative?
I could tease each ambition that flickers in my eyes, as one would tease the naivety of a child. I could lay my heavy heart upon the breast of a beautiful woman, and we could breathe fresh, romantic fires into this dark world. We could birth a freshly tenacious, confused soul to travel alongside us, until we depart, leaving the traveler alone once more. I could heal wounds, teach minds, and console hearts. I could tend pastures, build monuments, or write symphonies. I could spread my soul, like a blanket, and cover as much as this earth as my strength could warrant.
Should I simply swim in rivers, nap in fields of wildflowers, and sit, pensively, atop each mountain peak I can reach? I could sing with the birds, dance with the wind, and return each kiss the sun lays upon my brow. I could do all of this, and I could do none of this. It’s all comfortably pointless and painfully divine.
My fingertips have never met its surface, yet the texture pulses through my veins. This thundering tempest forces me into shelter, yet, with each vicious flash of lightning, it illuminates the path. It’s always bellowing out thundering laughter, each time I hear its voice; Only after issuing its challenge of “proceed, if you dare, for you must, you precious fool! Immerse yourself, frail, immortal spark, amidst the crashing waves, starving fires, and mocking skies.”
Each time I hear the call, I’m paralyzed. The passage of time coils and sinks its fangs into its own tail. It flails, like a cyclone, destroying every horizon that would behold such a crucible. Until, eventually, I am so alone, so consumed, and so drenched in vicious absolution that my eyes weep fertile tears of disgusted revelation. Each drop that falls from my face moistens the consecrated ground. Each falling penance feeds a verdant sprout. They grow into serpent vines and gritty, curling limbs of moss-choked sapling growths. A forest reaches from the barren dust and clasps its hands around me, as if it were lost in prayer. Then, at every sun soaked edge of life, a flower blooms and bleeds out every fragrant sense of pious bewilderment my frightened heart can beat from my fertile soul.
The world begins anew, and I’m still confused. Must I be obliterated to gain sight? Must I curse my humanity? Where is the road, the one road? Is it in the grave, or among the stars?
With opening my eyes, the world of dreams roles off my face, like drops of water.
Into the sunlight, breaking through the surface, I feel the warmth.
Yet, I feel the pull.
Still soaked with fantasies and terrors, I am suspended, dripping.
To stretch and to walk, to dry my skin;
To clothe myself in lucid fabric, this is the way.
Still, my heart begs the ocean to form and meet it.
I pull the underworld from its eternal basin,
And flood the sun with crested waves of confused desires.
Until, at once, I am rejected, and sent back to the depths.
This day is not what was expected.
I’ve become consumed.
Beneath the surface, I wonder what I may have missed.
So infinite are the tides of this body, so finite its time.
The world of dreams soon drowns in the hope of basking in the sun.
I wish I could break myself down
into simple blocks.
I could see which pieces were deformed.
I could finally understand what was broken.
I wish all the people walking around would shatter
into piles of parts.
I could sift through them and see
if we were made of the same things.
I could finally know if I was as alone as I feel.
I wish this uniform world would compress
into neat, little cubes.
I could pick them up, study all six sides, and find where I end
and the rest begins.
I could finally paint a picture of my place in the world.
These clean divisions are never born.
All the thin lines I’ve drawn have been torn,
twisted, cut, decayed, burnt, returned, and reformed.
Vines grow through the mortar.
Every attempt finds disorder.
raw, it slips,
as I try to climb a border
that doesn’t even exist.
I can feel a tension building; a familiar tension.
The tingle on the back of my skull.
The frustration with how much of this process of living I don’t understand.
The confusion of why I’m here, what I’m searching for, and why I can never be happy.
It’s a powder keg and embers are floating everywhere.
I get like this sometimes.
Sometimes I can’t push down the questions, the doubts, and the fears.
Every time this happens, I know. I know there’s potential.
Potential for a lightning strike.
A thunderous explosion.
A lapse of reason.
I have to weather the storm.
I just have to wait for it to pass.
Play dead, don’t move, don’t think.
Lest my presence be known to the dark thoughts prowling past.
The monstrous realities that exist in this plane.
Don’t even breathe.
The cloudless, sunny skies of winter lend a crisp highlight to the washed out, barren colors of things slowly dying. However, the death is not eternal. Unlike the death we speak of when we think of the initial concept of death, this particular death is inevitable each year, and yet it is succeeded by life. One cannot think of winter without imagining the spring that will follow. One cannot assume that the dead tree on the hill top will never flower again.
I find this strange, but for reasons that are not obvious. It seems cliché to view the dead of winter as simply the season that precedes the subtle vitality of spring. In many ways, it is indeed cliché. However, what I find particularly strange is that, during summer, one does not think of summer as that which precedes death. It would seem, in human understanding, that life is not that which precedes death. Summer, as it is typically portrayed, is the suspension of death and a symbol of life. It is the cure, as if death were something to be subdued and negated.
What is obvious is that the seasons are a continuous cycle, contingent upon earth’s rotation around the sun. What is not obvious is the human essence we lend to the phenomena. If you place the seasons on the face of a clock, even in a scientific sense, it would be entirely appropriate. However, if you apply the seasons as a metaphor for the lifespan of a single human, it has limited effectiveness. Spring would surely represent birth and infancy, Summer could represent a life well lived, Autumn the later adult years, and finally Winter, a cold conclusion.
But humans don’t have a second spring. We don’t live a life that revolves in seasons. When our winters reach their peek, we never get to feel the frost melt away, nor have the promise of the rejuvenation of spring. We die and it is eternal. Why do I ruminate on such nonsense? I’m not sure, but I can’t help but wonder, how much of our physical world do we inject with our human essence? There is no humanity in the changing of the seasons, and yet there is such deep humanity in our understanding of the concept. What else are we making human?
When we’re lost without purpose, days seem to go by without seams. There is nothing separating one purposeless day from the next. It’s the common theme of the search that makes it so hard to create a division. In a sense, the search for purpose can be said as our purpose, but I don’t think I need to explain that the search for purpose is not actually a purpose. How could the search for something be the thing. It doesn’t make any sense, but still we search and still we feel occupied by this “purpose”. That is when the trouble begins; when we realize that our search is not fulfilling.
If I were to be fatalistic, I would say that there is no purpose to be found, but that’s not entirely true. It’s simply the manner of acquiring purpose that has caused such distress. Purpose is not to be found, but to be created. I’m no scholar of consciousness, but I do understand that I must indeed separate my consciousness from physical reality, in order to create something new. If all I ever do is use my consciousness as a tool to interact with my waking world, I will never be able to imagine anything that doesn’t already exist here.
If all we ever do is use our consciousness to reference a tree, it will forever remain a tree. There is no purpose in a tree, besides the trees own purpose. But I’m not in the business of creating oxygen and providing habitats for small animals. I want my own purpose. What we must do is use our consciousness to separate ourselves from the physical reality of the tree, in order to imagine what the tree might become. Perhaps, the tree will shake suddenly, the earth will fracture and cracked, wooden legs will burst forth from the explosion of soil and the tree will simply walk away. It’s an entertaining fantasy, but now we have a tree wandering as aimlessly as we do during these days without purpose.
What if I imagined the tree as a pile of wooden logs nested next to a home, ready to stoke the hearth and hearts of the occupants? It is winter, so it would seem a good idea to have firewood ready. This is a slight glimpse of the ever evasive concept of purpose. There is none to be given, but an infinite amount to be created. However, there is a fatal mistake to be made here; that would be assuming that one’s own purpose is now to cut down the tree, saw it into stumps, split them into logs, and stack them against the home. This is not your purpose, if you are the one to take on this task. This is the task.
The purpose would be warming the home so that the beauty of the human spirit may sit comfortably around a fire and commune with other souls seeking warmth. It’s dangerous to assume one is an automaton and that tasks are the same as purpose. We are humans, not machines. Our purpose is never so shallow and we will not find it floating among the falling leaves. Our purpose is communal and poetic; we are greater than the sum of our whole.