Into the unknown
Here the sky is blue, the clouds are white, the trees between are green. Their branches sway, rocked by the familiar gentleness of the wind’s lullaby. A black bird drifts by on the soft breeze. He has flown through here yesterday, and every day before. A dog barks in the distance at something neither he nor she can see.
She faces the sea beyond the trees. Her hands are clenched at her sides, her thoughts marching furiously to stand at the edge of the light. The hum of the wind is at her back, the silence of the Unknown before her.
“No,” whispers the Wind, “you like it here. What man does not seek a safe place to live out his days?”
“And what good are days if each one is no different from the one before it?” She murmurs.
“ As good as the sun that rises and the sun that sets,” whooshes the Wind, “Is this not what you sought? When you came here, did you not ask for the quiet steadfastness of the eastern Sun and the warm comfort of his western arm?”
She averts her eyes. “That was another time, I sought a calm to quell the battle wrought in my soul. That war is over.”
“And you seek another?”
“Another has found me.”
“You can refuse to fight this war.”
“There are wars that must be fought.”
“There is no must,” whistles the Wind, “there is always a choice.”
“Yes,” her voice is steady, “and ultimately there are two choices: to live or to die. I did not choose this war, but I must fight this battle if I am to live.”
“You are a fool who will risk losing everything she has built, to fight one war that is not of her making,” hisses the Wind. “How do you know that you are not running to your death?”
“I know nothing!” She cries. She turns her gaze to the wall of light before her. “Do you not understand this? I know nothing! And this, more than wars, more than men, more than the vast Unknown, is what I fear will be the death of me, that I may die not knowing. That I may slip into the hazy slumber of the unconscious, that life itself may gallop past my window, while I sleep wrapped in the cloak of my ignorance. If it is indeed to Death that I run, gladly I will go, if it means racing however short the distance alongside Life, if I may join my stride to hers, lengthen or shorten my pace to match her own, panting, laughing, screaming, gasping, breathing, living, eating Time and Space as I go.”
“There is life here,” the Wind sighs, “stay and you shall see.”
“How can you ask this of me? How can you ask that I remain in this place where Death smiles at the contented complacence of these people? Do you not go where your desire takes you, past the horizon to places I have never seen? Do you not kiss the ocean every morning, tickle every living creature to your fancy, until they fear you or call for you, such is their respect for you? Every morning you have sung to me, sweet, soft melodies that made me forget the strife of past battles, the ache of old wounds. You have lulled me also to contented complacence. I am just as every man and woman here, a vessel carrying a dying vestige of her soul. Ô messenger of Death! I would curse you if I could not see that you have come bearing the Truth, that there is nothing here for me. Take your leave, Messenger, go sing your lullabies to other ears. My soul is gone from this place, she no longer listens to your treacherous music.”
The Wind is silent
She looks back one last time. The trees shake their leaves in angry rustles at the blue sky, the hulking clouds drift reluctant across the horizon, the mountains brood at the languid waters lapping their distant shores. She turns to face the Unknown. She breathes in deeply and, with a smile in her eyes, takes the first step.