A Journey

On an uneasy Sunday morning, as the sun rubs the sleep from its eyes and leans out from behind nervous clouds, I sit and try to ignore the presence that has settled itself beside me. Like a first love who never leaves you, who always walks a pace behind you in your dreams; like the ceaseless crashing of waves, ever-present and incessant, that will periodically subside into sullen calmness or else thrash tumultuously, foaming at the mouth, something has stalked me from the periphery for a long time, something I can’t ignore anymore.

Stop, look, and breathe carefully, shield your eyes with your hands and peer out between fearful fingers you may notice it too. There in the fringe of your vision, just beyond the doorway or somewhere settled on the settee, in the most banal of places a shapeless something that has always existed creeps. A presence, eternal, beautiful, and disturbing, that has stalked the hidden corners of your dreams, that hides behind trees or slides unseen between the cracks in pavements, ambiguous in its intent. And when you notice it, that formless absurdity will begin to take shape and slowly consume you with its horrific splendour.

Paralysis takes hold as a heady mix of cortisol and adrenaline pounds the hippocampus. Like an awakened, famished beast unprejudiced in its desire for scraps, it will stir up buried memories, scratching and sniffing at the synapses. We respond in the only way we know how. We channel the ancient spirit and give in to the push and pull of primordial instincts. Which will it be? Flight or fight? Will we continue our futile Sisyphean task of pushing away this boulder that weighs us down, or will we surrender, allow ourselves to be carried away under it? And now, as the clouds beat back the curious sun, I have already surrendered, I knew I always would. Writing after all was the first love I encountered in my dreams ever since I remembered having dreams, it is the internal wave that crashes against me day and night, swelling with jealously if I dare look away.

Some call it destiny, others a calling, to many it’s just a hopeless dream that flirts and flits and bothers. So it is with these emotions in tow that I continue my journey. It is an odyssey I began many years ago but abandoned, and for many years it has chipped away silently, diligently at my dreams, defining and shaping them. It is a journey that will make me want to give up again and again, hate myself, and take flight. But it is the only journey I know. One that will take me into unfamiliar places where maps and stars are of little use. But by putting one weary word in front of another we will eventually discover a place that is dark yet radiant, strange yet familiar, harrowing yet beautiful; a world full of mystery, where the mountains are limitless and the oceans unfathomable, a world in which we can stretch our wings and soar through boundless skies. And it is our duty as a writer to record that terrifying beauty so that others may witness it too.

© 2016 Occasional Dreams
Image: “Scalone” by Giovani Racca / CC BY

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