Over the Valley
There is something so incredible about the flight of birds, as you watch them soar through the sky on the drafts of powerful winds, their bodies and outstretched wings form an imprint against the grey-white mottled clouds kissed by the glow of a steadily setting sun. They are playing in a game of which humans have dreamt, since we could dream. To achieve the ecstasy and fearlessness of flight… We mime it at times, and have built machines that get us as close as possible to this sensation. The fact is that there is no knowledge in the bird, only instinct and surrender as special variables in this equation. The exultant screech of a dive-bombing hawk does not speak of an arithmetic reality, nor does the surrender of the body to the currents speak of ingenuity. To rise and fall as this is a gift, and a home made in the sky is a luxury of freedom.
We can have this I think, or at least we can try, but it is not an effort of mimicry, it is an acknowledgement of being. We touch, feel, play and love differently, but we can have the abandon and freedom to loose ourselves to the elements, and more importantly to each other. I have felt the passion draining from me. It is one of the curses of depression, but I sense it is more than this. The world has lost some of its lustre, the rush of youth is slowly falling away, but has yet to be replaced with the heady brew of intellectual congress with the beautiful that lends itself to the passionate embrace of the body. We are steeped in awkwardness, which we celebrate as naivete in a failed attempt at the reclamation of youthful innocence and abandon. In fact, we’ve blinded ourselves to our slow dissolution of passion into the sterile, digital, and plastic we have imbued with our new so-called lives.
As we come into the winter our colors are drained of their vibrancy, and year after year the season comes earlier. These ancient mountains have borne so much life over time, slowly eroded by wind and water, yet always bursting with fecundity in the spring and summer and pulling that passion out of our sight, but just under the surface in the chill. These hills follow the ebb and flow of time and season, but we are creatures that live in defiance of both, so what is our excuse to not live with passion and beauty? There are always questions of morals, etiquette and the like. Decorum has its ways, as do the simple laws of natural existence. We communicate, I think, in more sophisticated ways though the things we do to one another are shocking in their barbarity and baseness. To think that we would create ever more complex systems to keep each other apart is fascinating versus the simplicity of attraction and acceptance.
Night is falling over the valley and I wonder what will come. The philosopher used to be a distillation of this questioning into a concentrated potion of passion and disinterested musing that would simultaneously sharpen its senses to cut to the marrow of the thing while luxuriating in the eroticism of the bliss of unknowing. But now even the philosopher is neutered, finding a corner to shout their rage into, but only being seen by those who already live in that corner themselves. Perhaps this was the way it always was …Existentialism, utilitarianism, nihilism, brutalism, Dadaism, impressionism; art and thought have always been one, but even here the world has always decamped to its tribal corners. Or have there been times when beauty broke through and freed us all just for a moment.
The clouds will roll in over the mountains and valleys regardless of what we do or think. It is our right, privilege, and duty to look up at the clouds and open our arms and embrace all that they will bring to us. We are frequently told to embrace the warmth of the sun, but we have to take all of it, the darkness and the light. The birds of the day sleep and give way to the birds of the night, and while they sleep their passion boils within them and lives in the actions of their brothers and sisters. We can be this way if we let go. We all have a little piece that we scratch and scramble to hold onto, and make bigger or shinier if we can, but we know that this is inevitably futile, because we know that we will die. It is the plight of our species though the knowledge of death is not singular to us. Others go of their own volition in acceptance of inevitability, but many of us strive to stem the tide, though the end is still certain. This is not to say that we should not burnish what we have, indeed we should shine when we can, especially if we can shine for those around us whose lights are constantly under threat of being extinguished.
Sam finished writing in his journal as he looked out of the hotel room window. The mist covered valley stretched for a few miles and the greenness of the hills slowly turned to black as twilight gave way to night. Sam steadily drank at the whiskey bottle as the night considered his thoughts. He’d hoped that the booze plus the solitude would bring him clarity, unfortunately, he thought, it only unsettled him more. Something was wrong. Something was coming and that something was wrong. He’d forsworn the television, the newspaper, and even the online news at this point. The sides that had been chosen long ago were increasing their combativeness, and it was only a matter of time…
The powers that be certainly couldn’t stop what they had so foolishly allowed to continue before it got too big even for them…
Sam laid back in bed ½ a fifth in and wondered if anything could make it stop.