A Walk Among Overwhelming Reality

Author: MarieNickol | Date of issue: 2004

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“I need a break from the daily grind,” he said feeling inert.

“Let’s take a walk” she suggested. “It is the easiest way to free yourself from your usual patterns.”

They have just come back from a days or months (time in space runs inconspicuously) mission in space. That pollution project they were working on surely had weighed upon them. They went out of their way to sort things out, to reshuffle all data and yet the results were scanty. He definitely didn’t feel in high spirits and she being his faithful companion and more than a friend throughout these somewhat lonesome years in exploration was a bit off color herself. She had learned to read his mind and in such moments of torpor she knew that there was something important he tried to figure out with his fragile philosophical instruments. There was one quality she adored in him – he was always sanguine of success. It was why she never gave him up. She sensed his restlessness at the moment and prodded him again:

“A quiet walk will do us good”

“Yes, you’re right. I need a walk, a nice walk to make me relish the brilliance of the sun, a walk under the mystery of the moon, under the open sky where the stars twinkle as diamonds when we gaze at them here on earth and look so different when we’re out in the open space. I feel so different when I am back here in this world.”

“In this world?” she questioned in lack of understanding.

“Oh, I know I sound absurd. I guess I am not completely cured of that old habit coming up from my forefathers. I know I should say on this world. But it is how I feel; I still think of it as ‘in’ instead of ‘on’ this world and still believe in sunrise and sunset, although I know that the sun doesn’t rise or fall. I know that we are technocrats and those words like dawn and dusk are not used anymore. I know I should say we are into sight of the sun or into the shadow zone instead of...”

“Why that storm in a teacup”, she interrupted. “Why talking of the sun coming up or going down when you know quite well it never goes away from the sky?”

He looked at her in amazement and all at once roared with laughter. She sensed the humor herself and that laughter of his was so catching that she could not suppress her own. As the guffaw subsided they became conscious of all that surrounded them.

Obviously they had been walking for some time and now were standing in the middle of a simple and elegant suspended bridge. The river underneath was flowing at an easy pace making little ripples now and then. On one side of the bank vegetation rioted as if inviting some loner to walk into the majestic forest of pine trees. On the other side the river bank was barren, rocky with some scrubs here and there resembling an unfinished painting that Nature has left. They swept with a comprehensive glance the Great City in the distance resembling the shape of the shadow cast over the sea by a hypothetical gigantic palm tree. Crossing the bridge they strolled into the forest. The afternoon seemed lovely and the air was delicate with the scent of the pine trees. The buzz of the City reached them somewhat softened and peripheral reminding them of a distant groan. “I feel some kind of sadness and peace among these pines”, she ventured to say.

“It is always like that,” he smiled. “The quiet rustle of leaves and the glorious might of the trees cloak you with a kind of blessed feeling of solitude and ease. It’s all too beautiful, too poetical.”

“That poetic license is far off me,” she reflected. “All that greenery brings the sense of something mysterious as if these trees are trying to conceal some engaging surprises in their dark axils. I am trying to get into the mood of being poetical, but my imagination is not attuned in this way. I belong to a prosaic age and do not possess that intellectual feast the ancient Hellene had, to spiritualize that beautiful and mysterious place. It seems idyllic and neglected to me. I feel so out of place here.”

“No, I adore the walk in here,” he objected “it gives me vigor and strength; it is so invigorating and live. It gives me the meaning of what we were, what we are and what we may be.”

“Look at the paths, paths here and there,” she insisted. “It’s a whole network of paths and it seems they are spreading over an empty land, down and up chilly ravines, up and down stony hills ablaze with heat; and again solitude as if there is not a living soul here. It seems the population had cleared out a long time ago.”

“No, no,” he sounded enthusiastic. “Something bewitches me here; it cuts me off from my present time and drives me away somewhere far away in another existence perhaps, existence, let’s say three centuries ago.”

“You sound strange,” she looked at him dubiously. “You are aiming at something. You have been brooding over something all day long. What is it?”

“You’re right. Maybe it’s that uneasy dream I had. It has been troubling my thoughts lately. And that song I picked up the signal of when we were out in space.”

“It was a beautiful piece of music and the voice really exquisite. Such sounds are rare today."

“Rare?” he snapped “They don’t even exist! But the words belong to a language that possibly doesn’t exist today. That’s what bothers me. It reminds me of my grandfathers. There are moments when one’s past comes back to one. And I doubt among this overwhelming reality of trees, water and silence whether this stillness of life resembled peace at all in those long forgotten days.”

“I don’t seem to understand where you are gravitating to by talking like that. As for that song it was launched into the open space some two hundred and fifty years ago for a sole purpose. People at that time believed they would be heard by some other living species like them and possibly put a contact into effect. They were only looking for a way of materializing their dreams, believing that globalizing the world would open new horizons for conquering space, yet they were torn by wars.”

“That’s exactly it” he went on “they lived in contradictions and collisions at the same time attempting to consolidate peace. That was their paradox; they were fragmenting and globalizing simultaneously as well as living in affluence and poverty all at once. World power was so concentrated and diffused all together. They had their values and beliefs that...”

“Values and beliefs” she interrupted him “are deeply rooted moral standards, ideals, and ideas in man's mind he feels bound to follow and they become the driving force in his deeds.”

“Yes, precisely,” he went on engrossed in his thoughts, “but the next step is his will to share and impose his values and beliefs on others. If he is among those who share the same values and beliefs as his, he is content. But more often than not he finds an opposition. In his aim to enforce his own values and beliefs he might even reach the state of fury and even go beyond that and become bloodthirsty. History, old and new, is a real proof of that - rulers tramping the world enforcing their own will of obedience, thus their own values and beliefs by using different methods of manipulation and violence in their aim of becoming sole rulers and subjecting the rest. They quickly exhaust their energy and that exhaustion brings forth mental symptoms and illness, sometimes too serious to be controlled, becoming even fatal not only for themselves, but for mankind as well.”

“Hm, what a mood you have today!” she exclaimed. “That kind of talk is not really good for me. I like what I have and what I am. Why should I care about the rest? There is no need to be too wise today. Ah, I know what you will say – we are technically highly qualified and experienced, but illiterate. You should have become a writer, although it’s not very prestigious.”

“Oh, no, no” he protested “Not a writer! I don’t want to be a writer. I want to live. You see, even three hundred and more years ago writers never had the chance to live their lives at least in the land where my forefathers came from. It’s true. That’s how it was. Somewhere else might have been different, but not in those lands. Here they became victims of their own age, either shot, or killed in battles, or left to commit suicide, you see, simply victims of their own time and then posthumously transformed into heroes and geniuses of their own time. Why be a writer and not given the chance to share my fame when I am alive?”

“Oou, that really is a gloomy prospect.”

As they were walking slowly along one of the paths they reached a hush place where the air was even more fragrant with the scent of pine, lavender and roses. A valley opened before their eyes bordered by mountains wrapped in a pearly haze. They were struck motionless and speechless by the beauty of the scene. A song was heard from somewhere beyond. Instinctively they directed their eyes to the sound where the melody came from and saw a dark-haired country girl in frothy white lace blouse gathering a basketful of newly opened roses. On seeing them the girl stopped for a second and beamed. She gently approached and handed them one of the most luscious roses as a kind of a welcoming gesture.

‘That song you were singing” he said “seems so familiar and yet I cannot identify the meaning of the words.”

“Ah, the song” replied the girl cheerily “The song comes from my ancestors, which was passed on to them by their ancestors. When my grandmother taught me singing it she said ‘don’t ever forget that song and remember that music is like a journey through different worlds, a journey from the audible to the inaudible dimensions of the Universe; it has the quality to go beyond the concepts, beyond the ideas – into the infinity. It awakens feelings which are sleeping deep inside our souls whether good or bad; and that song will find its way to the spirit inside the hearts of those who would remember the past and the people who talked that very same language and gave us the freedom and power to live on this lacerated by wars planet of ours.”

The girl smiled, tripped away, leaving them admiring the peace and loveliness of the place and enjoying the echo of that very song he had picked up some time ago in the open space.

“I am glad you found it” she said as they headed on their way back.

“Yes, I found it,” he said, this time displaying his sunny disposition. “You know, that walk is like a walk in the past. Caught up in the hectic rhythm of our life we jump from one challenge to another, we go from one emotional extremity to another. In this cycle of joy, sadness, work, love, fun, we never have time to reflect what’s happening to us. We hustle, we struggle, we move on and yet, we quite often forget what is left behind us.”

They walked quietly back, each deep in thought, pacing over the bridge, relishing the curious stillness that reigned about.


All Rights Reserved © Marie Nickol 2004