On the Edge

February 13, 2008
By Elizabeth DiGangi, Westerly, RI

Sunset. The division between earth and sky was blurred by the golds, oranges, pinks, and purples painting the world. She walked with purpose across the grassy field, moving east, searching for the edge. After some minutes, she found it.

Inches from her bare toes, the world fell away in a sheer, desperate drop, reforming thousands of feet below and stretching onward. The wide expanse of sky before her eyes was already darkening, with blues and grays and blacks pushing away the sun—or was the sun pulling the darkness closer?

In the fading light, she studied the earth at the base of the cliff. Everything looked so much different from far away: trees were tiny, wide fields were blank patches, and rivers and streams were shimmering ribbons and threads draped along the landscape. Any cracks, ruts, or other irritating blemishes on the land were microscopic, if not invisible, but she knew they were there all the same. Such a perspective made her ponder how miniscule she would be to someone from this distance. Her troubles, joys, triumphs, and mistakes—her whole life—was only a speck, a tiny stain on the world’s face.

The eastern horizon was truly dark now; she could see the first stars beginning to emerge, as heaven’s mask was being removed. The sun behind her was nearly gone. She could still see a few feeble rays of light reaching into the night from behind her, and feel the sun’s lingering warmth emanating from the ground. The view before her was naught but shadows. Just before the sun completely surrendered its domain to the night, though, a warm breeze from the east tickled her face; then, it grew stronger. At the wind’s urging, she turned, and walked away from the edge to rejoin her world.

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