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Wind ruffled Jon’s hair in a pleasant ripple of cool autumn air. The field was the golden hay color, smelling pleasantly of pumpkins that dotted the landscape with splashes of orange and green. Along the field’s borders were great maples and ashes, exploding with reds and brilliant oranges of fall foliage. The temperature was perfect, the setting ideal, and Jon had not a thing to do with his self.
This was precisely the problem. As Jon gathered in the air about him, breathing in the temperate weather, and soaking in his favorite season he could not help but be troubled. Leaves crunched under his feet as he made his way back to the white farmhouse waiting by the side of the country road, cheerfully puffing smoke from its tall stone chimney. Within this picture of idealistic living was his life, the life of solitude among monsters, the life of hatred among savages, and the life of torture among martyrs.
The slow thud of his heart echoed the thoughts that played about in his quiet mind. His brother was leaving. His parents were continually praying. His siblings were gone or gone. Gone in the physical and gone in the present, gone in the sense that they were not in any way with him in particular, gone from his friendship, gone from his love.
Jon once again drew the air into his trembling lungs, filling the trembling with the power of pure existence. Somber thoughts turned his head towards his home, towards the focal point of most of his wakening life. Jon suddenly cast this from his mind. He threw from his mind the constraints he had placed there, threw the clanking armor from his scarred soul in a rush of music and boundless creative prowess. Jon started to run.
Legs of unfeeling solitude carried him back towards the distant tree line, bursting with color, back into the depths of his mind and the unrealities that he preferred to the insanities of life. Jon lived in his head, lived gloriously and fantastically among the figures of power and hostile pleasure. Seething rage and overwhelming peace enveloped themselves in a sea of ecstasy and all was wild, all was calm.
Unfeeling legs carried him on wings of terror, the rush of feeling encrusting his chest with the spider webs of anxious excitement. Paths gave way before him in the crisp air; the field of comfort and open sight gave way to dense trees and a strong smell of loam. The last few birds of summer let their farewells be heard, and a tired sun sank to its dreary bed. Thrilled at his self-inflicted exile Jon laughed into the air, heart now pumping, rushing blood to his over wound mind, releasing the coils of dreary cycles and the knowledge of oncoming winter.
Sneakers crunched dry leaves and twigs, and the runner fled his coiled life. He fled, but he also ran towards the end. To what end he ran was uncertain but he knew there would be one, and that was enough for his tired mind. The blood coursed through, rejuvenated, and re-amped the bland matter. A reality surged through him, Jon, the man-boy, the torn sinner, and the long lost child.
Now! The wind rushes, the leaves fall, and the birds sing. Now! Jon believes in the power of faith, the power of the imagination to relinquish dreams for realities, hopes for hardship. Jon is merely man, and he revels in his mere-ness.
At least all this is what he would like to believe in the world he had created for himself in the world of mist and fog that had been his home. Jon hoped for freedom but tasted the bitter stench of similarity and sameness. A desire sprang from his belly, there in the woods, one to build, a shuddering desire that made his hands twitch and search, seek out some form of release, release from their prison of idleness.
But what? Jon paused his swift movement under the shadows of the trees, ceilings hovering like a shuddering sea of whispering spirits, and gazed into a bubbling stream. Its continuity held him dazed for a while, eyes drinking in its ever changing ever permanence in a thoughtful, intrinsic wonder. Jon though how similar it was to him, to his cycling mind, his wandering, stagnant soul.
Musingly he stooped to pick up a small twig, and stripping it of its bark he tossed it into the reflection of his quizzical eyes. Spinning out of control it was swept away in barely a few seconds. Just like that his dreams swept through and away, the thoughts of one day morphed into those of another. Jon looked to the ceiling above him and with a sudden thought flung his body to the mossy floor, dark earth and the smell of rich, untouched nature hit him with a welcoming blow, like that of a rough friend, happy to see him at long last. A fierce pride arose within him and he knew that his life, no matter what turns it took would be enough, enough beauty, enough satisfaction. When is enough, well enough?
He decided it was right about then. Leaning back against a hard but reassuring stump, damp but warm, he closed his eyes and welcomed the oblivion mankind is so blessed to own as his very own. A cool, known environment settled about him, smells and sensations engendering the peace of ancient origins, of Emerson and Thoreau, of the Mahicans, and any peoples who know what it is to live in the absolute simplistic basket of natural blessings. And the oblivion washed over his soul.
A tired old man sat at a cold metal desk; old from fear, hard hours, and dependability. Sixty years met him with a hammer blow of realization. His mortgage was half paid, his ladder climbing barely half complete, and his family lounging on his rickety dollars, dollars between them and the rocky crevices of oblivion. The computer screen shed an eerie blue light on his haggard face. Numbers marched in never ending columns like some enormous army of ants, demanding his attention for a solid twelve hours. The humming of cooling fans droned on and his office became a dungeon of cold calculation and organized thought. Revenue and cost burned constant worries in his mind, filling it with another man’s plans, actions, and brilliant moments. Mistakes haunted him, and his fingers shook when he discovered a unit out of place, a missing light bulb here, a few thousand misplaced there.
The old man closed his eyes for a moment. The days of his youth swung back to him. The desires of the free young man, shriveled and distorted arose from beneath the cold calculations. He had built a career, a family, a mortgage, what was the foolish youth in him crying about? He crushed the complaint within him. Men would kill for his position of prestige and wealth. No worry had to touch him, his days were planned, and weekends spent drinking and enjoying his benefits. The house, the cars, the sexy model he had married. He had married himself into all of it. His every want was satisfied, what was the child screaming about now?
He had built a life for himself, a steady, sure life. The trees were gone, the stream plowed under, a whispering grove replaced by the growling roar of a diesel motor. Hands fell from a worn keyboard and the grey head fell forward. Despair escaped his lips, and a whimpering cry arose from the wealthy soul. Perhaps not so wealthy.