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In those days, my disposition was most often one of great melancholy; on those long, tedious days of the summer, I sought a meaning and a purpose for myself, and despite my continual searchings, found none.
“What is life,” I murmured to myself one day, “if it has but one inevitable ending: death? I am expected to respect my superiors and maintain a polite, gracious manner, and yet, I will die just as I would did I run from this life, from this unfulfilling solitude.”
Such thoughts brought many a tear to my eyes: if life was meaningless, I, one alive, if strictly in a technical sense, was one of no being. As all had to end, as such did I; life was but a miniscule blot on an endless horizon, and as the power of eternity would wipe my very essence from that horizon, I would cease to exist at all, and I would be forgotten. Who was I, so insignificant compared to time and space, and what was my place in the universe, so vast and incomprehensible, if such a purpose even existed in the first place? As life was meaningless, I was meaningless. Was I even really present in the world at all, or was it all just a blinding illusion with a much greater force behind it?
I feared for myself; I felt as if insanity was quietly encroaching upon me, as I lay awake in my bed late at night, pondering the very basics of existence, thoughts that made my feeble mind ache with overwork. My demons beckoned to me from the shadows.
“Come with us,” the whispered softly, menacingly. “What have you to fear? Death? Death is but an inevitable passing from this world to the next, perhaps to something greater, something worthwhile. You know that, indeed, life is but a portal to death. Join us in this night solemn, walk through this darkness with us, let our cool breath mingle with yours…”
Such visions and dreams brought me to my knees, internally quaking with fear. I remembered the way I once viewed life; my childish beliefs that looking for wisdom as well as banishing all malice from my mind would make my life wonderful and spotless. I had looked to prove those former views of mine, and yet, each attempt brought me no peace, no providence, no satisfaction. Time and time again, I would fail and succumb to my weak human nature, and my rash, foolish thoughts and ill will always returned.
I tried to console myself through the undeniable beauty that existed in this temporary world. I admired the golden rays of sunlight that bathed the land in a haze of yellows, reds, and oranges, the vast, forget-me-not dome that was the sky, unfathomable in depth and area, the mountains, standing tall against the sky; great sentinels guarding the horizon, winding, rushing rivers, clear, with pebbles clinking merrily beneath their waters which glittered brightly in the sunlight, the long grasses of many a meadow, swirling around my bare feet and dancing in the wind.
I looked to music as well, to each straining chord of the organ, each triumphant blast of the trumpet, each careful pluck of the strings, and yet again, despite my efforts to find something more, my conclusions still remained at their previous dreadful state: all things good must come to an end.
I tried to keep myself occupied so as to avoid my constant premonitions of endings and of impending doom, and as I walked through a grassy field by myself one day, I happened upon something, or rather, someone, of vague interest. A boy, or perhaps “young man” would be a better description, appearing a few years older than myself, lay on his back in the grass up ahead of me. As I walked closer cautiously, I saw that he was clearly admiring the day’s sky. As he looked upward towards the heavens, a look of peace and contentment shined in his eyes, and a sort of poetic sentiment cast a light about his features. I felt a hunger, a thirst within my being: was not this the same apparent balance of the mind I had wanted so desperately for myself?
“Friend,” said I, “A look of satisfaction with life radiates throughout you. How do you achieve such a disposition? I have searched tirelessly for a purpose of life, and yet, my mind refuses to stray from the apparent truth that all merely leads to death.”
He sat up and gazed at me thoughtfully; captivating green eyes alight with the day’s sun. “Death is indeed inevitable,” he replied, “but why focus on such things? Much the contrary to what seems to be your personal belief, human nature and negativity can be defied; life is but one basic truth: perspective. We, as humans, have been given the immeasurable power of free will, and therefore, we have the ability to see things from different lights and angles, as does an artist his subject. Look not upon life’s dark edges, but upon its center, vibrant with all the colors one can imagine. Indeed, we all must die, so why not stop and admire life’s highs before that certain death occurs?”
“You are clearly justified in theory, but my melancholy creates a veil that grays and blurs all. How am I to go about getting past that?” I asked.
“Simply lift the veil and cast it away,” he said. “Though I cannot properly explain how to do so, it will come to you once you open your mind. Lie here with me and look here up to the sky. Banish all but the scene before you from your mind; see not the sky’s demise but its current state; imagine not skies filled with viscous darkness but instead look upon the living sun.”
“Anything to get rid of this gloom; to find myself again,” I replied. I proceeded to lie on the ground, letting the dew that still yet clung to the swaying grass dampen my hair and clothing. I peered up at the endless sky, forever and for but a moment. I watched as the thin, wispy clouds sluggishly blew past. I observed still as the deep periwinkle gradually lightened into a faint orange glow as the sun set, turning the horizon deep shades of violet. As the sun slowly trailed away and a velvety, regal shade of blue, along with the evening’s first twinkling stars painted a new picture for my still-eager eyes, I realize that a smile had formed upon my lips.