Deep Reflections of A Shallow Pond This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

September 27, 2011
The streets of the town were empty, the inhabitants long since gone home, tucked away safely inside their beds, as me and my best friend lay side by side in the only four way stop in the town. The sky was clear, and the stars shone down upon us like light leaking through the black veil from some heavenly world, and the moon illuminated the town, casting upon it ghostly shadows. In the distance I could see the lights of the neighboring city bleeding into the night, mans attempt to defy the darkness that had always existed and would exist long after man was extinct. I felt the bumpy asphalt beneath me, a sea of dark tar and rocks that humanity had created to ‘civilize’ nature, and to tame the Earth. I saw the houses, works of brilliant architecture, built to keep out the cold, the crawlers of the Earth, and the pestilence of the night. Also, though I noticed what it kept in, the love of parents, the cries of scared children, and the confusing emotions of the ones that dwelled within the houses.

My friend stirred, talking as he always did, unstopping and prophetic, and I turned to listen to him. My hand curled, scooping up small stones that had been scattered across the road. I felt the smooth stones sliding across my palm and again my mind wandered, pondering what these rocks were, where they had come from and what they had seen. Had they seen the horrible Indian massacre of this valley? Had they maybe seen even the forerunners of humanity struggling to survive while beasts of unimaginable ferocity hunted them? I could only begin to imagine what these rocks had seen in their nigh infinite lives.

The road began to rumble, the small pebbles clicking and vibrating as a car sped closer, so my friend and I scrambled, fear shooting through us. With a deafening roar the car sped past us, the driver so immersed in driving and getting to his destination that he didn’t even notice us. We watched the taillights fade into the never ceasing night, and I realized that driver and car could be easily related to life, to all the people that speed through it just to get to the final destination, but never notice the things they could have or experience the wonders they should have. I wondered then if that man had ever looked at the moon and felt the carnal desire to howl, to dance around a fire in worship of an unseen protector, or smell a flower just to know what it felt like. Probably not, I sadly concluded, That man has probably never had the desire to live, but survives to die.

Then, the town died. Lights flickered before finally giving into the almighty destroyer, the consumer of all things light and lovely, and the darkness enveloped the city. My mind screamed, begging me to run home, find light and hide in a safe bed lest the consumer of light should target me next, but my heart protested instead telling me that maybe the consumer was a giver. I stared up into the sky and let nature envelope me, letting my mind fade, and the inner soul that had lay dormant for so long leapt forth, feeding off the raw nature, which at that moment encased me. My friends voice droned on, but I was far away, my mind buried beneath this new feeling of unity, this feeling of peace and love. I felt the world beneath me shift, rotating around a massive ball of fire and gas. My toes seemed to sink into the ground, feeding off the warmth that had been trapped there during the hot day. Hair stirred gently in a breeze, which I couldn’t see, but instead one that I could taste. This breeze had come a long way to be tasted by me, all the way from the east coast, traveling day after day to reach me at that exact moment. The air had never been fresher. Then it stopped, I fell back into reality, and my body was again mortal and frail, but I could still taste upon my tongue that gentle breeze.

Silence fell. My friend had stopped. Without a word, he rose and began heading south down the empty street. He didn’t even wave goodbye, why would he, for we both knew this wasn’t a ‘goodbye’, but the start of an eternal ‘hello’. I lay upon the ground for a time; the amount of time is lost to me, for when in a state of elevation, time becomes an irrelevant factor. I watched the stars move, the sky shifting as the Earth orbited the unseen Sun. In twenty years, forty years, or even sixty years, I could be laying beneath this same sky, different stars, different place, but I knew I would experience the same feeling I had then, the feeling of being alone, but being perfectly happy being alone. The feeling that man had battled, and would battle for eternity, the feeling of loneliness, the dread of hours spent within ones own mind, and I, a young boy, had defeated it, not by surrounding myself by artificial friends or stimulants, but by embracing it. I held my breath, and heard the silence of the town, the silence of mankind, the empty noise that had always been, and I enjoyed it. It filled me with a sense of dread and joy, a bittersweet taste as realization began to form. This silence was here before me, and will be after me. I mused, and it will be the thing that kills me. Not the stopping of my heart, or the ceasing function of my brain, but the silence that always was filling me, silencing me.

I stood up slowly, the thought of my parents being upset with me for being out so late barely had grazed my heightened sense of existence, and in habit my body had risen. I started down the road towards my home, heading due north, knowing somewhere behind me, back towards me, my friend was also walking home, and the thought comforted me. That night I was not afraid of the night, and as I walked home, even the usual clicking of my shoes on asphalt was absorbed into the silence. It took less than five minutes to get home, but will take a lifetime to interpret and understand what wonders my mind beheld that night. As my hand closed upon the doorknob of my house, another door swung shut, and I returned to reality once more, but now I know that there is another door, another option to this bland life know as reality, and every once in a while I sneak away, and slip into the silenced world of wonder again.

Life isn’t about the great moments, or the acmes, instead it is about the times no one remembers, the moments swept away by the rushed lifestyle humanity has adopted in order to maximize its full time upon this world, the moments that are truly living. Living is not a light term. Living is not striving for the next great event to feel important and alive, its living today, because tomorrow will never come, and yesterday was never here. It is noticing the unnoticed and seeing the beauty in the hideous. Life is an experience, not a montage of great events, and anyone who is too busy rushing from moment to moment is not alive, they are already dead. Mankind has always fought life, trying to find ways to live longer, and it’s killed them. I have given up on fighting death, embraced it, and now I’m living. Sometime the things we fear, like darkness, death, and silence, are simply higher principles we have not yet been allowed to understand and appreciate, and sometimes the greatest things in life are the simplest, and smallest.





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