“The man in black fled across the desert. The gunslinger followed.
The desert was the apotheosis of all deserts huge, standing to the sky…” Stephen King
I am not following anyone, dressed in black or otherwise. However, I feel like this. Like I have been driving for days, weeks maybe, I don’t know anymore. Surviving on water and saltines. 2 CDs on repeat because all the radio brings is crackling static and the occasional ghostly whisper, words I cannot make out but the voices feel familiar somehow, twisting my guts with an audible “ouf”.
Everything is dry, unrelenting, flat, colourless save bleached greys and beiges, never been a fan of beige no matter how cool they make the name on the paint chip…unless it’s sand between my toes at the beach. There is no water here except what I carried in with me, it’s running out.
I chased a shimmering mirage, but that has long gone and faded back to hard-packed dirt and scrub brush. I passed through an oasis, but that too seems lost and long ago.
The only thing worse than making something out of nothing, is the moment the nothing starts to show through.
I’m in the Nothing.
Time passes funny here. Never been one to adhere to it regardless of where I am, but in this place it slows down and speeds up in jarring fits and starts.
My inner dialog ranges from lucid, calm and Zen to a Nuremburg rally, incomprehensible (I don’t speak German) but decidedly angry and crazed. In those moments I am afraid.
Washed out, disconnected, not lost exactly, but far from where I want to be. Not wandering, just trying to get through.
I am not alone. I keep passing the skeletal remains of burnt-out campfires, possible foot prints.
I feel it in my bones. All of us with souls are lost.
It’s not just that we cannot see the stars and the moon, we can’t feel them either.
And then, always and then…
I looked up one day and felt that rush through my being that old sailors must have felt after months of floating in rickety boats, crossing vast oceans into the unknown.
Birds. More specifically murmurations of sparrows. Psychopomps, carriers of the dead. But still, birds are never too far from land. Every traveler knows this. Let there be life.
Then the moon appeared (finally), wearing a beautiful fairy ring. Not one that denotes storms, the other kind. The one that precludes sex and sustenance.
The next morning a falcon, in plain view. A tiny drab male, but he was something to behold.
A hit can feel like a kiss when the body is starved for attention. But this, this was a cool touch on a fevered forehead. Soothing.
The whispers amongst the static became clearer. They were saying, “We are here, are you? Are you alright?”
The answer, a resounding ‘no’. But I am about to be.
I keep trying to remember we are all right where we need to be right at this very moment.
My inner toddler, that has been kicking my chair for miles and miles, has finally fallen asleep, ceased her incessant whining ‘fuck, are we there yet?’ and fallen asleep for now.
I can feel the magic seeping back into the world.
Hallelujah. Almost there.