Thursday, December 8, 2011

After the rain

The rain has ended with a flurry. Come with me. No one else around. Come and walk with me in the moonlit woods. Look at your breath, the way it rises into the light. The way the gust of northwest wind takes it away. Try to make out the dark shapes of the cold wet trees. Hold your imagination in check. They're not effin wraiths, they're just a mess of broken and tangled limbs. And they're not shivering. You are.

Feel your feet sink into the mud and wet leaves. A frigid hand from the grave. Be careful of the roots and rocks. You've stumbled here before, haven't you? Thinking you could orient yourself by moonlight alone after living so long in the city. Feels like you're carrying stones in your pockets. Try not to let your mortality weigh you down. Your legs are not as strong as they used to be.

No compass. GPS an effin joke. Just wild running streams where paths should be and thorny underbrush blocking your way. Cold wet shit whipping you in the face, grabbing at your sleeves. This is where you come to get lost, to renounce all the trappings of civilization, the useless books you've read, the language you no longer need. This is where your effin body comes alive to its own discomforting sensations. The erratic pumping inside your chest. The sting of tears, the burning in your nostrils. The cramp in your bowels. You're more fragile than a machine by far, you animal. Thinking you could make it more than a few hundred yards out here.

Come with me. I want to show you something. We're not looking for Jesus. We're not looking for a revelation. You can get all the revelations you want back in town. We're looking for a way out. In front of you black woods. Behind you the woods seeming to come closer. You remember Macbeth. You remember the woman who got lost in Basking Ridge not a half mile from Lord Stirling Village. A panicked mother with her kids. You remember the body the rangers found over in West Milford near the played-out mine. An old woodsman with a bum ticker dressed in new clothes. Covered in frost. You remember your mother's story of running through the witch's woods above the Neckar. Trying to outrun the witch. After living more than half a life, there's always the possibility that there is no way out. You might as well be locked in a closet suffocating. Stop and try to disentangle your thoughts from what is really there. Can't do it, can you?

Come with me and watch your breath rise through the moonlit woods. Move your hand through the little cloud of vapor. Let me know if you feel anything.

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