Friday, March 25, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

He watched the sunlight fall in bands through the forest canopy, heard the scratching of small animals in the mulch. He tracked birdsong through the branches, content that he was the only biped in the area. Setting down his pack, he breathed deeply of the pine-scented air and smiled. 

It was a smile born of pain. And it didn't last. 

From the pack, he took a rough heel of brown bread and the last of his cheese. With his barlow knife, he sliced the cheese as thinly as possible and paired it with the bread. He chewed methodically, turning the bread to paste in his mouth before swallowing. His canteen was full, but he took only small sips. 

He had been in these woods before. He remembered the subtle bend of the deer trail and the trickle of a stream that was hidden from view. Stream might be an overstatement, he thought. Trickle. It was a trickle, but it was life, and it was for this reason that the deer came. 

From his coat pocket, he palmed his father's pistol, a .38 Police Special that his old man had carried for years and never fired. He intended to fire it, but first he needed to think. 

If he had to pick one moment when things had gotten off track, when the train of his life had derailed, then it was this: heartbreak. He was aware that he had no monopoly on the feeling, but it didn't matter. If he was honest with himself, he allowed that his heartbreak had been something special. Something extra. You lose your wife and your son and heartbreak becomes chronic. Leaden.

There was nothing holding him to life anymore. This is what he thought as he stared at the ground in front of him. He saw stalks of chewed grass, droppings from various animals, and the scratch marks where a predator had sharpened its claws on a tree. He saw life and death before him, and, once again, decided that there was nothing left in the life part. Not for him. 

His heartache had claws that were unbelievably sharp. They were tearing him apart. 

He heard a hawk cry in the distance, and the sound was so forlorn and empty that it made his chest ache. He opened the pistol and checked the loads. Fresh, shiny cartridges that looked out of place in the old gun. Like it was putting on airs. He chuckled at the idea that he needed a fully loaded gun. He didn't. 

He needed one bullet. The rest would rust and decay and be buried by time. Or found by some intrepid woodsman. It didn't matter. Maybe a deer would learn how to shoot and become king of the forest. 

It didn't matter. Not anymore. 

He pulled a cigarette from his pack and lit it with the Zippo that had also belonged to his father. The gun and the Zippo had been all he wanted from the tornado of "stuff" his father had left behind. 

He smoked the cigarette down to the butt and put the butt in his pocket. He chuckled at this, too. His whole life was about to become litter. 

It didn't matter. Not really.

The sun was just dipping in the sky when he firmed up his resolution. It was the golden hour that he loved, and it was fitting. 

The gunshot stopped the birds singing, and it drowned out the sound of the trickling water. But only for a moment. Soon, the birds were chirping and lamenting. The forest returned to stasis, the way it had been before he came. From the edge of the clearing, a buck raised his head and scented the wind, smelled something it didn't like, and bounded back into the thickest part of the woods. The sun dropped, and the night animals came.

All was right in the forest again.

Friday, March 18, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

Man, it's an investment. You're buying in, not selling out. This is one of those opportunities you read about; don't let it pass you by. 

Kid, you see the writing on the wall, right? You see that guy? He plays video games on a stream and makes bank. Not that kind of stream...or bank...what, you think we're going fishing? lol

Lady, you need to put yourself in their shoes for a second. Stop fighting progress just because it doesn't include you. Won't someone please think of the shareholders?

Folks, you're here to see a show. The show will change your life. Sit back and relax. Put this headset on. You may feel a moment of searing pain. That's just your brain connecting to the metabrain. It's worth the brief hurt. Trust me. 

Self, I knew you before you were optimized and actualized. We had a few good times. Some unpleasantness. That's over now. 

Welcome to the hive. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

You open your eyes and see the sun peaking beneath the skirt hem of low clouds. The ambitious birdcall pulls you in, and you track the conversation from pine tree to pine tree. No one else is awake yet, and that's just fine. This is a magic time, when fish are focused and hungry. 

Time moves slower. Tea tastes better. You breathe the pine scent deep inside you.

There are so many marathon days. So many days where you are content to place your feet and count your strides and check your mile times. This is not that kind of day. This day will be a leisurely stroll through high grasses. 

You know the fish are waiting, but you take a few minutes to just be still. To be part of the tableau. There is beauty in this, for you are but one small piece of an immense tapestry. Don't resist the pull of stasis. There are answers in the stillness that you didn't realize you were looking for. 

Friday, March 4, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

High in the branches, death is perched, waiting. You are being watched, for death watches all of us. It's easy to disregard this reality. It's hard to go about your life knowing you are under the laser eye of eternity, but that's just facts, man. That's the way it is. It will come when you least expect it, tear you apart with talons so sharp you barely even feel them. Like razor cuts. 

So, keep scurrying. Find places to hide if you can. Use the shadows to move.

Death don't care. That's what you need to wrap your mind around. Death will stoop and plummet, drive you into the ground with the force of its decent. That's how death works, but it's not personal. It's not a vendetta. It's just death doing what death is supposed to do. 

Circle, dive, impact, blackness.

You can go through your days in constant terror. You can flaunt your aliveness. It doesn't matter. Riding the wind currents, high in the sky, death is biding its time. 

So, do what you must. Brace yourself against the cold wind of time. Smile when you can and laugh as much as possible. Death doesn't care one way of the other. I'm telling you the truth. And when it comes, you'll be torn to pieces because death has not teeth. It doesn't chew. It just rips. Tears. Swallows. 

And the blackness lasts forever.