Prose

It is a long way off now, but I can remember being a child.  I recall the wonder and anticipation of awe I felt.  I remember the urges, the crushes, the secret moments, the adventures not yet had.  I remember nature in a way I almost forgot these later years.  I remember how it felt to know eternity was not only real but tangible. I lived it. I touched it.  Then gradually, with not even a hint of remorse, the world began chipping it all away.  Now in my adulthood I find myself looking back more and more.  Because now even the earth’s beauty seems like a foreigner to me.

I like to take pictures of nature.  Maybe because that little mechanical eye piece acts as a security blanket protecting me from confronting real and imagined demons.  But I must confess, I feel like some apologetic voyeur, stealing snapshots of someone not belonging to me. A moment and a life I am alien to. Like peering through a cafe window at lovers adrift in each others eyes only to catch my own demoralized reflection staring back at me against their soft rendezvous.

How did it happen? Is this the curse of age? I don’t understand time, but I understand enslavement to it nonetheless.  Life became sullied by the bureaucratization of time.  Every minute so regimented and explained that the next is barely experienced. Time has been used by industrial society as a way of reinforcing economic consumer cycles, shackling the soul and causing it to forget the ancient and the eternal. It becomes little more than a march of phantoms. Everything becomes a parody of itself when you are in nothing more than a big waiting room. Spoiler alert: Godot never arrives.

But now I stand on the edge of my own time, a blip in the geological sense. Each year seeming to get shorter and more hurried than the last as I make my quickening approach to the veil. Not getting out of this alive, I know. But can I live? Can I really live now? An alien in nature, an alien in my own skin, and an alien in the culture of man?  Rest assured, I am not lining my pockets with stones and preparing to wade into the River Ouse, but I am most certainly on a ship laden with boulders on the same ill fated mission. Can anyone tell me our entire species is not on this ship right now?  And countless other hapless sentients too?

I have realized with great pain that the couple in the cafe, the couple I was spying on with envy, is dying. Really dying.  The glass I was looking through was fogged and refracted. But the longer I looked, the longer I shed the cloaks of vapid optimism, the more I realize that the photos I took were of a hospice bed. And how does the culture of man answer this? “Speed it up, boys. Onward to the cliff!”

Perhaps we will all end up on the cutting room floor come the next act. Exit stage right. But my delightfully amusing and ever so clever wittiness is starting to really bug me. Whatever will I do if no one reads about my existential angst in these last chapters of a self absorbed and suicidal race?

Kenn Orphan  2014