My windbreaker flapped on my torso, drooped over my languid limbs. Walking is a strange sensation. After a March Break of guilty languor, I was determined to “go into the wilderness and have a revelation” (Susan Cain). What a dreadful day, I thought. Rain, wind, not a hint of sunlight. It was really quite counterproductive. The intent of going for a hike to be enlightened has so far failed. Oh, what is there to see aside from the soggy soil and the fallen leaves from fall.
After five minutes I was out of breath. I muttered something about the climb that was ahead of me. A dog brushed past my right leg. Though not running, he had this coltish charm. Then two runners, clad in blue, exemplifying the Michelangelo ideals, raced past my left. No wheezing, no coughing, to my astonishment. I marveled at their supernatural talents, their glistening youth. And I trudge along.
I couldn’t risk having more dogs and gods mocking my physical ineptitude. So off the main trail I went. I walked slowly because of the mud, I really did. They stuck on my shoes as well, so please forgive my pace. This was a trodden trail that I hadn’t known it existed. It meandered around the river, the foot of the valley. To my right, trees clung to their life on a mudslide waiting to happen.
A warning sign. Enbridge natural gas pipeline. Naturally, I’d scurry away. But I was already too oxygen-deprived to make any sense of my surroundings. A unknown black object popped into my eye. As if it was a cannon, its muzzle beckoned me with open arms. What if it exploded? How could the police be convinced that I wasn’t the soul who placed that explosive? It was a black log, entirely scorched, devoid of any substance. It wasn’t the only one. Black limbs lay scattered about, their scrawny arms beckoned for mercy, their decrepit pose, feeble and wary. For it was the power lines of humanity, the elephant stumps devoid of any life, the painful wires that dragged down the cloudy sky. The land below these wires, devoid of life, not even human life.
Finally I reached that dreadful climb. But my trodden trail continued, ignoring the artificial asphalt, leading closer to the river, to the lush laps of water. I went where the sound was, I went where the water was. Oh this polluted water, this muddy vile, the vein of the city, at least in a time gone by. I solemnly stared at its banks, its curvaceous meanders, bursting with vivacity. How it beautifully carved out this valley, now ridden with regret.
I turned around and was met with a resplendent picture. The blues, the greens, the yellows; the hazy clouds with the hazy spring grass, the symmetrical trees, the asymmetrical trees. The rolling hills were just like those of a splendid countryside, its humble hues gave way to the rising, but not towering trees. I exhaled with the exultation of an internal peace. The lapping river played out just as a flautist would, with soothing charm and luscious grace.
Then I had to bid farewell. I trudged to that dreadful climb. Civilization looms before me as I approached the new arteries of life, sucking in the billowing fumes of monstrosity. At least the road I walked on had no cars. As I walked, my listless gaze was caught on some shells on the sidewalk. I bent over and was met by the translucent tentacles of a snail. A snail! What a wonder! I hurried to take out my phone and recorded this creature of captivation. It slowly slithered across my screen, upon grains of sidewalk sand. Where was it headed? But it kept moving with relentless tenacity. Its cells synchronized with fluidity, it trudged on.
As I continued up the incline, I dodged a few other shells. But some of my efforts were pointless, for some had already cracked. They had already been struck with the hammer of fate, their shells stoically sacrificing themselves, succumbing to some supernatural force. Suddenly I turned around to the sound of a splitting crack.
I didn’t want to alter nature’s course. I consoled myself by convincing myself that it wasn’t the one I recorded. And even if so, I will have the only recording in the world of that magnificence. But in both instances, my sympathies hung dry. Both picking him up or crushing him would be to alter his course of life. I imagined myself, being picked up and placed like a pawn. Moreover, what if this Earth is a plaything for the gods, for the one god named Fate. I crept towards the bustling road, incredulous of how much power humans have. The light was red, so I stood at the intersection and watched stiff-necked creatures gunning up the gas, pretending they were two-tonne beasts. The parade of monstrosity went on, until the very last yellow-light runner whizzed by. As I solemnly crossed an asphalt of death and slaughter, a left-turning car couldn’t wait to gun up the gas. As soon as I past the median, it accelerated and rolled over the death scene one more time.
What gods we are, not only able of cognition but able to contemplate such cognition. Oh such fortune! Yet how pitiful we are, as tomorrow we are caught again by our busy lives.