The Appalachians rising slowly covered with a forest full of trees and green overlooking the grassy meadows. From ancient calumnies of the Utica-lower Paleozoic in Upstate New York to the Devonian Shale in the Ohio valley to the Carboniferous Coal Bed near Western Virginia, the harbinger of momentous energy supply, a constant motion of grinding, crushing folding and molding beneath the surface catapulted the ground into a wavy horizon of the Appalachian range extending hundreds of miles beyond where the fabric of vision could perceive. The liquid blue of the yonder and the dark greenish-gray foreground merged to conspire the beauty of nature as autumn days slowly eclipsed the summer months. The low-lying grounds filled with pools of water reflecting the majesty of a tempered beast underneath.
No singing Finches here, just an occasional mourn of the dove with its rhythmic coo-ah-coo-coo and the staccato movement of the grouse strutting its gait with its neck jutting out on the defoliating branches of the autumnal season. Visitations from pigeons and ducks were also common as the coated banister of the balcony of a lone log cabin, with bird droppings, belied the remains of the departing visitors. The fall colors fading from memory and the gray dawn of desolate hours looming ahead made for a season to rethink philosophies.
He sat on the ledge of his humble abode. It was a small cabin, perfect for a single person, perched atop one of the hills. The quiet of his surroundings broken only by nature’s creatures was his solitude from the advocacy of interminable activity he had left behind. His days as the Boss in the Trading Pit with numbers flying in forms of outstretched hands gasping for air in the sea of arms. The riot of the human mind in full display as commerce drove the plentitude of a society. The science of action in this constant warfare of dog-eat-dog world to survive and thrive had given way to the art of loneliness and solitude for the desire to survive and thrive.
He looked around as the sun faded below the undulating mountainous horizon. The dark cast of twilight slowly enveloping the grandeur of visible reality. The chilled air seemed to find wings and leap at his neck. A dry cough erupted from his throat as he lifted the collars of his faded blue-checkered shirt. There was a wheeze from whence the cough had originated and that seemed mild but constant and then as quickly as it had arrived it left without a trace, but he still felt the chill inside of him. He got up from the bench walked the few steps of the balcony and went indoors to the shielded warmth. He glanced at the mirror over the mantle and the two-day stubble darkened his weathered face. The two-inch long dirty blonde hair in disarray from the breeze gave him a look of a hobo. From riches that inquired looks from walker-bys, to this – loneliness of thought and philosophy, it was a movement away from his original movement, a self-imposed immersion into solitude.
The next morning the piercing sun from the East window awakened him. He felt feverish and had a mild headache. A cold maybe, he thought from the chilled air last night? He thought. He could not muster the strength to get up from the comforts of his bed. The weakness surrounded him completely. He was alone. Hours ticked by and yet the strength eluded him. Finally into the waning hours of the afternoon sun - now leaking through the southern windowpane, he managed to lift himself to the tiny cove of his dining room. With his head swimming in unholy circles of confusion and the wooden floors coming up to meet him in waves, he reached for the phone and dialed a number to his friend.
“Good Morning Sir!”
“What the hell?”
“Expected emotions, from an ex-trader and traitor to friendship.”
“You had a serious infection called psittacosis.”
“What the hell is that?”
“It is a bacterial infection from birds.”
“Do I have bird flu?”
“Not exactly. This is a bacterium that lodges in the birds.”
“So in layman’s terms, how did I get this psychosis. Or whatever?”
“Okay, here it goes. You inhaled some bird poop. The poop had a bug. It went into your lungs. It multiplied and made its way into other organs. Your body created a fever response to circumvent the infection via the white cells but to no avail. It took us almost two days to make the diagnosis and then with the right antibiotic cocktail and some prayer the rest is easy.”
“How did I get here?”
“You called, buddy, and then like other times all you said was, I don’t feel that good,”
“That’s all I said.”
“Not unlike other times. You know you could be more social.”
“You must have passed out. The EMS found you half sprawled in the kitchen your mountain hideout in your PJs.”
“Then what?” He was looking for more information.
“You had a faint pulse, a low blood pressure, a florid pneumonia and signs of meningitis – which was misleading but we had to make sure that was addressed immediately. I have n XRay in my hand since I knew you would ask. Prioritize as you used to say. Remember, the whole investment world can be going to hell but if one prioritizes one can make money. I never understood that, but I can use it too in medicine. Oh and by the way all that whited out area on the left hand side is the pneumonia from the Chlamydial bacterium. Nasty.”
"That what my inside looks like?"
"It did. But like you say don't look at the past. Cut your losses and move on."
“Clever. Using my words against me.”
“Anyway. The bird poop caused a disease called Psittacosis. You might have inhaled the dry poop or carried it in your hands accidentally or found a new meal riddled with bird poop in that forsaken land of yours.”
“Very funny. What about the enlarged spleen business?”
“A retico-endothelial reaction to the infecting agent. The spleen is a collection of these cells. Nothing of consequence.”
“Good!” He said with his fingers clutching and pulling the blanket to smooth the wrinkles and folds, exhibiting the quiet self-sustained drama of perfection played out in his inner sanctums of the mind.
“Seriously you should come back to earth now. There are a lot of very friendly women who want to meet with you. Maybe one of them might even be perfect!”
“Right! Here we go again.” He snarled. “Always against peace and quiet.”
“Never, peace and quiet are my middle names. I believe in companionship with the right person. A soul mate of sorts.”
“Just because you found the right person doesn’t mean everyone else can or will.”
“The heart can be impusive at 16 years or even at 24 but not where you are peering at the world. If you give yourself a chance to meet you will know.”
“Uh huh.” He almost looked ready for a fight but stopped short..
“We are going to celebrate this recovery at my house and I’ll enlist some help for your cause.”
“My cause, as you put it is self inflicted. I like my company.”
“Maybe. But if there were a girlfriend or wife, this calamity would have been prevented and we would be enjoying holidays together more often rather than ministering potions to cure and being ministered to for illness. Besides wouldn’t it be great to share that wilderness with someone else?”
He made a full recovery after a long treatment with an antibiotics called, Levofloxin, Clarithromycin and Chloramphenicol. With the bacterium destroyed and the infected, inflamed and inflicted upon, tissues healed to full function, as only this masterpiece of invention called the human body, will wont to do, he was back to his wise old self again. His philosophy however did change.
During the after life of the winter months when the shadows started to shrink and the once gray cloudy days broke to new color, he started to search for meaning.
He had realized that there were more things, wonderful reaches and inexplicable startles of beauty in humanity much like that of nature. And as like nature humanity speaks to the warmth of companionship. And as with a distempered reality humanity creates comfort. There is always another soul that yearns to meet its mate. He found his in the most unexpected of places – dinner at a friend’s place.
It may not be in the clashes of outspoken words nor distill of a chaotic dance, it may, sometimes lie in the most unlikely of places of quiet solitude, silent togetherness and smiling eyes.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio.
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Hamlet 1.1