As the cloudy burden of the fog lifts off the trees and the sun bathes its light over the landscape, night’s candles burn off the wick and the molten wax lies still on the window sill. The creak of the wooden boards beneath his feet and the sound of a distant bird bring in the dawn. No not the light but the movement. The weight of his body burdens the chair and he sits down to gather his senses.
The sunlight peeks through between the curtain, an isolated ray coursing over the wooden floor leaving in its wake a trail of dust that floats endlessly in swirls from an unseen, unfelt breeze. A tiny ant crawls from the shadow into the ray of light on the floor, disoriented momentarily then turns back to the shadows once again joined by its kin. They are in search of food, darting this way and that.
He shuffles to the whistle of the teapot that he put on the stove to end the misery of the cacophony that has suddenly robbed the room of its peace. Every movement is measured as he fixes his tea and walks back to the chair. The seat is still warm, but the table in front is cold as he puts his mug on it. A swirl of dust flies back into the ray of light from the movement.
“Why must a person suffer such?” His mind entertains the pain of waking up. “Why can’t the sleep in the night find permanence?” Weighty thoughts of pain course his mind. The pain of living without being. “Why must life torture existence?” He wonders. “The undiscovered country might bear misfortunes worse than the ones he is faced with.” His mind retorts. Ah the Hamlet in him cries out for justice and the fear in him forces him into reality. Reality seems out of frame. His anchor slips and finds another hold. The process continues in a mind gifted with intellect and wisdom.
“Why must life torture existence?”
To toil, he wonders, to spend an eternity in every moment of living. The joy and the pain folded into one. But what, when the skip is gone and the slow agonizing trudge has replaced it? When did that happen? When did life cease to be a reminder of better things to come? He is not sure. Yet there it is, the present, staring back at him with wide blue/green eyes. The demographics of his body are changing. The skin weathered under the sun, the hair has turned grey, his view perplexed at the blurred sight, now needs refraction, his thoughts once a collective heave of responsibility now muted to the shuffle reaching for his cup of tea. Life’s slow winter’s cruelty of time seems to frost over the short colorful spring.
He hears the faint echoes of the birds outside, chirping their delight of the last bud on the tree. Yet the sounds are muted, engulfed by the weighty burden of time. What measure of man, he thinks, must endure such rigors of tortuous thoughts in the frail weakness of these wintery moments, when time spent is vastly more than that which lies ahead.
Caught in the blizzard of thought, his eye catches the ant again. It is carrying a morsel of food three times its size making its way somewhere.
With the impulse of the moment, he gathers his winter coat and bundles himself against the squeal of the late autumn wind and imbued with the force of his former nature, steps out in the cold air. No, he thinks “I will not let it defeat me.” The steam rises from the tea in the cup disrupted by the breeze from the opened door.
“I will not let it defeat me.”
The brisk air feels good. The warm sunshine shields against the cold air. A delightful feeling, he muses, as he walks down the path from his home to the park nearby. The children are calling each other and there is laughter and delight as the images of the past come pouring into his mind.
“Nice day.” A voice next to him professes. He turns to look at his longtime neighbor. “Yes, it is!” “It is” He responds with more candor as all the doldrums of his waking hour dissipate and dissolve into the sunlit trees and bushes casting long thin early morning shadows. It is still good to be alive, he thinks. Let the groan of pain deprive the feed on itself for another day. Today there is joy. A chance to meet and see humanity. A chance to live and revel in the muse of happiness.
All is well for the moment and for this day, for he stepped out into the world to live.