THE WALK

There is a certain minute in every night that the entire world goes silent. It’s hard to know when the minute is however,  it changes every night but for that one minute the world stops and there is nothing but unbelievable silence. Just as the human mind can find it’s moment of absolute peace, so can the planet. Not everybody will be able to experience this moment. I myself have only felt it once but it does exist. You just have to open enough to accept the possibility of it and it will find you and with it, the solutions to all your problems.   

 

One night I went for an unexpected walk. My mind was a clutter of activity that night . Work, family, bills and the many dramas of everyday life. The snow came down hard that night. I remember seeing in the news before I left that we were under a winter storm advisory and I was dreading the next day of work. The winter makes my job so much harder to do in the snow and without forcing myself to complete a full day,  it would be hard to pay the necessary bills on time. I hate when my family has to struggle. I hate when , what seems like impassible obstacles,  are put in front of me and I am powerless to bring relief to those I love.  It always seems as if right when I start to get ahead in life, I am drug right back to the starting line.

 

The constant tapping of my feet is what convinced me to go out into the night. My ears were acquainted with a familiar ringing. More like a humming. One that starts deep within my head and echoes throughout my entire body. The sound of millions of ants scratching the walls of my skull. I rub my face and eyes hard, massaging my temples. I felt as if the only way to free myself from the burdens of life would be to cut the ties that bind me and to run. Run as fast as I can. Run and not stop until I am as far away as I can be  but  then what am I really running away from? Life, family, bills, responsibilities? No! I am running away from myself and no matter how fast I run and no matter how far I get, it would never be fast enough and  it could never be far enough away to silence my brain. So I walk.

 

It was pointless in even attempting to  sleep. I know these kind of nights well.  I am no stranger to laying awake in the bed until my bones stiffen. My eyes fixated on the shadows on the walls fantasizing about a world I would never know. So here I am and here I walk.  I walk by the old high school. I can still hear the loud talking and laughter in the halls. I can hear the grunts of my team on the football field and the eruption of applause after a win. I can see vividly my younger self standing outside the gym doors waiting for my ride. Looking out onto the now dark field and wishing for the peace that falls upon it with a simple flip of a switch. Why can’t it be this easy for me.  Why can I not have a switch that allows me to be at peace. I turn to look and share his vision of the field. A blanket of snow now covers it. What warmth it appears to have covered by the thick layers of snowy cotton. How comfortable it must feel.  I turn again to see  myself sitting on those gym steps. Head in my hands. Wondering. Wondering what the scene would be at home that night. Knowing there is no real escape from the storms that wait for me. It’s hard to concentrate and prepare for what the future may hold when one is just waiting for the next lightning and anticipating the thunder that follows. I look away. I wish I could be the reassurance he never had.  I wish I could tell him it’s almost over. That soon he will be on his own and will find the  peace he’s looking for. That once he leaves the ringing in his ears will stop. I wish I could tell him that silence is coming but I can’t and it isn’t. I know what happens next. I know that his attempts to silence the world would only make the noise louder and never ending. “I know it’s not your fault son”.  I say to myself. The noise has always been there. You have never been at peace. You have always known fire and fury. I turn back my eyes for another look but all that is left is footsteps in the snow. Where did he go?! I look around curiously. “Are these mine?” I whisper to myself . I tighten my jacket. I pull down my hat. I walk away.

 

I walk towards the boulevard. treading through this long stretch should quicken my fatigue. I’ve never know this street to be dark. The lights of the  store fronts were always on, reflecting off the show windows that had  just been cleaned before the workers went home. No snow plows were out yet. Surprisingly there were no tire marks on the fresh snow either. I look south, then north, No cars. Interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this street without at least a couple cars passing by. I continue to walk north as the snow slowed its pace floating straight down now.Softer. The thickness of each flake took the form of ocean life fighting through the buoyancy of space to reach the floor. Until it was reunited with the rest of it’s kind, it would never stop.  There was a glow that seemed to be coming the ground. Ever flake falling intensifying the mass that was mounting beneath my feet.

 

I pass by the mayors campaign headquarters. I laugh to myself. To think that the man hoping to be re-elected has not even given the thought to send the plows out to take care of the streets before the morning commutes. There has got to be about a foot of snow on the ground already.  I bet his driveway will be clear though. Why wouldn’t they be? His perceptions of the world  is as a child watching television. His parents warning him to not sit so close. “you’ll go blind” They’ll warn him as they bring him his dinner.  What is he really being protected from though. Life? Reality? He will continue to live with the delusions that one can make  the dramas of the world go away by simply turning off the television or  by shutting the blinds.  That the solutions to any of his  problems are a call away and so long as the TV remains off and the blinds remain closed, his worries will be few.  He will rule as lord of his lands and  from his castle he will Imagine all his people as happy as he is. He will move up the royal ranks by enchanting the people with fairy tales of prosperity and pleasures and as he lays down to sleep each night he will see visions of all those in his land lay comfortably, certain of the rewards that awaits them.  Through his procession to the throne, he will chant loudly about the battles he has endured against his villainous counterparts who will stop at nothing to take away the riches that he has promised them . He will become King. He will rule all in his lands and now all the roads have about a foot and half of snow on them. No cars. No Plows. No headlights. Nothing.

 

The winds picked up as I passed the park. I spent some time looking out into the dark, empty white hills that have formed because of the Storm. The updrafts delivering the resting snow back into the skies , shining in front of the  smoky backdrop of  clouds and momentarily  giving it life again. Through the static of the scene I saw a shadow. I tightened my eyes attempting to focus through the night and the white ice slamming against my face. I could tell it wasn’t just some obscure object. I shielded my face with my hands and I see the form clearly. It was a rabbit. About 40 yards away from me sitting in the middle of the field. Like a dot of a domino it sat there. The glow of the snow engulfing the creature and there it sat. The wind was blowing with a fury now pushing me slightly in an easterly direction. I lift the cuffs of coat to cover my chin and neck. The snow, which is falling hard again on the world is mounting on my shoulders but there the rabbit sat. Motionless. Silent.  Slowly I walked closer, fearing the commotion I would surely make  battling through the  depth of the snow would startle the poor creature. I got to about twenty yards of it and I would go no further. My legs tired from the journey. Not once did the rabbit move. Still it sat. The thought that it had died there because of the cold ran across my mind. I investigated the surrounding snow and saw no tracks. It must have been here for a while now. Maybe it got stuck and was taken by the blistering winds. Again, I shielded my eyes to look closer. I  wiped the saturation from the snow melting on my warm face from my brows. To my surprise I found to be looking back at me were the dark eyes of the animal. Like black beads they stared at me. The glow from the snow reflecting from the glossy eyes. It was most certainly alive and it had  most certainly  been sitting there for hours. The storm continued to intensify but there it sat and so there I stood, Knee deep in the field of snow. The houses that surrounded the park were dark.

 

The only light coming from the town were  from the two or three porch lights left on out of habit. Not a soul was out this night. No other creature was in sight. Looking past behind the dark furry rebel was a universe of field and snow and past behind its only friend that night was the same but there it stood.  Alone. Still. Silent. I thought to myself,  how small this animal must feel compared to the world around it. How scared it must be when the sun is up and the clatter of the population stomp around and creates chaos. How helpless it must feel right now , sitting in the dark, buried in this field. Cold and wet,  with the havoc of the winds slamming against it’s body. A singular figure trapped in this storm helpless to do anything about it. Nowhere to run, nowhere to turn.

 

The winds were at a most extreme force now. I shielded my face and turned my back to the snow crashing against it. If this rabbit stays out here it will definitely die, I thought. As hard as could I moved to position myself between the winds and the body of the rabbit. Unable to lift my legs over the snow hills I drudged through, forcing my legs forward. The rabbit still stoned. Once I got to the position I was looking for,  I looked back down at the rabbit. I looked right down into its dark face and I noticed something. It  had no look of distress. Absolutely no look of discomfort. It appeared calm and without worry. I was confused. Here it sat, alone in the dark with the full force of nature crashing down on the animal . Winds, snow, fury just tumbling down  on it. No other heartbeat in it’s entire existence,  In this stormy, shadowy emptiness. It sat. Without worry. Without fear. I didn’t understand why but I began to  lightened the grip of my coat. I untightened my body and stood there, next to the sitting rabbit. The storm hammering down on us both. Still,  there we stood. Suddenly with my eyes closed ,a feeling came over me. I felt as if the winds had finally lifted me out of the field and into the air. I was floating out into space. I extended my arms and could feel the tiny tapping of ice hitting my shoulders and cheeks. I was calm. I was still  but most importantly I was silent.  With the world falling apart around me a sense of serenity had taken over.

 

I opened my eyes. The sky was clear. the wind had died and the glow of the full moon was now shining down on us. Though I was back on the ground the weightlessness I had felt just a moment earlier was still with me. I had finally felt peace. As if for a moment, the world had stopped and all that remained in the universe was me and the rabbit. There was no sound around. No wind, no rattling of leaves. Nothing. I looked down to make sure my furry friend was ok. Nothing. It wasn’t there. I looked around quickly to see where it had gone but just as I had seen seen no tracks leading it to that spot, I saw no track leading away. As I examined further for the rabbit I noticed the untouched hills of snow surrounding me. There were no tracks at all into the field, including my own. None at all. I was standing in the middle of an empty dark field as if the skies had lifted me up and carefully placed me there. How long have I been standing here I thought.

 

I walked through the door of my house as quiet as I could, trying not wake the kids.  I removed my wet clothes and walk into the bedroom. I layed down and closed my eyes. “ Is it still storming outside?” My wife said as she turned over and place her arm around me.  “ It was. It was storming pretty bad, but it stopped.” I replied back to her.


“ No matter how bad a storm gets, it always passes. You just have to be still and quiet and let the storm pass.”