Archive for October, 1997

Journey's End

Friday, October 17th, 1997

I am standing on the edge of the world. I am looking out over a magnificent plain which I never even knew existed. I have travelled forever, looking for answers when I didn't even know what the questions were. My journey has been extremely difficult. I have had to cross great chasms, negotiate thick jungles and fight terrible monsters, all the while battling the force of fear and avoiding the temptation to look back, for in the past lies nothing but regret.

Only minutes ago, I was climbing a mountain, the wind all the time trying to blow me off the steep face and the rain soaking my clothes and making them heavy. Lightning was striking all about me, but I knew that if I believed in myself I wouldn't get hit. As I got closer to the summit, the wind and rain became stronger and the thunder and lightning more frequent. As I reached up for the final ledge and tried to pull myself up with the last piece of strength I thought my already weak body could muster, the wind tried its hardest to pull me off and hurtle me to my death thousands of feet below. Hanging on with the tips of my numb fingers, soaked to the skin, I thought I would never make it. A bolt of lightning struck just centimetres away. The flash blinded me and the thunder deafened me simultaneously.

You can turn away from light or close your eyes, but sound pervades your entire body, shaking and resonating every bone and muscle. The experience seemed to last forever, as if in slow motion, but when it was over I found I had the strength I needed to pull myself onto the ledge. The moment I looked over the other side of the mountain the thunder and lightning were a thousand miles away, the wind had dropped and furious blasting of the rain had resolved into a gentle drip, drip of the water falling from my saturated clothes. This was the only sound I could hear as I looked out over the great, green plain thousands of miles below, stretching away in front of me as far as the eye could see.

That sight was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, the most beautiful thing, I think, that it is possible to see. A morning mist covered most of the plain, and mingled with the clouds in the low sky so that it was impossible to tell where one started and the other ended. Sunlight broke through the mist in the distance, illuminating it with an incredible range of reds, oranges and yellows, and lighting up the entire rock face around me. I walked forwards the few yards to the edge and peered over. It was clear to see that there was no way to climb down, the way forward was even steeper than the way back. I removed my backpack, which contained all my provisions for the journey, and threw it over the edge. I never heard it land.

There was only one thing left to do. I stepped backwards as far as I could, took a deep breath and started running. When I reached the edge I took an almighty leap into the unknown. When I reached the top of my trajectory, suspended in the air by absolutely nothing, I seemed to be a creature of infinite time and space, immortal. The moment was incredible. I spread my wings and flew, flew as far and as fast as it is possible to fly over the miraculous land below me, and never landed.