Tuesday, 18 February 2014
A Long Time Dead
The wind carried something with it that day. Daniel could feel it. It was not the biting cold that came down from the north, an infectious, bitterness that permeated the skin, burying its claws deep, finding its way inside his veins. Nor was it the dampness that fell from the dark clouds that scurried overhead, charging across the valley, driven on by the ever present wind. This feeling of Daniel's came from within and it was not the first time that he had felt it. Today though, it was different. Perhaps it was the cold that made his mind drift and long for the warm days of summer, more so this day than before. Whatever it was, it mattered not. In his heart, Daniel knew what he must do, as he had known for some time now.
~ ~ ~
This morning, as I walked down into the city of Wellington, through the cemetery at Bolton Street, a thought came to my mind. 'A long time dead.' I'm not sure what brought this thought to my mind. Like so many thoughts that occur, a spark of some mysterious force triggers them seemingly out of nowhere, but the truth is that deep down, some place in the subconsciousness, this thought has been forming, growing and watered, waiting for the moment when it would raise its head from the soil and make itself known. The old graves of the cemetery, the stones that look down upon the city and the water, they were the trigger today. Underneath that earth are the remains of people that once lived, who once breathed just as you and I breathe, who smiled, laughed and cried, who believed that there would always be another day.
The truth is that one day will come the last day. It might not be today, nor tomorrow, it might not even be for a number of years, yet that day will surely come, as surely as night follows day. Each day that we live out our lives brings us one day closer to our inevitable end. Is that a melancholy and depressing thought? I don't mean it to be. I use it only to illustrate one very important point: the need to make hay, the need to make dreams a living reality sooner rather than later. Or, as a certain Robert Herrick once wrote, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may."
This cycle tour has illustrated that to me very clearly. At certain moments I have felt a rush of life force flooding my veins. I have been unable to prevent a beaming grin from erupting on my face. In the middle of no where, on my own, surrounded only by the wild of nature, the calls of birds, the hum of cicadas, I have laughed out loud, I have punched the air with sheer glee and delight, an overwhelming emotion of being here, of living out my dream and the giddy, euphoric happiness that comes with it. There have been moments when I have wanted to cry, overcome with raw emotion and joy. Those moments, those are the precious moments that define a life. No, not just a life. They define life.
I am guilty of squandered chances. I know that much to my own chagrin. I try not to waste chances but waste them I do. Sometimes fear gets the better of me. It is important to own up to such things because I feel it is important that any reader know that everyone is imperfect. I talk to others of the pursuit of dreams and I encourage them. I always shall. I want to see others accomplish their goals and achieve their desires. I use my own life as an illustration that anyone, that everyone can do this. It is simply a case of taking the first step and then the next. Those wasted chances, some I may live to regret, but I also know that certain chances will come again, if they were meant to be. That is how we learn the lessons and how we grow our life spirit.
I have dreams to be fulfilled. I do not know if I will achieve them all. Right now, I have a work in progress. My cycle tour is underway, I already feel that I have accomplished so much more than I could ever have expected. Nonetheless, I will see it through to the end. And after? There is a question that remains to be answered. One dream at a time. Life has a way of resolving itself, of bringing you what you need, when you need it, you just have to keep your eyes open. More than that though, you must keep your heart open and see the world through its eyes. Perhaps that is the best advice of all.
Never reach the end and look back with regret. The best definition of regret I can offer is that regret is wasted energy. If you can change something, change it. If you cannot, move on and leave it behind. To reach that final day and to know that there were things that you still wished to accomplish, things that you knew you could have done, that is not regret. This is my definition of hell. And you shall not find me there.
~ ~ ~
Daniel stood up and began to walk back down the hillside. He began slowly, finding that despite the downward force of gravity, his legs felt tired and heavy, unwilling to move. "Perhaps I sat for too long?", he wondered, but already he knew that was not the reason for the heaviness he was feeling. Sitting up on the hill, Daniel had looked out across the hills, valleys, rivers and fields of this land he knew so well and he had made a promise to himself. It was that promise that now weighed heavily on his shoulders and gave reluctance to his legs. "When I get to the bottom of the hill and reach home, everything will change and nothing will ever be the same again." Had he made the right decision? He could change his mind and no one would ever know about the promise that he had made to himself. No one that was, except for his own heart. Yet, even as the thought of breaking the promise came to him, a chink in the clouds appeared, sending a shaft of sunlight beaming down to light up a patch of stony ground on the earth below. It was a sign and in that moment, any weariness left him. In that moment of cloud, sun and earth, Daniel knew something important, he felt some how different. He had begun and he would see it through. And with that thought, Daniel's heart began to be happy.