by David Draper
Tonight I waited. I laid my heart at the foot of the widest oak. Lying on my back, I raised my legs up the base of the tree and leaned my feet on its waist. For some time I stayed, little more than breathing, I rested my mind for what seemed to be decades knowing the world was still rushing fervently around me. Yet for all the flashing lights, roaring engines, crying babies, busy streets and foot-tread sidewalks I found some simple sense of nirvana. There was no thought of wars, religions, relationships, world powers or disasters. There was only this moment.
What followed was no adventure. It was no chasing conquest. It was a waking… from what must be dreams… mere shells of truth.
I rolled onto my knees and found myself nose to the ground inhaling weeds and soft dust that littered the ground between my fingers and beneath my chest. As I ran my hands back and forth, fingers turning dirt into simple figures I began to see the bigger picture of what my body had been drawing out of my heart. My mind only catching up to the revelation at play, recognized these six symbols as one bigger thought. I was bent on what I found, one word:
At first glance it may have seemed foolish but I quickly acted upon what was in front of me. First with fingernails and then whole hands I scratched through the surface of my earthy bed and cleared a hole. It grew and as I leaned deeper in to reach the bottom I found I’d lost sight of the busy world above me. At times I may have felt trapped by this scene but the further I crawled from the noise of the world above me the clearer I became. Not long in I hit what seemed to be an impassible obstacle. No sandstone or hardened clay but granite. I heard its message in clear distinction. It stated without remorse, “This is as deep as you will go”. I’d met this obstacle before, this lie… It spoke with such confidence that I was almost deterred and in times past I most certainly had been but tonight held new wonder. I stood above it and lifted my heel until my knee was in my throat and with all I’d learned and all I’d hoped for I thrust downward. Its lie and all that seemed solid in it crumbled beneath me and my determination granted me passage to deeper knowledge.
I dug for what could have been seconds or days. Sweat dripping from my forehead, dirt gritting between my teeth and my fingernails bursting with dust I continued. I cleared my way in and around the roots of the tree that seemed to know much more than I how deep this road would go. As I followed I found they must know of the rewards that lay even further below. Without warning what I thought was a thick and endless maze of root and earth broke away beneath me and I began to fall. I reached in all directions until my hand grasped the deepest of the oak roots. In all directions I saw darkness but as I searched I saw a soft luminescent glow beneath me. It was growing and as it grew my surroundings became clearer and clearer. I’d fallen into some great cavern hidden away from those at the surface. I glanced up and saw the root that held me from this unknown fate had coiled itself like a spring; all but the tip that I had latched on to.
Realizing my distress the root began to unwind. Slowly and gently I began to sink into the abyss. I gazed down at the light that had settled my doubts and fears and as I came closer it evaded me. Settling my feet once again on the ground beneath me I followed the glow through one of the tunnels shooting out of the main hall. It must have been brighter at the source and so I set my mind on seeking it out. Soon I heard a whisper. Though it couldn’t have started as such. Wherever it began it had to have been as bright and proud as the light that laid further down the tunnel.
I strolled leisurely down these winding paths but as far as I went neither the light nor the whisper grew any stronger. It wasn’t long until I understood: The light would show me what of itself it desired and the whisper would not sing for me before it was ready. I laid again, back to the ground and feet leaned against the wall rising above me, hands behind my head and let out what breath was left in my lungs. The glow and the whisper remained steady and at least for the time at hand, they were my satisfaction.
David Draper • 25| American| living in SA| Working in ministry|
Conspiring with God to upset the established order|
Inciting nostalgic inspiration| writing| fasting| feasting |