Le Voyageur contemplant une mer de nuages
To Tim, on his 72nd birthday.
Silence. Nothing but silence. A young old man is on the ground. He looks as though he is sleeping. Is he? It is not a usual place to have some rest.
There is a wild, dark wood at his right. It looks dark and tricky, but not threatening. You would surely get lost if you came into this wood. At his left, a high steep wall. It is not possible to see its top.
Two green eyes try to be opened, but they hurt. For once, it is not the light but the darkness to hurt someone’s eyes.
It is hard for the young old man to breath. He feels a strong pressure on his chest. He is confused. He does not remember what happened to him, where he is or even if he is alone or not. He tries to talk to ask for help but he is not able to. Therefore, he decides to move and check out what is going on. It is not as easy as he thought it would have been. He feels a strong pressure on one of his arms and one of his legs, too.
Suddenly, he coughs. The strength of the cough makes him move. He feels that something falls down from him to the ground. They are rocks. He moves some rocks that are on his chest first, then those that block his arm, with his free hand. He realizes that he is wounded, but he moves the rocks that block his leg, too. Now he is free. Is he?
He is about to close his eyes again and lie down. He wants to give up. His mouth is dry, his eyes hurt and he is wounded. He is all alone, or he thinks so. Has he any reason to go on?
All of a sudden, he feels the breeze. It is fresh and good and makes him smile and have some hope. He sighs deeply.
- Where am I? – he says. He does not expect any answer, but a bright soft voice answers:
- You are in the impossible land. Nobody can be here. Stand up and walk. Get out of here.
- Who are you? – he is astonished.
- We are the Spirits of the Wind. We help people to find their way. Open your eyes and you will see.
He does and he sees something astounding. The breeze, which he felt before, is, actually, the wind moving with colours and undefined forms. He sees the colour red, yellow and even the white.
- We have not a solid body. Do not get scared. Trust us. We want to help you.
- We care about humans. We care about you.
A confused mind is scared. He moves to the steep wall and sits. He hides his face in his hands.
- Leave me alone. – he says.
- We cannot do that, young old man. We do not want to do that, leaving you on your own. You are wounded. We see that. We have seen all that happened. You came from that wood near here. You looked so confused and tired. Then you came closer to the wall, but some rocks collapsed up there, fell down and hit you. You have been unconscious for some time. Now you have to move. It is dangerous to remain here.
- I cannot go anywhere. I am thirsty and so tired.
- You have no option. You either move or die. You can drink the dewdrops that you see on the leaves of that plant there. It will help.
Two green eyes want to cry, but they do not find any tears to free. A tired young old man stands up and steps towards the wood. The Spirits of the Wind do not agree with that choice. They cause a strong whirlwind and push him to the wall.
- Not that way. You cannot return to the wood. Those who try it, get lost in memories and pain.
- So…what am I supposed to do? There is nothing but the wood! – his voice sounds desperate.
- You are wrong. There is the wall, too- they answer.
He looks at the wall. It is steep and dark. He cannot see clearly what it is on the top as there are clouds around.
- You have to climb this – they say.
- No…you must be joking! I do not know where I am, who are you, what I will find out on the top of this wall…I’ve just drunk some dewdrops after a long while and I am wounded. My arm and my leg hurt so badly and I can hardly move them.
- We will help you. We will not leave you alone. Never.
A tired body falls on its knees.
- I will not be able to…
- We can tell to you what you will find after the climb. No more darkness and pain.
He weeps in silence but he understands that he has to keep going on. Some minutes later, he finally stands up.
- So you have decided to live! How nice! Now listen to our words carefully, because while you are climbing, the strong wind will not allow you to hear us.
- I will be all alone, is it that what you are saying? – he asks hopeless.
- No, you will never be alone. We will be there. You will feel us. However, the way to until the top of the wall is to be done by you. Only by you. Now listen to us. There is not a lot of light on this side of the mountain. You have to be careful, because if you are not, you can fall down. Be sure to have a tight grip before moving your feet and that your feet are firmly in place before moving your hands. Hold yourself to the wall with all the strength you have and everything will be fine.
Maybe because of the fear he is feeling, he feels as the Spirits of the Wind are smiling to him in a lovely way. This warms his heart and brings him some courage. He puts his hands on the cold wall. He feels the rocks and realizes that one of his hands has some blood on it. He is bleeding from his wounds. It makes him think that he will not be able to reach the top. Then the Spirits of the Wind help him by pushing him to the top.
- Come on! Do not ever doubt!
Eternity. If there is something that can be defined as “eternity” it is every single second that takes to the young old man to climb the wall. Or he thinks so. One hand. Then the other. After them, the feet. Repeatedly. It seems as it will never end. A couple of times he is about to fall down. If it happens, he will die. In these moments, he feels something pushing him to the top. Something is helping him. “They must be the Spirits of the Wind” and this feeling makes him smile. He cannot hear them. As they said before, the wind up there is too violent. He cannot see them, neither. The wind moves his long curly hair and does not allow him to observe where he is. His eyes still hurt, maybe they hurt more than before because of the wind.
Suddenly, he feels that it is not as raging as it was. “I am already near the top, already”, he thinks. His hands are bleeding. He has wounded them in the climbing. He is not able to feel the pain anymore, though. He finally reaches the top of the wall. It seemed impossible to do. He is exhausted. He drags himself some meters and leaves the cliff behind. Lying on his back, he realizes that a blue sky is over him.
- I did it…- he whispers. A fresh kind breeze caresses him.
- It is not the end of your way, yet.
He can hear the bright voices of the Spirits of the Wind again. He is glad he can, but their words worry him.
- You are not safe, yet. Stand, move, go on. Come on…
He can hardly move after the big effort he had done. It takes him some time to stand up. The Spirits of the Wind keep taking care of him all the time. When he is finally on his feet, he sees a sea of fog in front of him. His legs shake and his soul sobs.
- No way. I cannot cross this, too. – he is about to fall on his knees again, but the Spirits of the Wind make a strong but gentle whirlwind around him to keep him standing.
- Pay attention- they say- look at the skyline. Do you see this beautiful surface shining at the horizon? It is the sea. It is the place where you have to go. Do not worry anymore. Until you reach the sea, you will find a pleasant path to walk. Do not be scared, we will be near you all the time.
They delicately pose the young old man on the floor, because he has to walk the path himself. He steps on with a smile on his face and the image of the sea in his mind.
M.F. 19th April 2018
Picture: Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by C.D. Friedrich c.1819