15 April 2011

An excerpt

Several hours into the day, he noticed that the road ahead of him seemed to end—it climbed a hill, then ended in the middle of the air.  He knew that it probably kept going down the other side of the hill, of course, but how could he be sure?  He smiled as he thought about it—what would he do if the road didn’t continue?  Where would he go then?  What would he do?  He was pretty sure he didn’t have to worry about it, but it was interesting to think of.

     Then it struck him—the language he had learned had given him another way of thinking, another way of looking at things.  He remembered very few thoughts from the time before he had language—he had had many impressions, reactions, and feelings, but the language he had learned had given him the ability to think of things that he couldn’t see, that he couldn’t hear, that didn’t even exist.  Just a few days earlier, he would have just looked at the road; he would have just seen it and followed where it led.  Now, though, he was thinking about what would happen if the road stopped existing.

     Did the words give him this power of thought?

     He continued walking; he had nothing else to do, and he knew it was right to do so.  So he walked, and he thought.  And as he thought, he noticed that his preoccupation with the thoughts was turning him inwards; he wasn’t seeing nearly as much as he had seen on the road before.  During his first few days, he had seen everything, had felt the aliveness of the world around him, had felt as if he were a vital part of it.  Now, his eyes often fixed themselves to the dirt of the road before him as he walked, and at times he would walk a considerable distance without seeing anything except the dirt.  He stopped as the thought came to him, and he turned around.

     That tree—the magnificent tree that stretched so gracefully and powerfully into the sky, surrounded at its base by a field of colorful and playful wildflowers—how had he missed that?  How had he walked right past it without seeing it?

     And what else had he missed that he never again would have the chance to see?

     Tricia’s words came back to him, about her grandfather’s warning that she would see less and less of the harmony as she grew up.

     Was he growing up? he asked himself with dread.

     And if this was growing up, did he want to do so?

     The thoughts perplexed him—he felt a certain power in them, a certain sense of wholeness, but he also saw how they isolated him from the world around him.

     He tried to stop them, but now that he had the thoughts, he couldn’t stop thinking.  He found that he just started thinking about not thinking.

     He turned back around and started walking once more.  It was all so confusing.

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