Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Held up to the light
It’s 8.45 on a Monday night and you’re standing on a beach watching the sky tear itself apart. The air is heavy with a sense of foreboding, the wind is picking up, and you know you should really, really be getting home. But there’s a flash, and another, and…you can’t bring yourself to walk away.
The clouds are immovable mountains around the bay, spreading out thick and far, alive with light. It’s not quite there yet, not quite escaping, but it speaks of a fury you cannot quite understand.
You’re standing there, alone, in the night, in the rain that’s falling steadily harder, and you’re thinking about your life the way you always do when you’re overcome by your own insignificance. Not a hopeless insignificance, but an awe-struck one. One where the vastness of life, the universe, and everything in between, is so breathtakingly obvious and insurmountable that it ceases to matter, and everything collapses and narrows to the now. Your life, your dreams, your fears, your thoughts. Dramatically encapsulated in a single moment of experiencing something so much bigger than you are.
And you wish, you wish…well.
Your drive home takes you straight into the storm. Lightning flashes quick and close, seconds of blue-white clarity in hours of night. It’s frenzied, it’s intense, and for some inexplicable reason it entirely enthrals you. As if it holds the answers to all the questions you have ever asked, or ever will. As if it knows all your secrets. As if it approves.
Later, you risk turning it into a metaphor for life. How much it can change in the space of twelve hours, from a perfectly content sunny morning to this. How it can be both destructive and beautiful, both enlightening and bewildering. How it’s what you make of it that counts.
And you realise that it was just a case of the right time and the right place. Would you have stopped any other time? Would you have cared?
As sleep steals across you, you realise that it doesn’t matter. You did, and you do. You make your decisions and you stick by them. If nothing else, at least you can say you live life on your own terms.
Music: Tonight, tonight - Smashing Pumpkins
Mood: Still stressed - but getting there, that's a plus.