© 2019 Tara Aal

The Choice

March 13, 2015

 

The Choice

January 29, 2015

 

I am on the side of the river.  The same side I’ve always been on.  The water rushes on its way.  I’ve been watching this river flow by forever.  I am never the same, but the river follows its path.  On the inside, I am brave.  I dive deep and face the darkest without losing the light.  I expose layer after layer within me.  In my solitude I am safe.  I find peace and joy in my being; alone. 

 

By my side is a fox.  The fox prances around me, showing off its tail.  I’m still on the same side of the river.  I listen to the water.  It soothes me.  I can breathe.  The fox is teasing me; trying to trick me into moving where I don’t want to go.  There is a fallen tree across the river.  This fallen tree seems too long to be real.  The river is wide and the tree fits exactly from side to side.

 

I like my side of the river.  Why is this fox bothering me to cross?  It is insistent in its efforts to move me.  I just want to stay where I am and listen to the river.  I have never seen a bridge across the river before and I’ve been here for ages.  I ask the fox “When did this tree fall?”  The fox does not answer.  It is dancing on the edge of the tree and laughing.

 

I am annoyed.  There is nothing funny about this.  I do not want to cross the river.  I do not want to laugh with the fox.  I am just fine where I am and always have been.  I say to the fox “You are just my imagination.  Go away”.  The fox does not go away.  It gets twice as big as it was a moment before.

 

The sun is starting to set and the sky is brilliant red, pink and orange.  I look forward to sleep.  When I wake, surely the fox and the fallen tree will be gone.  As darkness settles in, I curl into the ground.  The owls keep watch over me.  The air around me is warm.  The dying moon reflects no light.

 

I am awake.  The fox is gone.  The fallen tree is gone.  The river is gone.  I am suspended in nothing.  I hear a voice “This is where you stay until you choose”.  I don’t want to know more.  I don’t want to make a choice.  I am angry.  I wanted to stay where I was.  I did not want to leave.

 

I sense something moving.  It is very quiet.  It touches me on the cheek; breathing on my face.  I know it is the horse.  I know I will not say no.  I am going.  The horse asks “Is it clear I’m helping you?”  I have been keeping my eyes closed, clinging to a dream.  The horse is standing strong, waiting for me.

 

I decide the horse can wait.  I don’t want to go yet.  I’m suspending in nothing, feeling the horse’s breathing.  The nothing and horse fill my existence.  I don’t see anything.  I can only feel.  I wonder what will happen if I don’t choose. 

 

I’m still here.  I can smell.  Nothingness smells of snow.  Horse smells of earth.  I smell of fear.  I can smell myself intensely. 

 

In my mind’s eye, I see the river, like I’m watching a movie in the distance on a very small screen.  It’s exactly how I remember and I’m overcome with bittersweet nostalgia.  The river is flowing.  There is no fallen tree or fox to shake my stability.  I stop breathing.  I am not by the river.  I can’t see me.

 

The horse is gently nudging me.  I open my eyes.  The earth rolls out before me.  The sky is open.  I smell sweet grass.  This horse has no saddle or bridle.  I realize I’m naked.  The sun is warm.  Birds are singing. 

 

Ominous clouds gather in the west.  The wind begins to blow.  The horse stomps and turns to face the impending storm.  A chill runs through my scalp.  It’s time.  I start to climb on the horse’s back.  There is no need to climb.  I am already on, as I’ve always been, for all eternity. 

  

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