I'm in a dark place. Dark? No. More... foggy. Or misty, maybe, which is not precisely the same thing. I can see the scene now. It's early morning. There is no sun - perhaps it hasn't yet risen, or perhaps it's completely obscured by the clouds. The fog (or mist) is around me, and I can see no more than twenty feet in any direction. Twenty feet is the radius of my world. The ground is grey, and my feet make no sound as I walk. A tree appears - branches, then trunk, then more branches. It is leafless and black, as if it has been burnt. It disappears again, and I wonder if it still exists. There are no sounds.

The fog seems to choke sound. If this were a movie, there would be music playing, and the music would tell me the mood of the scene - heroic, forbidding, serene, tense? But of course there is no music, and the ambiguity is unsettling. I wonder if the fog (it's a fog, I've decided) will lift, or if I will come across a building, or a person. I wonder if I should have stayed by the tree.

I suppose I am lost. I cannot see what is ahead of me; I cannot recall what is behind. That is the nature of a fog. It's not my fault: being lost. Anyone could get lost in a fog like this. Or maybe it is my fault. I'm not certain - I can't seem to remember how I got here. I wish I had stayed by the tree.

I can see my breath, so it must be cold. I don't remember seeing it before. It seems to me that there is fog coming from my lungs. I resent this - fog ought not to be inside me. My circle of vision seems to be shrinking. How far now? Twelve feet? Ten? What if the fog keeps closing in until I can't see my feet? How will I know if I'm still moving? For that matter, how do I know I'm not simply walking deeper into the fog? Why am I walking this in this direction? I can't seem to remember anything. I was walking... I was... searching? Why would I go looking for something in this fog? I don't even remember what it was. ...A tree, maybe? That's the only word I can remember, but it doesn't seem to fit. Maybe I was coming from a tree.

I hate this fog. It blinds me, it suffocates me, it gets in my brain. I want to see things. I've seen things before, I'm sure. It's not right that I should be lost, and unable to see. I try to remember things I've seen. My hands? But I see them now. Surely there is more to see. ...The ground? No, no. The ground is grey and unchanging. Real things aren't grey. (Though what real things might be, if not grey, I do not know.) What else? A... tree? Yes. I've seen a tree. But what is "tree"? Just a word - what does it signify? Is it a real object (like my hand, for example, which is a real object) or is it just a fantasy word? I try to think what a tree would look like, if ever I had seen one. A tree is like... a hand. But what nonsense! I've obviously made it up, I can see now. There are no trees, only hands (my hands). If there were real objects - other objects - they would be unimaginable and different. They would not be like hands. There is no such thing as a tree.

No such thing as a tree? Then what is there such a thing as? Why do I exist, if there is nothing else? Why am I in this fog? Why do I have this body, with it's hands, and it's... it's legs that move beneath me, stretching down, down into the fog? Is the whole world only my body - ever fading, ever shrinking, only the hands to be seen clearly, if I lift them up close? There must be more. There must be... but... but what did I call them? Trees. There must be trees. Oh, I wish it were true! I want to believe in trees.

I'm just not sure if I can.


Bean said...

Damn the Fog!

Lucid Elusion said...

Your story very much reminds me of a certain poem some dude wrote a while back. It had to do with darkness & evil—not knowing where he was going or what he was doing, but certain that death was nearby. The sad thing is that at the beginning of the poem, he described a life full of serene lakes and pleasant rolling fields. The poem only had 6 stanzas, with the one about darkness being the longest (if you're interested, the stanza lenth goes like this: 1 line, 2 lines, 3 lines, 6 lines, 4 lines, 4 lines) with the other "bad" one being the second longest. I think it is a poem fitting for how your are feeling, Jacob. You should read it some time and I bet you have a copy of it on your shelf—you may even have read it before, for it is relatively common. It's Psalm 23.

Another good bit of poetry that this story reminds me of comes from the longest acroistic poem that I know, and it speaks of the most common method of lifting fog: by burning it away & by piercing it with light. It may be written by the same poet, but I'm not sure. Anyways, the portion I am thinking of is the "Nun" section of Psalm 119 (which starts at v. 105)

"Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.

I'm not sure how you'll take these thoughts that your story makes me think of, but know that I do not mean to belittle your situation—rather, I quite strongly relate to your position. Very much so. Ask me about it sometime, if you want to. I'm always willing to talk, as you know so well.


Jacob said...

LE: Psalm 23 is awesome. Just reading it is comforting, which is a credit to the dude who wrote it. 119 is too law-focused (not to mention too long) for most people's liking, but you're right - it also relates somewhat to my situation. Of course there are differences. For that reason, I decided to dig up (that is to say, make up) the Jacob Heretical Version of both poems. I did this mainly as an exercise for myself - trying to verbalize my own feelings in the format of the original - but you or someone else may be interested.

I do appreciate your thoughts.