by Tom H. Brooks 3

You have been walking for a long, long time now on your road.  It is a rugged and uneven path that is filled with cracks and holes and covered with sharp rocks.  It passes through unexplored and uncharted territory.
  As you walk in measured strides, your path disappears behind you.  All that is left in your wake is a colorless haze of nothingness and boundless void and the ghosts of yesteryear.
You can never go back.  Obviously, you’ve no choice but to plod onward, plunging ever further into the unknown.  You struggle sometimes against a strong headwind but you walk and walk, never stopping or slowing until you come to a fork in the road.  The one to the left is a dark, dank path that appears to lead down into a ravine, thick with shrubbery and brambles and thorns.  The path to the right leads up- up into a vast mountain range that leads to the sun.  Since you don’t feel like walking uphill, you go downhill to the left, easy walking.  Strolling through the blackness, you get an eerie feeling that you are being watched.  You are not alone.  You catch fleeting glimpses of movements in the shadows.  You stubbornly face your apprehension and fear for you have no other option.  Tricks are played on your eyes and your mind but still, you continue.  After an agonizingly long trek through this valley of shadows, at last, you emerge.  Before you lies a seemingly flat expanse of green land that seems to go on forever.  In the distance, fast approaching, is a giant fog bank that looks like the whitewash of a massive wave crashing across the land.  As you move forward, you are soon enveloped in a thick and soupy mist.  Visibility is all but gone and your road has now disappeared before you as well as behind you.  You have no idea where you are going now.  So you walk aimlessly straight ahead, or so you THINK you do.  For all you know, you could be walking in circles.  After awhile, you realize that you are walking on water.  How is this possible?  Silence is your only answer.  Or perhaps it is a thin sheet of ice as thin and clear as glass.  You eventually reach solid ground again but now the fog is so thick that you can see nothing at all, not even your hand in front of your face.  You begin to feel insubstantial; ethereal…a ghost in the mist.  You blunder through the swirling white haze only to walk face-first into a wall.  Suddenly, the light bursts through the clouds with the intensity of a thousand suns and you are temporarily blinded, squinting against the onslaught.  When your sight returns, you get a good look at the wall before you.  It is made of ancient gray and forbidding stone, and is built so high, like a fortress, that you realize that you could never climb it.  It is covered in slimy tendrils of slippery moss. This wall stretches forever in both directions.  Your path, as always, has disappeared behind you.  There is an impossibly thick black door in the wall but it is locked and you have no key.  There is nowhere to go.  You are trapped.  Nothing makes sense anymore.  Impossible things become possible.  You are standing there in the dirt and your mind is filled with wonder and fear.  You see a fairly flat boulder nearby, and in desperation, you lie down on it and rest.  For 99 days and nights, you lie on your rock and stare at that giant, oppressive wall that has stopped you in your tracks.  Sometimes at night, you watch the grim face of the moon pass through the blackness as it easily disappears over the wall.  You stare at a sea of silvery stars.  You almost forget that you were supposed to be going somewhere.  Eventually, your mind has been emptied of all things save two nagging thoughts that remain;  1-you can stay here forever waiting, as the desire to leave and see what is beyond the formidable wall has all but left you. Or, 2- you can simply rise up and fly away, right into the heart of unknown madness that has been waiting for you to figure this out all along.  At dawn, you arise;  you stare up at the endless expanse of azure above you and you rise up to meet it.  How close you came to returning to the dust too soon.  It was not yet your time.  The land on the other side of the wall cannot be described to those on this side…the ones here will find out soon enough.  Searching for something, you fly onward and upward into blue obscurity…….
(The above digital artwork is one of mine, of course, and it is called Esoteric.  It is the Viking rune meaning GATEWAY…)

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