On the Importance of Illusions

On the Importance of Illusions

…. Walking down from the crest of another bleak, rangy crag along the remnants of an ancient animal trail, dodging stilted black stumps, evidently the remnants of unknown trees, or sometimes slipping on slippery lichen covered outcroppings of rock …

I idly notice that my already glacial pace is slowing and then I notice that I’ve stopped altogether, exhausted. I shake my head to clear cobwebs and day dreams, or perhaps, more accurately, “daymares”, and look around at my surroundings. I’ve pretty much just been looking at the ground for a long time, concentrating on where I’ll place my next step but now, well, I look around, slowly coming out of an apparent daze. I sigh and then cough; the air is pretty bad, … or is it my lungs. Without thinking I sink to my knees and then sit where I’ve stopped, rubbing my eyes, removing the crust that’s formed along the edges, then lick my very dry, very cracked lips. Looking around at the utterly desolate terrain I note that there doesn’t seem to be another living thing anywhere. It seems as though I’m the last life left. I’ve no idea what I was doing, certainly not why. Thinking back all I manage to recall is walking, taking one step at a time, surviving without real goals or aspirations other than my next breath. I can’t remember the last time I’ve eaten and the only thing I’ve had to drink during the past day is the brackish muddy water from a fetid pool I’d happened upon, and I remember being very grateful for that. The day is dry and dusty but very cold with a glacial wind whistling unobstructed. Better that than yesterday’s stifling heat or the day before’s dank, drizzly, freezing fog. And all the while I’ve just been walking, without a destination, not even remembering where I’ve come from or why. The satchel of food I started with isn’t even worth carying anymore other than as a testament to foolish hope, an unreasonable expectation of finding something, if not to fill it with, at least to give it a trace of weight, even just an illusion of weight so that I can pretend I have something there, … if I really need it …

Illusions are very important just now.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2012; all rights reserved