The seasons are the links in the chain of being. The chain loops for eternity, and we rendezvous with life and death completely alone. The seasons are change, the same change responsible for the burial of our youth and the breathy whisper between the dying autumn leaves. Can you hear it? The voice whispers, “Drift along the plains and the rolling hills but for your final ride, you ride alone.” As the sun sets in the West, we’re reminded of our own mortality. What did we learn? What did we accomplish? How many times do we have to camp at the very same spot and not figure this out? Our journey doesn’t begin with the old Western saloons. The journey doesn’t begin with the gun battles nor with the nameless towns populated with forgetful faces. The journey starts somewhere in the wilderness, somewhere unknown between these towns. It starts when we ride alone in silence. When we camp and sit before the restless flames, worn out from years of traveling, zigzagging from place to place, can we gaze up at the moon and finally understand? The palpitating bustle that gave life to our cities raised our standard of living but in the end, it’s each of us cold and alone, wondering when the seasons extinguish our campfire one last time.
Once the fire goes out, the spirit raises, returns to that distant place where we all were before we were born. Do we remember what our faces looked like before we were born? Do we even know who we are this very moment? Without a doubt, we can conjure up adjectives and nouns to describe ourselves, but words and their meanings cannot capture the essence of who we are. Where is this self? Where is this living, breathing life force that supposedly possesses a unique identity and an independent, original personality? Does this self actually exist? The seasons may give us a clue, but they blended and disappeared into the periphery of our lives. This is unfortunate because the seasons never lied to us. Change does not intentionally deceive. It always revealed the truth even as we rode through the wilderness, making camp, closing our eyes to our own perdition. To learn we must go far off into the ether, toward the mystical place where unspeakable words are pronounced. This place is not a city of hopes and dreams and fallen angels but the origin of that autumn whisper, and in the here and now the seasons signal to us that our faithful companion, our horse, cannot travel by our side forever.
We will forever expand our methods of transportation. After all, we take delight in innovation. We will ceaselessly upgrade the horse. Who knows? We might transform it into our own personal anti-gravity hovering discs but again, all we have is the pulsating campfire warming our feet and the silent moon watching above our heads. Technology cannot enlighten us like the truth can. We try to forget that we’re alone sitting before our fire. We’re separate from God, worlds apart from everyone else and we dream of union. We try to form unbreakable bonds with each other. Most times we’ll settle for short lived, shallow, trivial engagements, passing by mostly unnoticed like the spider, under the cover of darkness, hunting its prey. We cannot relate to the horse. The horse, the automobile, the airplane are only our technology, all of which brought us so much power, convenience, and leisure. It’s pointless to merge with it. What we really want is the warmth and comfort emanating from the fire, the fire which blazes inside the hearts of others. In spite of this, the moon’s beckoning call urges us to go our own way, carve out our own path, and experience the serenity of solitude.
Often times being alone feels like the cold, somber grip of death. Time begins to crawl, and we’re stuck in limbo with one foot planted in life and the other sinking into the realm of death. However, we must understand that the best opportunities for learning are those nights in which we feel forlorn, wondering if anything can scare us anymore. Spend enough nights in seclusion and life loses its monstrosity; death loses its mystery. The change of seasons and scenery no longer provokes in us crippling anxiety. We’re emboldened. We’ve become one with the fire. So let us set up camp terribly and hopelessly alone. For when the time comes to meet a compatible soul, we’ll no longer be fleeing the solitude of camping alone with our horse, the horse which we know cannot give us the connection we need. We’ll no longer take for granted the fire within. We can build bridges of enveloping flames without that common fear, the fear of loss and abandonment.
The fullness of our hearts electrifies the bridge of flames. The electricity controls the size and intensity of the flames but if needed, we just might starve them of oxygen. If we choose to put out that bridge of flames and eliminate the connection to the souls we care for, the moon will act as our guide. The moon will show us what the autumn breeze has whispered all along:
Drift along the plains and the rolling hills but for your final ride, you ride alone.