Artwork: "Ocean of Fire", Inga Nielsen, 2007 (source)

for three days
i drove westward
into the sunset

until the land faded
and my body became small
before massive drowning waves

craving death
i abandoned my shoes
and walked into 
an unrolling carpet of surf
pushing me eastward
pulling me westward

am i still breathing?

far to the southwest
a tiny sailing sloop
overtaken by storm clouds
comes about

i turned away 
and walked north
watching my feet sink in the sand

the surf above
and the sand below
cleansing my feet

my shadow slowly lengthening 
melting into the early darkness
of sunset afterglow

it was by moonlight then
that i came upon 
a strange rickety bridge

it extended from shore
past the horizon of my vision

obscured by the breakers' mists
a hovering sinuous serpent
rising, falling, shaking
dancing with the darkened ocean

doubting myself
i turned away
and impossibly

you were there with me

i asked you
why is there a bridge here?

you sighed
glancing left
as your hand gently traced
a gaping hole
in the center of your chest

chains of spittle 
fell from your mouth
as you spat at me
only fools believe in bridges over oceans

aloneness welled in my eyes
a black stone 
rolled onto my chest
and defiance burned me
forehead to feet
to fists

i turned away
following my fear forward
heart fluttering
breath quivering
tasting the carnal finality of choice
i stepped onto the bridge
my body rising, falling, swaying 
with the bridge's rhythm
the ocean's rhythm
and the wind whispered to me  

it was then i finally wept
long pulls of breath and sobs and tears 
pools of death
raining me down
to my knees
head bowed
because i did not know

i cried out to the emptiness
i don't know why?
after a long time
when there was no answer
i stood again

i walked westward
without you

G.D. Lance ©2023

Artwork: “Ephemeral Bridge”, Lee Does AI, 2022 (source)

+ Contemplations
+ What happens when we are unwilling to go westward?

What inside us hold us from going westward?

+ When others attempt to control us, is the only solution to leave?

Why do others not see the bridge?

Why do others seem to naturally want to impede our progress westward by attempting to subtlety (or not so subtlety) control us?

Can imagining, embodying and emotionally processing leaving be enough to restore the detachment needed to better choose how to respond?

Is freedom only a material state of being or is it also a mental state of being?

+ What is on the other side of the westward bridge?

When contemplating whether to cross the westward bridge, why is it so difficult to imagine the beautiful dawn that will be seen looking back eastward from the far western shore?

Photo: “New Dawn”, Timboslice, 2023 (source)

+ Quotations

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
~ Shakespeare (spoken by Polonius to Laertes in the play Hamlet)

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“It is very easy to conform to what your society or your parents and teachers tell you. That is a safe and easy way of existing; but that is not living…To live is to find out for yourself what is true.”
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

“Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“This life is mine alone. So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they have never been.”
~ Glennon Doyle

“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.”
~ E.E. Cummings

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
~ C.G. Jung

Artwork: “Last Breath”, Beth Robertson Fiddes (source)


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