Pursuits of the Mind

Looking up at the exposed joists of the new extension, Don allowed himself a feint smile of satisfaction at the quality of his workmanship – his workmanship. Some small level of comfort rose in his breast and for a brief moment the usually unrelenting bouts of deep depression subsided and he found himself gazing round the two-story unit at the task that he had achieved single-handedly.

Between dark, thunder-filled clouds, the suns rays occasionally penetrated the dormer window on the floor above, lighting up the rafters with a golden-brilliant hue. Don could just make out the shape of a birds nest, tucked into the wedge of joist and roof spar. By the noise emanating from the vicinity of the nest, it was obvious that before long, a new generation of starlings would be heading for the unglazed window and a style of freedom that man had dreamt of for centuries.

A shroud of dark grey tints spread across the horizon, and drizzle began to fall incessantly, accompanied by the sound of distant thunder. Don studied the overcast sky, letting his imagination run free to design whatever intrigue appealed to him: on the wing – yes – on the wing and   flying  high above and away from all those troubled emotions – emotions he knew that he just could not handle any more.

And as one of the young birds  flew  out of the nest in the rafter and out onto the dormer window ledge for its very first flight of freedom, Don suddenly felt a pang of envy. He watched with fascination as the young bird launched its self into the adventure of its life-time; and he followed its flight path to the top of the young birch tree in his rear garden which over-looked open countryside.

With glazed eyes and deep thoughts he was captivated by this young life-force and marvelled as it took off again to some unknown destination. And suddenly he found himself  flying  high above the storm clouds, his body racing over sun-lit valleys and chalk escarpments – and moors, where none of the ravages of mankind could be seem. The freshness of the moist wind on his face was invigorating and his body felt light and strong and eager to test the capabilities of his  flying  skills.

But in the far recesses of his abandoned mind, there lurked darker, more sinister forces, bent on depriving him of his temporary euphoria; bent on driving the scars of lifes’ tragedies yet further into the putrid flesh of some deathly obscenities.

His flight faltered, but the warmth of the sun drove him on, invigorating his soul with warm rays of hope -with expectations of eternal peace and tranquility. Higher he  flew  until he rose above the last wisp of cloud so that nothing lay between him and natures life – source.

Vitalizing rays spread before him in pastel shades, rising to infinity as they pierced the golden globe – the way ahead reminiscent of some vast, man-made escalator, inviting, challenging, a test to the pioneering spirit of mans’ creative soul. Thus, spurred on by the proximity of his destination, wings thrashed harder, and faster, as if in anticipation of the rewards of his endeavour.

Yet, for all his effort, the sun seemed to slip further and further from his sight – and images of impending doom drifted in and out of his sub-conscious frame of mind, threatening the essence of the hopes and aspirations he so desired; and it seemed that his last chance of salvation was slipping from his grasp, never to appear again.

Looking back, over a bedraggled wing, the earth seemed far away, hazy – and the sun was now setting fast. Panic stabbed at his breast: below ruffled feathers, cloud formations drew closer at an alarming pace. He was no longer beating tired wings; nor was he gliding in the manner that such creatures do. He seemed to have lost the mastery of flight.

More than that, he had lost control over the intrigues of his own imagination, his mind involuntarily encroaching on lifes’ painful and wretched memories. Too many bad memories to think about. Greyness reached out to entrap his soul; eyes focussed once more on the view through the extension window – on the drizzle that still fell relentlessly.

Images and ideas came to mind: Darwins’ concept on evolution and the natural progression of man. Concepts of survival seemed just as valid in the city as in the jungle. Now though, the scars – and the evolutionary changes were psychological – not physical. Don looked up at the birds nest once more and noticed that sunlight was at last once again penetrating the dusky recesses of the upper floor.

Yet he felt compelled to obey the Darwinian concept – survival of the fittest – his own battle having come almost to an end. The fight for survival had been crushed from a once-stout heart and he had nothing left to offer.

Don kicked the chair away – just at the same moment that thoughts came flooding back to him, of happier times with his wife and children. The rope bit deeply into his neck; and as he began to loose consciousness, a surge of regret caused him to thrash out in the hope of finding the chair again with his feet.

The light was fading fast; and Don imagined that once more he was on the wing to natures life-source.



Source by Cliff Marsh