This Blog

This blog is dedicated to explorations of spirit, life, adventure, and people. I hope that it encompasses much more than the actions of people, but rather creates a more complete picture of what it means to be an athlete and a person in the outdoor community.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One by one

A short story

And suddenly it was gone. Evaporated. The moisture picked up and went with the wind. And what was left? Emptiness and freedom, a clinging to one's own self.

There was a time where Walt believed he was walking with a balloon, soaring high into the clouds. It was attached with a small string that clung to his ring finger. It floated high into the sky, pulling up into the heavens, reminding Walt of the possibilities. He would lay in the grass and watch its dance as it lept into the unknown.

But time changed that balloon, it pulled harder and harder, until finally he turned around to see his balloon. No longer did he admire its lightness, its unbearable grace and glee. He turned around to find it in the grass; it was full of water. He has been dragging it. He did not know how long.

He looked at his finger. A ring had dug into his finger's natural crease, red and irritated. He thought that it might heal, that if he didn't look it would go away; most things did.

The balloon was red and had a pinched end. It was smaller than he remembered.

He had been carrying it for awhile. He had been lonely before, but somehow the balloon was his companion. It went where he went. It did not pester him like the others. It was light, not much to carry.

Walt looked down at his worn shoes. The leather was dry and it looked like dirt had been finely sifted onto every crevasse. They fit well. He wanted to keep walking, but his balloon...

The balloon was firm in his hands. The water shook around.

When did this happen? He started to piece things together. There was a day when it no longer pulled into the sky but just waited. Floating there like a dandelion seed. It waited for him to pull on it's string. If he stopped, it stopped. These days he would push it out in front of him, hold it in his arms, being careful not to scratch its surface. He kept it in shade during the warmer months, keeping its surface intact. He was happy that it had met him at his level.

It began to pull sometime. It was vague. The distinction between floating and pulling seemed nearly impossible to pinpoint. He tried.

He had to fight with it sometimes to get it to go where he wanted. It would get caught on things, waiting for him to untangle it.

Then the pulling, the dragging, the pain.

He didn't know what to do with it now. He wanted it gone but, he set it back down in the grass. The sore on his finger had some time to rest now, it would be okay for awhile. He turned to start walking and as he tugged the string he felt no resistance.

It had exploded. A thousand tiny scraps lay limp on the ground.

He searched quickly trying to pick up the pieces, determining which was to blame for the walls giving out. He picked up this piece and that. He saw stretches and marks. He felt the brittle walls and the edges of the rips. He looked and looked, putting the pieces in his pocket as he examined them.

The water from the balloon!

It was gone. Evaporated. The moisture picked up and went with the wind. And what was left? Emptiness and freedom, a clinging to one's own self, for there was no one else there with him.

With his pockets stuffed full of memories he turned and walked, the creases in his shoes growing deeper. His finger finally free to heal and nothing but the open road in front of him, without a thing to hang him up.

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