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Poetry by Rachel A. Gold

A Walk

Drew Hurley

There was a very thick fog last night. On a child-like whim of fancy I decided to take a walk. I left my little, isolated house in the woods and walked around a lake, and through an open field where the fog lay between my ankles and my navel, so that I could not even see my feet. There was another strata of fog above my head that appeared to be like a canopy of lace.

The moon must have shone brightly, even though I did not see it, for the fog appeared luminous and gave my field a soft warm glow, so that I was not afraid as I walked eagerly across the plain and into an orange grove. Walker slower then, I looked closely from side to side, least I trip, or bump into something. Gliding quietly through the foggy grove, my feet found a pavement, and I stared into the anxious mist ahead.

Dumfounded, I found myself standing on a road at the edge of a great city. A city I did not know, yet I had only walked a mile or two -- no more than three or four. I approached the city and noticed that the buildings, although similar to many other cities I have known, did not seem quite the same. And there were people. Children said things I did not understand, and they were different in some way I could not comprehend. I heard music, and stopped to listen, to hear from where it came. But, I could not tell the direction; it seemed to be coming from everywhere. Nor did I know the tune or understand the lilting tonal harmony of those haunting, haunting, words -- which I did not understand -- yet sounded so familiar.

I walked up and down the massive streets, always feeling that faint music playing upon my senses. Yet the sound never got louder, or softer, wherever I went. Then, after a moment, I realized: these streets were different from all other cities I have seen, for I was standing in the middle and three were no vehicles, curbs, sidewalks, or gutters. There were no street signs, neon lights, traffic signals, or signs of any kind, and the pavement itself was soft and cushioned, as if it were a cork floor tile. Yet it was not cork, nor was it tile, for it was one continuos ribbon of pavement. One thing puzzled me though, in all my walks, I never saw a seam or a joint, not even at an intersection. The entire quilt-work of roads seems to have been made entirely of one piece. Curiously, I bent down to one knee and felt the paved surface. It felt and looked almost exactly like cork, but it was not. It just could not have been.

Standing again, I looked more closely at the buildings through the ever-present fog. There were no signs, nor doors, only windows and openings that one might walk through. Quickly, I walked from the street and paused before a building, then walked through the opening and found myself within a great hall. It was somewhat like a banquet hall, with a large massive dinner table laden with many varied platters of food, and with goblets and pitchers from which to drink. The sides of the room were divided into several lounges, with different furniture settings, where people were standing and sitting, talking, smiling, and singing.

Singing! That was right; that music! That floating, lilting music that haunted me ever since I entered this city; that song was the music these people sing. Oh, what beauty -- with those dissonances that resolved into such blissful, soothing tonalities.

Standing there in awe, I watched these amazing people sing, talk, and laugh with each other, and I noticed the clothes they were wearing. Their garments seemed to have been made of one piece, with flowing upsweeps of cloth draped around them, much like a Grecian toga. I looked more closely and I realized that everyone was always smiling, as if there was never a fear or care in the world. No! It really was not that kind of smile; rather it was the kind of smile that you will often see on a person enraptured with love. Yes, that’s it. LOVE.

Slowly, I turned around and walked from the room onto the street with new confidence and courage, as if the very knowledge of this love had given me strength.

The foggy mist was still hanging from the roof of the city, yet I could see more clearly than before. The fog had not raised or dissipated -- yet I could almost see clearly. Perhaps, I had grown more accustomed to the miasma, or just maybe my new found knowledge had raised this veil somewhat from my eyes. I looked up at the skyline and, for the first time I saw the roof tops of the buildings. And I saw that all of the roofs angled at a taper, as if they pointed toward the center of the city.

Immediately I began walking fast, almost at a run. I was compelled forward, forced to move deeper within the womb of the city, to the very heart of this great metropolis. Faster and faster I went, until I found myself running as hard as I could. Then, as I ran, I caught glimpses of my life flashed at me from the windows of the fleeting buildings: visions of all of the heart-ache and sorrow I had ever known, seen, or caused. And the light of these visions pounded at my senses until I felt salt from my anguished tears pout down sullen cheeks, and the torment of my fragile mind and heavily pained body screamed for me to yell: STOP!

Afraid. I stopped short, exhausted and sweating, my eyes transfixed upon a massive structure in the very center of the city. A building different from all of the rest, strangely resembling both a cathedral and a palace, yet at the same time much more majestic, and mysterious, than either could have ever been. Slowly, I survey the great width and magnificence of the building and gradually raised my eyes, taking in the grace and complexity of this amazing edifice. Then my eyes reached the parapet of this colossal structure and -- I was blinded.

A flash of light, a brilliant piercing ray of light knocked me, trembling, to my knees as I agonizingly held my head in my hands. And there was silence. The music, the singing had stopped, as if the entire universe was focusing its attention on me. Then a voice reverberated around me with such awesome resonance that I felt the very marrow of my bones quiver as I heard the words: “You are love.”

In a moment, I stopped shaking and got to my feet. I looked around to find myself standing in the middle of an orange grove. Angrily, I asked myself, was this a nightmare? Was this a delusion formed by the fog? No! It was far too real. It was a message, but what was it? What did it mean?

“That was heaven! I saw heaven,” I blurted aloud, surprising myself with the sound of my own voice. “Yes, I saw heaven. But what does it mean? Why me? Must I change the world?”

Slowly, growing in intensity, I heard that very same voice reach across the universe and thunder in my ears, “Yes, my son.”

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Tuesday, 04-May-2010 14:47:55 EDT