Sight came first, an artist’s palette of grays and blues. Clouds large and billowing. A horizon hidden, gilded with a single sheet of silver leaf. Then came feel, a subtle shift in temperature. Ripples of wind upon the water. Trenchant winds buffet me.
With elan, the storm rushes forward.
The far shore of the bank dips out of sight. All landmarks disappear. And then… the first rain drop touches my skin. Thirty feet ahead can I see, and no more.
Days such as this can only be described with one word: surreal. For a moment one can vaguely grasp at an understanding of something bigger, something that cares so little for human trivialities. They stand as hints of raw power that remind us that we are not quite as important as we fancy ourselves. And on that day, in those ephemeral moments, my life changed.
It is sobering to realize that day would not have differed from any other, save for one cause: the little choices.
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On that day, instead of watching the television set in a mindless stupor, I chose to go outside, down to the dock, and to live, truly live. The mundane can be the bane of a full existence because of this, I am firmly of the opinion that in order to truly live, one must be doing something worth living for. By playing video games or watching television, one can burn through the small hours of the day, never realizing what he has missed. We have so little time to live that to squander even a second is to do a disservice to the thing we supposedly appreciate the most — our own lives.
When I discovered this train of thought, I realized a dramatic overhaul was in order. I stopped watching television, I stopped playing video games, I even broke up with the girlfriend I had long since stopped enjoying being with. I devoted my time to making every conscience second to be more fabulous than the last. I was significantly altered, for good or ill.
Ironically, I would probably have been happier without such thoughts. I probably would have been content. I probably could have continued on with nothing but a nagging sense to tell me something was wrong. However, for the sake of appreciating this one-in-a-thousand chance to exist, I will live on.
The brunt of the storm is upon me in its full eclat. The experience becomes ineffable. All internal sensation disappears. The ego is lost. My self now rides somewhere upon the storm. In the thunderclaps. On the roaring wind. In the drops of rain that drench my now-abandoned body. An endless ten minutes passes.
Then… a distant shout.
I am jerked back to my body. My father is calling for me to get off of the dock. He is worried for my safety from the lightning. Before turning to go back, I look back across the water. I glance once more into the natural brilliance and sheer power.
“I’ll return,” I promise it.