September 23, 2014| Anant Sharma
The moon was risen, an ivory body of luminescence that washed the world below in pale silver; everything seemed ethereal, glowing by such moonlight. Stars twinkled bright above as I stood atop a hill that overlooked a circular valley. I was staring into the heavens above, transfixed by both the quantity and brilliance of stars: beauty, candescent beauty.
Numerous moments I passed, feeling detached from the earth: eyes beholding naught but the twinkling sky, while winds breezed cool and silent; it was deeply spiritual – and immensely blissful – to be transcendent for just those precious seconds. Then I turned my gaze down to the valley, seeing sprouted from its center a pristine pool of water; the slight wind did not move it overmuch, and so it mirrored the night sky perfectly – a basin of liquid onyx with glowing diamonds scattered throughout. About it were a multitude and variety of common trees – elm, birch, elder and oak – each casting shadows that overlapped one another, darkening the empty spaces in the coppice. A grand oak stood closer to the water – apart from the rest – and shaded a slab of white marble that lay beside it, by the water’s edge and gleaming with what few rays of moonlight passed unhalted by the leaves.
Unbidden, my legs began to descend the hill and head into the grove. As I neared the white stone, I noticed that upon its surface, where the light gathered, was an inscription; it was one that spoke of a realm in chaos, where the heroes were lost to worlds of their own designs. This I read – and reading it, a melancholy chord reverberated within my chest. With an air of finality, I ran my fingers over the engravings, admiring the artisanal calligraphy.
I took another look around – one last, fleeting glance at what I’d already seen. A flame of annoyance burned in my chest, when I realized I did not explore this land further. It was too late for that now; resigned to the inevitable, I placed one foot on the smooth, chill marble and with a kick I was off – falling towards the water’s surface, closing my eyes as I thought hard about those words etched as much into my mind as they were into the lustrous stone.
And as I broke through the pool, the shocking cold felt more enlivening than anything else before.
With a gasp I shot up, emerging from my dream – from my suspension in limbo – and the world spun as vertigo seized me; I had to grip my head to stop from careening off the edge of my bed. At last, the spinning ceased. Then, I laughed; a clear, jubilant sound that rung in this world, and no other. Words – words from a land now banished – still rung in my head.
For they were words that spoke not of illusionary skies and beautiful dreams, but of the true world, and our duty to its destiny; words of awakening.