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ARTICLE

Illusions

The moon was shining brightly, almost giving the impression of filtered daylight. The trees made eerie sounds as the wind rustled through their naked limbs. The night sounds rang across the darkness.

With the dawn would come a birth or perhaps a resurrection; the birth of a new form, a new hope, a new strength. But resurrection might be a better description. The light would bring not a new beginning, but a second chance for things passes away.

Different? Better? Who knows? Are there words printed on nature’s sign posts to guide the way? No! The answer, if available at all, is written on the wind, invisible to the eye, yet blazed across the consciousness of mankind. This harsh reality is almost a profanity not to be uttered or perceived through visible measures. Yet there is a clear, definite, unmistakable message — written just across the horizon; just out of sight.

The flakes began to fall, obscuring the outline of nature’s strokes. This was the first suggestion of newness. Silently, drifting to a place on the ground, each flake filled its spot in the masterpiece being woven in the night. Time slipped by, and soon the white artwork was kissed with the first rays of light.

Slowly, he emerged from nowhere it seemed, yet somewhere had been his cocoon. Stretching, he looked in all directions, letting his senses explore the surroundings.

The silence was so deep, it almost had an audible quality to it. His eyes adjusted to the glare of light reflected off the white stillness. He observed no movement.

The crisp coolness in the air alerted his body to an inherent danger in this quiet wonderland. Peril surrounded him, and the sound of the invisible champion seemed to mock his feeble attempt to conquer.

Slowly, tentatively, he ventured forth. “Crunch,” went the first step and then another. So it began afresh. There was no sign of anyone having gone before. Yet there was a familiarity about it all, as if centuries were being repeated in this first step.

As the steps made a chain of imprints across the emptiness, the light grew brighter. The warmth was so microscopic, it suggested merely a mind’s illusion and not reality. Still the steps pushed on, marking the progress across the vast, empty beauty. On the steps pushed, toward some indescribable goal. Breathe, step, push; breathe, step, push . . . This was the only motivation which kept him going as the light began to fade, and the cold became bitter.

Where was he going? Was there a right or wrong direction? His strength was failing, and still he had to go on. Going nowhere, yet there must be somewhere. His mind sought refuge in a confusion of thought. His muscles ached. His lungs burned from the sharpness of the cold.

But wait! It was not coldness alone! Was it? The touch of winter white seemed to be a homogeneous mixture of warmth and cold. It seemed to pull on his legs as he pushed ahead one more step. And then, he stumbled and fell.

A puddle of liquid, framed with light, emitted rays of brilliant colors. Had he not fallen would he have seen this magical hue? The reality of simple beauty amid such starkness could only be observed when he lay perfectly still. He became fascinated with this minute flaw in the white perfection. Time passed, and still his gaze remained fixed on the source of beauty.

As the light faded so did the mirage of color. It was only a reflection of what he searched for. As he studied the imitation, the flakes had begun to fall once more and wrap him in their tender entrapment.

“Rest,” the flakes whispered, “for light will come again. It will carry as its gift renewed strength. Rest,” it whispered in hypnotic rhythm. “Rest in my warmth. Become one with my perfection.”

As he settled in, clothed only by the warmth of the winter mantle, reality sluggishly seeped back into his consciousness. Laughter chilled his soul as the wind ridiculed him. Ridiculed him for spent energy, futile effort, and confused reality. On and on the laughter went, as it grew in volume.

Momentarily, reality touched him. There was no drive left for more steps, but with one final effort, he raised his head. He scanned the horizon in all directions. There were no more colors for his tired eyes to behold. Inches from his fallen head was the first step he had taken that day as he had begun his journey.

“No!” He screamed the single word with the last of his fading strength.

The culprit had won!

The echo of that solitary word rang on with no bounds to stop it. He was one, yet he was a multitude.

Would there be another? Will there again be light? Will there again be Spring?

The answer is the same!

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