A TALE OF LEAVING

The unborn traveler within the hermit wiped the timeless dust from his eyes and opened them to see the land in which he would not stay. This new man that lay dormant within another was thrown into consciousness before even his initial leaving. Ile hermit asks why this is. "Why," he wondered, "do my eyes now take this land that has been my home and only home as an unfinished painting?" Now, the completion of the land he knew so well fell short of something. The hermit knew now that he was to travel. The hermit knew he was not the hermit.

From his vantage point atop the hill he could see the wood that harbored his childhood game the same wood that, until moments ago, had filled his heart with that same cherubic awe of nature's majesty. Through these eyes, the Woods seemed small and dead with autumnal color, void of the life that he once saw there. The woods were incomplete. They lacked, in his mind, what other wood the world might hold and what creature is there held From his post on the hill, he could also see the port and the dark water that roiled there.

As he looked on the port, a great wind blew and brought some spray from the wave against the bluff. It landed delicately on his lips and spread across his brow, giving him a chill down the entirety of his spine. The chill's origin, he realized, was not that of the spray but of the thought there occurring when he licked the spray from his lip. The 1 salty, fishy aroma that once filled him with the feeling of the barren and lifeless, that once made him feel as if the port was the end of his world and the cold see would swallow all who dared brave her, was gone. He felt an entrapment. He felt that all the land that rest eternally behind him now was nothing but a wall, leaving nowhere to go, pushing him toward the port and sea. That same sea that, in his child mind, would drink his life from him as if he were the water and the sea, the great and powerful, merciless entity, was now the only cherished exit from a world that lay dead.

The traveler now stood and took the whole of the land into his vision and he felt his new eternal position in this land. The land would always be to his back and the port, to his front. There was one question, the answer to which lay not in the hermit mind nor the traveler mind. "I know now that I am a traveler but, why does this come to me before I have stepped even to the port?" For him this question would not be answered for a long time. The answer, however, is this: To be a traveler, one must leave something behind. If one is unconscious of ones leaving until it takes place, they have not, in fact, left anything but made a home and become a hermit where they stand. The traveler and the hermit must exist together. The hermit must always be there to seek refuge and home wherever he is. The traveler must always be there to be conscious of the land ahead. The point at which they become one is in that moment right before embarking where the traveler feels the need to go on and the hermit, aware of this need, looks upon his once home and together, they weep.

He stood there and watched a ship come into port. He watched it as it came over the fogged horizon, slowed to position and docked. At once, he hurried down the hill straight to the port and the docked ship. He got the attention of a sailor who apparently did not speak his language. The sailor retrieved the captain who inquired what he wanted in a heavy and foreign accent. They agreed on a fee and the traveler set sail with the ship the following day. He look on his once home as it disappeared over the water and gave back one salty tear to the breathing sea. He knew not where the ship was headed.

By Brian powell