As I walked down from Batten Mountain, past leaves and grass and woods, I felt the sadness of the raining world about me swirling. For days the rain had fallen upon the moist earth, and below me the village sent puffs of smoke to the sky. I chanced to find upon my right a maiden fair and free. She looked as if she’d journeyed from a place unknown to me, and upon her hair, so long and black, she wore the flowers characteristic of her species. Without a sound she glided through the cold and heartless air. I thought not then of places past, but only of the free.

The smoke from the village had risen above me now, and wherever I looked the mists enshrouded me. How foolish I felt, for a litany of missed opportunities passed before me in the mist. How I wished for the ghosts to be gone and leave me to my rest, but no sooner had this fervent wish left my mind than the ghosts crowded in upon me yet again. How wrong to try to banish them, I thought. Only by greeting fear as my friend shall I conquer it, only by living among the shadows shall I be set free.

My journey now had taken me past the bounds of any village, past the reach of any town. I stood in a place never before trod, where mood had meaning beyond my ken. October’s not confined to October, I thought, no more than May to May—the feeling lingered that time itself had left me, and months, hours, and days had far different values.

February 4, 1990

Updated May 05, 1997.

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