Ashes to Nihilism

I suppose I should start at the beginning – or now, given that time and my life have been as unchanging as the barren landscape I walk. I’ve been on this pilgrimage as long as I’ve had a will to live, walking ever forward. As long as I’ve walked, the land has remained the same. There is no day or night, no sun or moon, no rise or fall in the land, not even another living thing. I haven’t felt the coolness of water or the heat of flame. This pilgrimage has become all that I am, and I’m not even sure what it will accomplish. With no change until now, why do I think that wherever I’m headed will be better? How do I know that there even is something? I don’t. There’s no point to anything – no point to me.

No. There has to be some reason, some point. I am here for a reason. I need to try harder. I need to find purpose. I won’t accept that everything comes to nothing. I want more than dust to dust.

If only I had more than the barren, unchanging landscape around me to occupy my thoughts. I suppose having time to think is also the greatest positive of my existence.  Oh well, at least you’re here, my silent companion.

At last! I find a change in the land. A huge depression leaves me walking on sloped ground. I have no fear for what I could find, only rapturous joy at a break in the monotony. When even a low point in the earth causes such enthusiasm, you must get an odd opinion of me, but eternal emptiness is a fate worse than hell.

I reached the bottom, and there was a small, oblong white object. A stone? A cruel trick of the eye? A seed, as alone as I am, with no water to make it grow and no soil to anchor itself in. I picked it up and dusted it off, holding it tenderly. Have no worries, little seed; I can’t give you water or soil, but at least you’ll no longer be alone. Maybe one day we’ll find what you need to grow into what you could be. Why did I find a seed? How did it get to the bottom of this depression? Why is there even a depression? Maybe there used to be some great tree here, and it left this seed in its passing. Was this seed the last hope of what was or a sign of what will be? When will I understand the purpose of all that this world is? I think it’s time to set off again into the emptiness with hope for another surprise, more newness.

You know what they say, “seek and ye shall find” so I did. I trudged my way out, clawed my way to the top, and walked until I found something, which took a while, but not as long as my wait before the seed. Not as long as the seed waited for me. I found a small cabin – a shack, really. It stood, constructed of sturdy stone, abandoned, but without sign of wear. It looked like it was made of polished marble. Ridiculous for such a small building, but the building wore its out of place exterior with aloof pride, daring me to question it. I opened the spotless door to find… nothing. The house was empty; four barren walls stared at me in silence, and the empty floor condescendingly confirmed the emptiness. Why such a ridiculous facade only to be empty? Something about it felt very human to me. Uncomfortable enough to prefer honest nothingness to a facade, I left the house and wandered again.

I puzzled over the strange feelings the house gave me until I noticed the ground below me had begun to turn brown. The change was gradual and became more apparent the farther I walked. My footsteps have stopped making dull crunches in the gray dust and have begun squishing slightly in what I’m pretty sure is soil. Soil! There are no plants, but I feel like this is why I found the seed. I was meant to take it here. The soil’s softness makes it easy to part and make a whole for the seed. The seed almost seemed eager to go home as it falls into the hole. I had kind of grown fond of it, given that it was my only traveling companion –  other than you, of course. I don’t want to get choked up over a seed, so I have to move on. I can’t help but feel that I’m losing part of myself in the ground.

After I left the seed, the ground gradually changed back to dust. I guess it was just a little island of soil – a sad garden of eden, if you will. Paradise lost forever, and found only once. Nothing left to do but carry on empty-handed. I hope the seed will grow and multiply so that one day this world will be a little less empty, a little less gray for those who come after me. Perhaps I’ll even get to see it one day.

I can see lights in the distance – fire? No, this light is steady and unchanging. It’s beckoning to me, but I don’t want to face light yet. I’m not ready. Light means people, and who knows what people will do.

There are more lights now, all around, but far away. I don’t know what to do. After all the emptiness, all the loneliness, not being alone frightens me. I haven’t seen or met anyone yet, but I know it will happen, and I know I won’t be ready. I’m so used to being the only person in this world. Even the fact that you’re here unnerves me, and you’re not even “here,” not in a physical sense. You’re in my thoughts, but the people are here with their own opinions and plans and goals. My emptiness is my sanctuary in that I alone get to choose what happens to me in this world, never mind that nothing happens to me.

The lights have gone out. Gray has returned to gray, and I am alone again. Still, I’m left wondering why. What is the point of all this? Maybe this world is mine to shape, and there is no point other than what I give it.


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