The sky shone fluorescent blue like the gleaming of the sun off the boy’s eyes. His mind paced over the patterns of life that led him to this point; Pitter pattering over the most inconsequential moments in his past. The placid sea of green ran off before him pausing only to shoot the occasional tree up towards the sun. Into the future a little road -barely a path-forced its way into the motionless world of green. The boy, named Elijah, after that pillar of Christian faith- a stranger who stood in the face of society to proclaim the need for revolution, drove with his face towards the sun and his back towards his home. West. Always west into the sunset; falling farther from home every time the sun wearied of its work. His soul seemed to weary as often as the sun, and often set into the depths of the past to reiterate every thought once or a thousand times in a vain attempt to return.
Today the road and the silence stole his soul and Elijah found himself soaring over the earth chasing the white trails of clouds that swept with the wind over the prairies. Like all strangers and wanderers he felt the road and the freedom of the wind tied him inexplicably to the world around him and the human race.
Elijah rushed down a black road broken down by years of frost towards a little town that sat with its back to the road and its face towards the railroad tracks. It sat contentedly with nothing but a general store of white tin and a little “Best beer in town” sign hanging from the door and a feed mill that sat square against the railroad tracks.
Elijah slowed ever so slightly as he came beside the general store. For a moment all time stopped while Elijah made eye contact with the little gray window that stared out from dirty white tin wall. Then the moment died as quickly as it had come. Elijah found himself lost among the green tangle of the wild grasses that danced every hour of summer.
That night the sun set over the road sending the clouds into a frenzy over Elijah. He opened the window and felt his arm fill with goosebumps as the cool air rushed through the car. It smelled of grass and swamp stank. The farther Elijah drove the closer he felt to the sky. Over the prairies and into the hills Elijah sped, his foot on the gas and his hand out the window. The atmosphere flooded the car and fed the flood of memories and thoughts that seeped into Elijah’s mind. He took deep breaths letting the world feed his own sentiment.
In the morning, with coffee in hand, Elijah looked to the east and the rising sun. The little town glistened under the cool sunrise. Elijah yawned, feeling his eyelids sag. Old sagas sat behind him. Now, with his little gray car that had seen too many miles already, he was going to restart. Leave behind the unsettling frowns of judgemental people and show himself worthy.
Worthy. With the word echoing in his mind he slouched back into his car. His stomach sank a little lower as he pictured the scraggly beard and dark brown eyes of the only friend he was leaving behind. He hadn’t said goodbye. He had barely told anyone that he was leaving. He had packed his car, given a nod to the neighbour, and set out.
He pulled into a little PNW (Pacific North West) town with the setting sun in his eyes. There were as many weeds as flowers or lawns and the smell of pot mixed inexplicably with pine trees. At a stoplight Elijah noticed four espresso huts, two of them advertising topless tuesdays. Two days ago, Elijah had been complaining about the lack of decent coffee or art in his little prairie town. Pot and pine trees smelled of expression and freedom, so Elijah smiled. “Let’s begin again,” he said to himself, over and over.
That night he slept on the floor in a house that smelled of paint and mold and bleach. He had a window that looked out over a broken fence and what looked liked a boggy forest in twilight. In the morning he would go on a hike and write the story he had been longing to write for months but couldn’t find inspiration for. The heavy weight of judgment and expectation had smothered him. No more. Here amongst the trees without the deep roots of history and tradition, new things would blossom.
Elijah woke early. The smell of pine and swamp came in the window with the chill of the morning dew. His heart beat in excitement, and he inhaled deeply. As quickly as it came the excitement left, and with it a great anxiety. He must create something great.
A gulp of instant coffee that almost made him gag and Elijah grabbed his journal and headed to the door.
He hiked down a little dirt path that wound its way through the pine trees staying on the ridge above the swamp ground in the valley till it took a dip and ended at a river. Elijah found a little log that stretched out over the water and he sat there for a long time watching the water bubble over the rocks and rotting logs. It glistened and chattered its way down, not bothered in the least by anything in its path.
Elijah opened his journal, took a deep breath and tried to calm his breathing. He found that He had nothing to say. No inspiration, no words to write down. He just sat, shivering a little with the cool breeze, and wondered who he would call if he wanted to enjoy dinner or lunch with someone. When the answer was no one Elijah took another deep breath. He put his pen to the page, felt his stomach rise in his chest, and wrote one sentence. “Leaving, even leaving the bad, is leaving home, and leaving part of yourself.”
With that Elijah closed his journal. “Lets begin again,” he whispered to the trees. The wind tickled his neck in response. Elijah wondered what part of himself he had left behind, and how long it would take to be at home enough to create something beautiful. As he stood to leave he stared at the sky, and it shone fluorescent between the trees.