This video is highly insightful. The whole in his floor, assumed to be death, is at first hardly noticable. However, it grows, and he soon finds that he can't escape its existence any longer. He must think of it every moment that he lives. Finally, at the end, he realizes that there is nothing to be frightened of, and faces the unknown.



Reflection


A short story by Hannah L

Now, he was standing the temple of God’s power on Earth in all of its green glory. Now was all he had and all he knew. So, he simply stared at the way his foot had stained the ethereal smooth ocean of green below him and sighed.
It was not that he did not understand, that was not his purpose in questioning so fervently as he did. It was, to him, simply his way of breathing. To know more of his life and the life of those around him was simply an exercise in expiration and inspiration, great inspiration indeed. It was as though he knew that even if he lived every day in full understanding of why, how, when, and many other details, he would just slip into a philosophical coma, never to awake in the conformity, the monotony, and the drudgery.
That is why, on this day of so much sadness and misunderstanding, he had traveled to the one place where all was known and yet steeped in eternal mystery. That is why he was standing in a deserted valley abundant with every shade of wildflower imaginable, listening to the soft calming lull of the mighty but miniscule river not five feet to his left, kneeling to smell the Indian Paintbrush beside him.
He had died… he had died. He had died. He had died. That, if nothing else, Jim understood. It was as simple as a moment when the breath had ceased to escape his mouth and his heart had stopped palpitating. He was no doctor, but that of all things, he understood. It was the absence of that overwhelming presence that he could not, and never fully would, understand. It was the knowledge that his unborn children would miss the smell of Jack’s homemade spaghetti. It was the realization that the musty smoky smell of his father would cease to exist in the all the rooms where he had painted the silence.
No one had warned him. Well, the doctors had alluded, and everyone knew it was imminent, but not one person had stopped him, looked him in the eye, and said “Hey, he is almost gone, help him to leave and kiss him goodbye”. Sure, he had said his goodbyes in a non-binding, denying sort of way, but it just was not goodbye.
So, he sat upon the waves of green, threw his pack beside him, removed the tired shoes from his tattered feet, and arrived upon the sort of silence one must seek to find. He sat, he wondered, he sighed, and finally, in an overwhelming gasp of emotions, he collapsed onto the ocean, closed his body, opened his eyes, and broke.


It was now time for the night to descend. Its black fangs were already upon him as the wind messed his hair and dried the dew upon his cheek. He was ready for there to be blackness. He knew it had already descended upon his heart and mind and those around him. All he needed was that confirmation of real blackness and he was granted that one wish.
Oh Jack, he thought, who took you? I really do not know just who picked you up and swept you away to God knows where. He peered up at the black sky with his blue eyes and screamed. His exasperation echoed through the trees, bouncing off the mismatched surfaces of wood and stone. He screamed for all of humanity as though his voice was the only one to exist in that moment. And yet, it was neither a scream of anger nor a scream of regret. It was a simple scream, one of wonder, and of a release of emotions yet unleashed. He screamed once more into the never-ending night.
It’s so hard you know Jack, just to be a stupid believer like you and I both were. I just don’t think it is the right time for believing right now. What do you think? No, really, do you now have some special evidence that there is a reason for something to believe in? Because, if you do, you are not very good at showing it. You are below some dirt and weeds now; you’re not up in any of those blasted clouds. You’re not flying around. You’re just there below the dirt, where you spent so many years planting things that would grow and die just like you. The same place where all of your great recipes received their ingredients, and where your haven of Lincoln logs was built and abandoned. The very same place where you saw young boys die for a losing battle, stitching them up just to watch them heal and then die, just like you. Screw your dirt.
Screw this dirt and your dirt and the whole world of dirt and sadness. Something took you, and took Bob, and will take Mom and me someday. It has no right at all to take, and yet it does every day. So am I seriously supposed to believe that this was the will of some all-righteous nut-job sitting in his golden chair? Am I seriously just supposed to sit back and sigh and say, “It was just his time”?


In its beautiful gentle way, the sun warmed his back ever so slightly until the nerve-endings persuaded him that it was time to wake up. The birds cooed him upright and he twisted and turned his body until the horrible memory of exactly what had happened flooded his mind. He had fallen asleep, or at least closed his eyes, in a confusing ocean of tears and curses. He had drifted away with mumbled phrases of regret and anger.
His stomach, selfishly, growled in hunger. He removed beef jerky from his zippered pocket and bit at it slowly. He hardly believed that eating was the top priority at this moment in time, but, if only to please his pleading stomach, he ate.
After some time adjusting to day and to life, he rose to his tattered feet and turned to face the great snowy peak before him. It was a choice he had made long ago, he would climb Mt. Ghilma when he had nothing left to lose, and at this moment, he indeed felt that it was now or never. It was the greatest mountain he was yet to climb. At 20,300 feet above sea level, it was no small feat.
But first, he needed to clear his head, or at least toy with it for an hour or two. He put one foot in front of the other and slowly began to stain the grass a hundred times over. Of course, he had no destination, but he found that there was no point in destinations if Jack was no longer there. And besides, in this place, no matter where you chose to go, you would inevitably end up somewhere entirely different.
The trees surrounding him were scraggy riverbank trees in their infancy, which struggled to guzzle down enough water to survive another day. They, too, would soon die. A few squirrels flapped their long furry tails at him, but he paid no heed. He just kept walking. The grass grew taller the farther he walked. The flowers grew more obscure and the animals less accustomed to his presence. He could only faintly hear the lull of the river now, but the wind in the trees and the lullaby of wildlife filled that pocket of loss.
He noticed the faint glimmer of blue between the great Douglas Firs before him. It was darker than the sky, yet no match for the impending night. Its green undertone reflected in stillness the sun’s early rays and the trees doubled over upside down, beneath the ground.
It was a great, majestic, beautiful lake. Small enough to swim across in a minute or two, it seemed untouched by human recklessness. As the trees disappeared and the shoreline replaced them, he slowed his pace and then stopped completely, staring at the world’s mirror. He was not quite sure what to gather from his reflection, one he had not seen in a day. Indeed it reeked of sad and lonely, yet it was far more resilient than he thought possible. On a larger scale, the lake reflected humanity, nature, despair, and triumph. Although he himself was not triumphant, the forest was. The fallen trees had been shared and replaced, the sun had risen for what seemed its millionth but also, it’s first. And, though hard to recognize, the lake had recovered from its past storms, fractures, and ripples. It had magically restored its perfect glassy face to look as new as the day.
Scattered across this mirror were green pads, which floated at their discretion upon the glass they had invaded. They seemed happy - if this is even possible for a pad of cellulose - truly and unalterably happy.


He had removed his jacket. He figured, if he was really going to do this, that now would be the time to remove his pants also. So, he undid his button, unzipped his zipper, and unwore his dirty jeans. He then removed his shirt and put it to rest beside the other items he had discarded. The last things to go were his socks, the only protection his tattered feet had had on this journey to reflection. As he removed his socks, and allowed them to join the pile, the soles of his feet were introduced, as if for the first time, to the dirt below him.
The earthy texture of this astounding substance shocked his system, but not as much as the cool mirror did as it enveloped his body in relaxation. He waded in his wonderland, hardly remembering how he had gotten there in the first place. His mind attempted to take him back to the sadness, to reclaim his smile and turn it into a heart-rending frown. But his mind was feeble, and no match against the calming effects of pure nature.
He stared once again at the mountain before him, clearer now than ever as it reflected off of the exquisitely still lake. It seemed tamer as it stared at him, upside down, as if to say that it, too, would someday be reclaimed by the earth it had escaped. He did not understand how this could be true, but he believed it nonetheless. He pondered, in this rare moment of reflection, the motivation, besides his obvious loss, that had caused him the desire to climb this dangerous mountain alone, and without any preparation. He stumbled over his thoughts, but came to a moment of equilibrium when he realized that this had nothing to do with the absence of Jack, but something else entirely. He was aware, at last, that his charades would not last forever. He could no longer deal with monotonous life he had previously led. It was as if, by acknowledging that death would someday come, he had realized that he could never conquer the fear, nor indeed the actual nonexistence that death entails. He could try his very hardest, but even his most daring climb could not help him to outrun this monster beneath. So he had accepted that, and moved on. He had realized that, beyond reasonable doubt, his life would end one day. And if it was, why should he waste it worrying about death, or even worse, worrying about bills, deadlines, and stocks?
This was why he would climb Mt. Ghilma, not for the pomp and circumstance, not for the treachery and the chance of death, but because he could never conquer death. However, he was convinced that he could conquer this mountain, and, in much the same way, that he could conquer life. Life. That was all that this trip and this mountain represented. And from now until his dying day, that was what he aimed to represent as well, for this lake, for this valley, for Jack.