There is one incident I look back on every time I cynically doubt the world. I remember the crazy old vagabond who to an extraordinary Faith belonged. Caught my hand and in trance, had the grey-beard loon, begun gravely his evangelic tale crazy and long.
You are suspended 50 feet in the air, the cool air alive with late-summer breeze and tinged with the warm and welcoming riverine scent. You know there is solid ground on two sides, each a quarter of a kilometre away. You feel a strange comfort and satisfaction looking at the tiny cobblestones you are standing on, regular in their irregularity. Is it a sense of honour you feel for being able to stand on this product of immeasurable labour of hundreds, thousands of people? Perhaps not. You do not want to get into deeper narcissistic ideas.
The other day, I was sitting at my desk as usual and occasionally looking out from my seventh-storey window onto the midday cityscape, when something suddenly caught my eye.
It was something located around two-thirds of the way between me and the horizon. I immediately recognised it to be some sort of a signboard, seemingly hoisted proudly above its neighbours and towered over only by a handful of nearby communist apartment buildings. Following this, it took hardly a moment for me to guess—from the vague yellow circle with a dark border that was visible to me—that it was the signboard of the supermarket chain, Lidl.
This sky is two skies, from the open pages of seven storeys.
One a vast expanse, a fallow land; greyscale, yet polychrome, the grey fields of life lie tantalisingly, stretching to pale eternities of truth; but frozen in their enticing reverie, the land remains unscathed by time.
The immaterial dependence once forged: a chunk of metal, the earth itself, brought to life by earth’s own liquor, yet a separate free sentience. A being of compassion and adventure. Or a rowdy, a bad influence?
Of late, when I haven’t been wasting my time on worthless pursuits like YouTube binges, I have been getting in a decent amount of thinking. One of the trains of thought I find myself arriving at repeatedly is perhaps the one thing I fear more than death—
There is no bigger backing for the claim that birds are Mighty and Majestic (yes, capital M&Ms), than the fact that us humans, to this day, call upon them prior to any major undertaking. “Eh?” you ask? Allow me to elaborate.
Classical Roman society had certain priests who had pretty important roles. So important, in fact, that no major project, public or private, would commence without the involvement of these priests—even war and religion! They were responsible for interpreting the will of the gods, by studying the flight of birds. Different patterns they observed were interpreted as various omens and signs from the heavens.
I am tripping, yet in tune with the world. I am one with myself and my machine.
Detached from my normal life, from the rat race, from the mundane tasks. A simple switch of lenses; wide-angle to macro—a narrow but crisp and focussed field of vision.
Attached to the present—to the self and the machine, and to the world. Attached to being alive, to feeling, and to exploring. The thrill of wanderlust: the adrenaline- and dopamine-fuelled ecstasy; and the sedated high that numbs out the inconsequential. A narcotic? Perhaps.
Ending an exhausting yet fulfilling adventure, I board the 3.35 back to České Budějovice. On this return leg of my journey, all the cabins in 2nd class seem to be occupied by at least one weary privacy-seeker. The travellers turn away my optimism all the way to the end of the carriage, and I take a seat in the last cabin containing, unsurprisingly, an occupant in one of the window seats.