This kilometre is gentle now, green, grey, blue. Its pain lurks behind time; winds slicing through garment, into the fragile flesh beneath, dense powder reducing sight to a line, and staunch ground, resisting each minor step onward. That world has no place for me. No place for the simple-minded <<set $rand = Math.floor(Math.random() * 3)>><<if $rand eq 0>>[[journey|Clearing at the Peninsula]]<<endif>><<if $rand eq 1>>[[journey|Far End of Long Beach]]<<endif>><<if $rand eq 2>>[[journey|Short Beach]]<<endif>> of a daily [[commute|Simple Goals]]. To exist, there, is to [[oppose|Standing, Opposing]].
I've sat here countless times, staring into a world that cycles through beckoning, rejecting. Its pull grows with its desolation, an ever-deepening stillness. Staring out from this domain of absolute comfort, I lack peace. And so time and again I answer the call, embarking into an atmosphere [[painful|Walking to the Bus]] to the touch, [[graceful|Exploring a Valley]] to the eye.
To simply stand in this stillness, allow it to wash over me, is to transcend it. To know the sensation of my warmth, of my life, <<set $rand = Math.floor(Math.random() * 2)>><<if $rand eq 0>>[[flowing away|Rocky Beach at the Peninsula]]<<endif>><<if $rand eq 1>>[[flowing away|Far End of Long Beach]]<<endif>> into the furthest recesses of this cold is to perceive with deepest clarity my being, here. Were I to continue standing it would overtake me, and my being, too, would become still. Yet at that moment of clarity, I have acquired what I ventured here for, and so I may return to hospitable domains, knowing this 'here' [[remains|The Return]].
From the corner across the call shop I'll admire the footprints on the reddish soil leading [[beachward|Far End of Long Beach]] and tell you about that time when my cousins and I followed that girl along the main street and by the [[arcade|Video Arcade]], and how we creeped her out and made her run away from us and into some cabins, and I'll imagine you running that way, stepping on those footprints that may as well be the same ones the small girl in white left that time.
We’ll be passing through it on our way to the bigger [[craft fair|Craft Fair by the Church]], yet again, and though the square is not the same shadowy place it once was, like a short stretch of the [[peninsula|Clearing at the Peninsula]] in the middle of town, I'll suggest we do as [[couples|Coniferous Canopy]] in the dark did before, and you'll act abashed yet you'll consider it, so I'll feign shock and tease your shamelessness.
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That last night we'll have put out all the lights and we'll sit there on the back of the house with our feet grazing blades of dry grass as they hang from the deck. You'll let me hug you a bit from the side, the music from the beach will be too loud, and I'll look at the darkness, at nothing, and say that right there and right then I love you most painfully, and you won't reply.
The dishes won't be done, the bed will, you'll be watching TV for some reason and I'll be leafing through a newspaper magazine left from a few summers back. Finally I’ll get bored, reach you from behind and kiss you on the neck. Whatever you'll be watching won't be any good but you won't stop watching it as I go on kissing you down the arm and to your hand, and I'll remove your plastic bracelet, and then the string one you'll have bought at the [[craft fair|Craft Fair by the Church]], and finally your ring. I'll admire the <<set $rand = Math.floor(Math.random() * 2)>><<if $rand eq 0>>[[paler|Walking to the Bus]]<<endif>><<if $rand eq 1>>[[paler|Exploring a Valley]]<<endif>> skin underneath I'll wish you kept, then get up for the [[yard|Back Porch]], leaving your things on the table beside, and you'll look up to me as I go but catch only my back.
Rarely does nature carve a procession so divine with no aid of man. Yet here I proceed through this grace. Between trees left barren from shock, along a descending ravine, across ice left a <<set $rand = Math.floor(Math.random() * 2)>><<if $rand eq 0>>[[murky|Rocky Beach at the Peninsula]]<<endif>><<if $rand eq 1>>[[murky|Town Square]]<<endif>> brown from captured silt, among sublime pillars advancing ever-higher, and out, out into the crisp air and sharp sun. Violent forms are scattered at this destination, testimony to the river's eternal flow rejecting the still air. ...The stillness. The pervading cold. I have come too far. Swept along by a curious greed for these sights, I have ignored its advance, pervading me ever [[deeper|Standing, Opposing]]. And so now I return, ascending through these moments, reliant on the grace revealed around me to overcome the stillness spreading within.
From a distance, they huddle together forming a dark patch amidst the lattice. This land belongs neither to them nor the lattice, and so they keep close company, slowly increasing in number. As one ventures nearer, the darkness unveils its shelter. An acidic carpet leaving the forest floor barren, welcome to the interventions of man. And here man has intervened. Old logs stacked upon old logs, brush thrown upon the meagre structure. A [[lovers|Town Square]] nest, in all likelihood, a place of warmth in this [[vast|The Expanse]] cold.
Emerging from the <<set $rand = Math.floor(Math.random() * 3)>><<if $rand eq 0>>[[forest|Coniferous Canopy]]<<endif>><<if $rand eq 1>>[[forest|The Expanse]]<<endif>><<if $rand eq 2>>[[forest|Descending Path]]<<endif>> we'll pass this same spot again, the tumbled log on the side of the clearing, and we'll pause and turn back to the path we just passed that I said we shouldn't take, and you'll groan as you adjust the strings on your sandals. I'll take you straight to [[one of the beaches|Rocky Beach at the Peninsula]].
The solemn air mocks our simple goals of working, learning. To continue obeying one's humble schedule while the world grows inhospitable, as we all do, is a beautiful, comedic delusion. And year upon year that first day of snow scatters countless wrecks, ensuring that true authority is not [[forgotten|Descending Path]].
And once more I return. This time to a new world; no more hospitable, though now sunken beneath a dim orange hue. The ground and the sky have become parallel in their reflection, and man's soft light pervades all, much as the light of the sun illuminates a dense fog. In these orange depths I walk, reflecting on the world of silhouette bounding my path.
The arcade will still be there and I'll marvel at the fact, but there won't be any games that I remember, however I'll still pay for your share of tokens and make you play some games, and all the while I'll be wishing it was back then, over seventeen years ago, and I was there deciding what to play with the scarce amount of coins we scavenged for, the feeling of the tokens in our pockets like pebbles from the [[beach|Rocky Beach at the Peninsula]].
The air is crisp this morning, the world rendered in uncompromising clarity. Ice has [[bloomed|Field Across the River]] here; white fragments of a graceful intricacy and fragility scattered upon a soft, clear plane. A peculiar garden no man would cultivate. With fortune frost has enveloped all, and a world of little lustre has been reborn its radiant twin. In this valley old barriers have become [[roads,|Descending Path]] winding amongst the [[dark giants|Coniferous Canopy]], the only sight of shelter from this cold.
<<set $rand = Math.floor(Math.random() * 2)>><<if $rand eq 0>>[[January|Street in Front of House]]<<endif>><<if $rand eq 1>>[[January|Window]]<<endif>>, the month named after the Roman god Janus. A god of thresholds between past and future, here and there, he is depicted as having a head bearing two faces staring simultaneously forward and back.
The water will be still and <<set $rand = Math.floor(Math.random() * 4)>><<if $rand eq 0>>[[cold|Exploring a Valley]]<<endif>><<if $rand eq 1>>[[cold|Coniferous Canopy]]<<endif>><<if $rand eq 2>>[[cold|Descending Path]]<<endif>><<if $rand eq 3>>[[cold|Standing, Opposing]]<<endif>>, and we'll let its blackness swallow our bodies to the chin, discard our bathing suits, and swim to the rock whose exact place I won't remember. I'll lead you by the hand; we won't find it, so we'll just lay on our backs while we find stars that dot the patches where there's no clouds, swaying slightly and drifting, turning naturally, and neither of us will know the names of any constellations, but we won't talk much anyway. Instead I'll think of the [[house|Living Room of House]] as it was right then, without us, similarly dark, unstirred.
We'll order two beers to start and decide on a pizza, I'll mention that I'd never actually sat there to eat, and since I won't hear you clearly I'll sit to your side, grab your hand out of comforting habit alone, and I'll try to look you in the eyes while we chat, but yours will wander roughly in the direction of the [[short beach|Short Beach]], and then I'll just stop reminiscing and ask you about school.
I'll take you there swimming along the rockside, we'll wonder if we can get up there from where we were, and there'll be other people, neither of us happy about it; finally we'll follow a path leading from that tiny beach, excuse ourselves for intruding, and reach the tree growing horizontally from the side, and we'll wonder if it's dangerous to jump from there, so we finally won't do it, but we'll sit on it and try to look at the setting sun, bowing our heads and hanging diagonally, finally getting bored and walking back the other way and towards [[downtown|Corner at Main Street]].
Holding your hand with my right and a suitcase with my left I'll pause, let you study me with a frown that the sun, strong as it can only shine when just fully emerged from the dark, weighty clouds of the south, forces out of you. And then maybe I'll throw in a line on how I always wanted to show you the [[peninsula|Clearing at the Peninsula]]. Then I'll release both things and produce the keys to the lock on the gate of the [[house|Living Room of House]].
Among a large field of tall dry grass that create the house’s [[back yard,|Back Porch]] I will follow a red bumblebee in wonder as it leaves a [[flower|Exploring a Valley]] for another, probably as [[hungry|Main Street Italian Restaurant]] as I, and I'll look around for you. You distracted, on the other side of the shrubs, pulling on dry reeds, won't pay heed immediately, and by that time the bee will have already departed.
You'll be waltzing along a gallery of endless but predictable pareos, beach shell-necklaces and leather anklets, as my finger disinterestedly wanders along rows of CD-Rs with photocopied covers, my gaze occasionally diverting toward the [[arcade|Video Arcade]] across the [[square|Town Square]] for a slight dose of <<set $rand = Math.floor(Math.random() * 3)>><<if $rand eq 0>>[[bright|Exploring a Valley]]<<endif>><<if $rand eq 1>>[[bright|The Expanse]]<<endif>><<if $rand eq 2>>[[bright|Descending Path]]<<endif>>, caffeinated lights to the pupil.
I'll have taken you to find those pedal boats and will actually be surprised that they're still there, so we'll get one and pedal a bit toward the mouth of the [[river|Field Across the River]]. I'll tell you how it's lame that there's so many motorboats, and you'll soon grow breathless because you hardly exercise, and so we'll drift for a while and talk about nothing, maybe the volcano that you can't see from beach and the lava trail, and we'll approximate fingers in the direction of Pucón.
Looking out over this vast expanse confirms a scale. Endless forests fade into the horizon, bounded by plateaus upon which rest a city in miniature. There towers stand shoulder to shoulder, staring across the dense woods to a quiet settlement that itself looks intently inward, outward, upward, for the slightest of insights. The clouds align at this late hour, leaving the fore and middle ground of this scene in shade, while clothing those distant towers with a shimmering glow. Here this world feigns peace, welcome; its sight grows ever more lovely as its dagger cuts ever deeper. I retreat, acknowledge its authority, vow a [[return|The Return]].
by [[agj|]] and [[GregWS|]].