Art by Zak Blaise
Story by Jerrell Mock
Out there in the lonely pasture lie the crippled remains of rusty hog wire that once confined caprine curiosity. Meandering paths still mark the routs most travelled – the memory of the grassy green is remarkable, years later still not daring to encroach upon the padded, exposed earth. Nearby, brown feathers crawl around in the breeze, circling the interior of a crusty chicken coop – the ground still in caked layers of excrement with scared ruts were hens once rummaged through piles of food scraps. A wet black farm dog nose used to poke through the gaps in the fence, performing routine inspections of the poultry, but the hens have since flown… as has the dog. Now only the tall grasses peak through the splintered slats to investigate the deserted enclosure.
As a boy, the land was not nearly so bleak – The gardens an explosion of well-tended crops. Gnarled arms of peach trees sagging to the ground under the weight of their own bounty, gravity trying to claim its share of the sweetness. Cackling hens announcing production of tomorrow’s breakfast. A scattering of plump goats grinding alfalfa between their teeth while pondering their surrounding between foul cud-filled belches. But back then life there felt like a chore and time was spent dreaming of the things I’d do when I left, dreaming of the day I would move on. Now, after testing other waters, I know deep down that whatever remains of my life to come will be spent attempting to attain the very life I so eagerly left behind. The life in the land that now stood abandoned.
I see now that therein lays the epitome of desire – two entities sharing a deep connection, yet divided by status quos perpetually at odds. While the land blossomed, I was convinced my departure was the only path to my own ability to flourish. Yet once hardened by the years after my departure, I was driven to return, but only to find that the very memory I had hoped to return to was gone.
Yes indeed, desire is as hard a thing to chase as the rumble strip on the highway – if you let your guard down, you tend to drift closer, closer, and closer to it until…… BBBBBBDDDDDRRTZZZT….. and you snap out of it and go on about your old habits, your regular life, as if nothing ever happened. You surprise yourself that it even happened in the first place because you were oh so diligent, grounded, and aware of your reality… “Where did that even come from? I was, after all, paying such very close attention and would never be so reckless as to drift away into something as dangerous and unknown as THE EDGE.” And that’s where desire lives, don’t you know, right there beyond the edge of your familiar, carefully planned life. It’s so close to you, yet until you go there, you will never find it.
“Soon it will all make sense,” I tell the farmboy.