It starts at the very edge of the senses. Beyond the warmth and brightness of a summer’s day, away to west, something changes. The air moves slightly differently over my skin, the hairs on my arms pick up an impending change of pressure.
In the distance the darkness gathers, low along the line of the horizon, growing from a shade, and a haze into something thick and tangible. The sky above is oblivious. The sun continues to shine, the birds are still singing, warmth holds the air in an unflinching embrace.
As the sun dips the clouds spread, calling time on the moments of clarity and comfort. I feel paralysed. I should run, but to the east there is night and to the west would only invite the darkness sooner. The sea bounds the south, desolation the north.
And of course there is a certain appalling, seductive beauty to it. This is no slow encroachment of something vegetative. It is quick and chemical. Ink spilled in water. It roils and curves and has shades and depth all of its own.
The wind is stronger now. The air itself flees ahead, tugging at my flesh and urging me to seek shelter. There is a moment of transition in which I would love to live. To stand naked with half the sky darkened and the sun falling into the cloud bank, lighting it up, as if heaven and hell were at war over the uncertainty of my salvation. The point at which I mean something.
Inevitably the sun loses and the darkness is complete. There are no stars that can pierce the ceiling of water droplets. There is a glow that might be the moon, a highlight that might be the setting reminder of the sun. I am alone, unclothed and unprotected standing in the consequence of my inability to run or hold back the clouds. Prisoner to the spellbinding attraction of the change from light to dark, the desire for sensation and the addiction to risk.
The rain comes. It is no blessing of redemption and cleanliness. It is an assault. Drops fat as pebbles, the depleted and dense remains of something decaying and malevolent. I raise my arms to the sky because every impact, every bruise, every indignity is proof that I live, that I feel.
I wake alone on the hillside, dew drenching my skin. The sun has risen, it is a new day.
Tangentially in response to DP: A Brand New You
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