Death in a Foreign Land


Where the cobbled street loses itself in the sand down by the river, I make a cairn from stones that once lead somewhere we thought we wanted to go. To warn off would-be travelers, I have been prying stones from the road and leaving the old cobbles in piles. Where the road once meandered, I make grave piles of stones to suggest an end to our aimless wandering.

I have been coming here to watch the waves erode the stones to sand. With each water-lick, the stones give up their hardness. It comes as a relief.

There are many ways, but they all come to the same end. The journeyer sees many possible routes at the beginning. He looks down at his hands and sees only a matted web of yarn. It seems the choice of a single path is a crucial decision. But by the end he knows that all paths end alike. The only common thread is our most complete oblivion.

In the silence I hear the peopled legions of eternity and know that I will go there too. Down by the water, I pick up a shell and put my ear to it. I hear the ocean’s majesty – though they tell me this is just the echo of the blood coursing through my veins. Perhaps in the silence it is only myself I hear.

To die in a foreign land is my destiny but far more foreign than any geography is the man who does not seek to know himself and begin the long work of reconciliation with the shadows. Stone becomes sand. Life becomes dust. Time becomes eternity.

But where you touched me I still glow.

6 responses to “Death in a Foreign Land”

  1. Denise Avatar

    Lovely Kevin

  2. adrian Avatar

    To use Maya Angelou´s words, I may say that “the rocks” and pebbles on the sea shore” were once hosts to species long since departed” . They have whitnessed milleniums and milleniums of existance but they too must desintegrate to be seen no more.

  3. Joe Duncan Avatar
    Joe Duncan

    Enjoyed the Muse as always, especially the last line. The touching transcends the end we all share. “Editor’s Note”: The word “may” in the first line of Strands should I think be “many”.

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