I was looking for special knowledge. From the first moment I realized that we revolved around the sun, I became enchanted. I was sure that if I paid attention she could illuminate something special and enlighten me. I organized what little I had and set out to walk with her until night had left the two of us alone. I made it to the edge of the gathered world and waited until it was the right time to venture north into the icelands, the lands of the midnight sun. We were alone, just her and me, and I walked for half a revolution in her light before night interrupted our abode. My soul was crushed when I found nothing and my time in the sun was over. I turned south toward what was once America, and by the time I made it back to the paved ways and gatherings I had been alone for a whole revolution. After I returned to the rhythm of day and night, I walked on old asphalt going from gathering to gathering asking why I had found nothing under the sun.
I met a seeker near the large western lakes. I was taking refuge from the cold on an island gathering nestled in the middle of a large river. There, I found an old abandonment to rest my feet and escape that night’s cold. It was by far the oldest standing structure in sight; its walls were made of massive blocks of stone, but most importantly it had a roof. The vaulted ceilings and buttressed archways stretched above me as I entered the hall. I had heard of those designs and patterns used in the oldest buildings across the great sea to the east. Lining the main hall were crumbling remains of great patrons past with names in both old English and French.
I was studying the nameplate below the decapitated statue of “ a m e s M c g i l ” when I heard the whisping of shades around me, back and forth across the tall domed apse. Broken stained windows were drawing in the last light of day. Nervously scrambling in and out of sight, the shades were not interested in engaging me, but were scavenging from corner to corner. Just then I heard a voice from behind me announce, “I have never truly understood them.” Startled, I turned around. An old seeker with a wooden cane appeared out of a dark recess
“What do you not understand?” I asked. “They are all that can survive in such a barren world with nothing under the sun”.
We stood for a moment, looking for the shades’ tall, thin silhouettes, that whisped in and out of sight as they moved, not in unison, but frantically, from side to side, harvesting a minimal existence from whatever bit of life they could find.
“I did not think there was anybody here,” I told the older seeker, trying to remain respectful of the common space.
“I hope you do not mind if I stay the night”.
The seeker shook his head.
“I have not seen many seekers or gatherings these last revolutions. I am happy to share this space.”
I had killed a deer before crossing onto the island so I made a fire and cooked for us and we conversed by the embers. I told him where I had come from, of my seeking in the northern land under the sun. The elder sympathized with my situation, and he too had often wondered about special knowledge. “Rather than in the current light of the sun,” he said, “I have seeked such knowledge in the recesses of the deep past”. He was particularly well versed in the older dialects, stories and remains of this part of America. I thought surely someone in our past must have thought why there is nothing under the sun.
“There is an abandonment southeast of here that is in the middle of the woods, but not fully lost” the old seeker told me. “There you may find the mysteries that have been left unread and lie dormant in old paper.” The old seeker told me he found something special in the mysteries there because they raptured him.
“What are these raptures?” I asked the elder.
“A rapture wrests you from this world and brings you to the place where dreams come from. It is an old form of reading, a bridge between you and the expanse of time.”
I had to find the appropriate “mystery” to match my question precisely, for I alone could formulate the question to my enrapturing. We finished our fermented juices as the embers died out and silence crept in. The next morning I paid my respect to the elder and he gave me the directions to the abandonment, only a few days’ walk away.
I walked the asphalt east until I got to 55, then 55 turned into 91 and the language turned from French to English. I walked on 91 for a couple of days until a river joined me, also coming from the north. As the river got bigger I looked for 10a. The abandonment was on the other side of the river.
When I finally arrived there was no way to cross the river. Freestanding pillars were strewn across, disconnected from one another. I found a place just south of the eroding concrete where the river made a knot with a tributary on the other side. There was an island that made it so I did not have to swim the whole length of the river in the cold. As I was crossing the island in the middle of the river I decided to stop and eat. Fish in hand, I started a fire with a big piece of wood that I found with the engraved letters,
R I V E R T R A I L
M I N K B R O O K
To Be Continued…