The Nonbeliever

The nonbeliever stared out at the broken bodies, dressed in running shorts and t-shirts. He sighed. He shut his window, but the sirens kept wailing and he couldn’t keep their sound out. He had seen events unfold through the thick, double-glazing, and he wondered why he wasn’t more moved. He was left cold. He felt like he was watching a movie. Just another movie.

He turned to his computer and opened up his social media websites. There were many of them. It was where his life took place, his real life, the one divorced from the lumbering, uncomfortable, needy flesh that was his body. He didn’t like physical necessities. He found them embarrassing and ungainly. Words were what moved him.

Online, he found that he was already late to the party. Everyone knew about what was happening right outside his window. He realized he could be a valuable asset and positioned himself again so he could see out while typing. He began feeding live reports and found himself with a dozen new followers, almost immediately.

When he uploaded a picture, he was shocked to find even more hanging onto his words. He described what he was seeing and hearing and even opened the window again, just for a moment, to try to get a whiff of the smoke. It smelled like smoke.

There were others like him, sending out messages of hope and love. He stuck to the facts. He was a nonbeliever, after all. He knew communication was essential, but didn’t believe in the power of prayers. He knew that help was possible, but didn’t believe in the fluffy notion of good thoughts. He was seen as a good source of information and valued for these qualities.

Over time, however, the news he could glean from his window grew scarce and the online world turned to grieving. It nursed its wounds and condoled the bereft. He recoiled. He was a nonbeliever. It wasn’t possible to believe in the goodness of people after he’d witnessed himself standing and staring motionless, emotionless, at the carnage unfolding itself below in the tortuously slow way of nightmares.

The Woods

As darkness settles, the air grows cool and crisp, promising rain later to those who can feel it in their bones and guaranteeing a cold night for those who can’t. The smell of the air becomes almost a living thing, damp and thick; the smells are of the ponds, of the moist greenery, faint smoke coming from far off, and lastly, the smell of woods in the night. It all smells musty, in a cold sort of way, as if the whole outside world has become the den in an old house.

The woods in the night are magical. Bare though they are of leaves, they brim with a foreign power, a promise of mystery, adventure and danger that can be found in their depths. The branches of the trees seem to be like a hundred arms reaching out towards the sky, some leaning down and beckoning to the watcher to come in, to look closer.

The prospect of being lost in those woods is both frightening and enchanting. There is a feeling that anything could happen amongst the tree trunks, between the wild roots, inside knotholes. The onlooker can easily be hypnotized, drawn into the New England woodlands as if by invisible Fae. With the right sort of courage, perhaps those wild creatures could be discovered.

One Down, Six to Go

Tuesday, April 14th, I visited the first college on my tour: Occidental College in Eagle Rock, CA. I won’t go into too much detail, as I’ve already written about my love for the place in various notebooks that I’ve got around me on this trip, but suffice it to say that I was extremely impressed with the campus, the students, the dorms, the classes, basically everything.

I’ve been told that when I find the right college, I’ll just KNOW. I don’t know if that’s true, because I loved the first place I was at already, and I suspect I might be just as impressed with the others. We’re in Boston currently, and planning on visiting Boston University tomorrow. Even though we’ve only seen a tiny bit of the city today, I already like it – walkable, but big, trendy looking but some parts seem sweet and old-town-America.

So, as the title suggests, one down, six colleges to go.