Finding Ones Center - A Tale of the Denver Sprawl
I’m standing on the edge. The brink of eternity, staring out at the vast nothing that is before me and the long and distant nothing of the landscape that extends off to nowhere behind me. I’ve been here before many times, but something about this time feels different. Just one small step forward is all it would take to go from standing on the edge to plunging down into the nothing that yawns open before me. Turning around again, careful not to lean too far in any direction I stare back at the landscape behind me that led to this place. The reddish-tan ground is covered in random patches of low, dry scrub, struggling to eek out an existence in a place that receives little water. Nearby a few odd boulders of a similar reddish-tan rock tower above the landscape, but no shadows are cast on the ground. For the life of me I can’t remember how it is that I came to be at this place. Turning back to the void I feel an urge to just step off the edge; to let go and just fall. Why? What makes me feel this way? Again, I try to remember how I came to be here, but all I can see is this moment. Jump; don’t jump. What should I do? Turning away from the edge I start running towards the open desert. My heavy feet plod across the desert, kicking up dust with every footfall. I know there should be a sun beating down on me, but no such thing is present in the clear, cloudless sky. I glance back over my shoulder, but see nothing behind me but more flat, endless expanse of desert, but as I look back ahead I stumble in my surprise to find myself, once again, at the edge of nothing. How can this be? I didn’t run in circles and yet, here the edge lies, yawning open in the ground just waiting to swallow me up in the nothing of it. Again, I turn from the edge and run as fast as possible. Minutes go by and my breathing is fast and heavy from running which I’m not used to pushing this body through. I much prefer kicking back in a bar or near my circle with the few books I’d managed to collect over the years. I don’t know how, but one moment I’m looking at open desert and the next the edge was there again. I skid to a halt with my toes over the edge, arms pin-wheeling to keep me from plummeting over. So, it seems this won’t be something I can just run away from. I step back from the edge, and carefully sit down Indian-style near the edge to gather my thoughts. Even as I stare off into the nothingness the urge to get up and just step off the edge creeps back into my thoughts. The more I try and push the thought away, the more I find myself thinking about it. And why shouldn’t I. I’m here. The edge is right there. How hard would it be to just get up, take that one step and let go of it all. Let it all take me. Time has past. I know it, and yet the desert is still lit and shadow-less. So, decision time for me. Keep running only to find myself here again, or just go with it. Decision made, I stand up, take a deep breath and as I let it slowly out I step off the edge and let my body fall forward. I watch as the cliff starts to move past me; slowly at first, and then faster as I pick up speed even as I also move farther out from them. A feeling of exhilaration starts to come over me and I start to laugh; deep, hearty guffaws that start deep in my belly and just rumble out through my chest. I spread my arms and legs out eagle-like and shift my gaze to stare down where I’m falling. Waiting for the bottom to come rushing up and take away this sensation, but it never does. I close my eyes momentarily and am struck with a blinding light followed by nothing. A sensation like the snap of a rubber band moves quickly through my body and then a faint light is there. My eyes are still closed and when I open them I find myself sitting before a brazier that is still lit with the glow of burning incense. As I glance around I can see the faint shimmer of my warding circle’s astral barrier. Beyond it is the furniture of my mostly barren place; a run down turn of the last century apartment in one of the worst areas of the new Denver sprawl. Reaching down I deactivate the wards and slowly stretch to get rid of the kinks that have built up in my body from sitting still for too long while out of it on my quest. So, it worked. I can still feel it, that calm center that I had found while traveling the other planes. I cover up the circle on the floor with a thread-bare carpet and some run down furniture and pull out my portable secretary. Time to go get some drinks and maybe a bit of work to help pay for those soy-burgers I love to scarf down.