Nature is a free luxury spa for all without asking of you any identification card or permit to visit. It is a marvelous Carte Blanche given to us as our birthright gift from the greatest man above.
Nature is a spectacular cinema of what alchemists considered as the essential composition of the Universe, where Fire, Water, Earth, and Air create a symphony of Beauty unsullied by human artfulness. So much so that Lord Byron rhapsodized about this natural beauty thus: “There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.”
And that is what I and my band of Sylvanian troubadours saw and thought when we went hiking yesterday. We looked on beauty and saw it was purchased by the weight. What a wonderful world it was! Would it be the same feeling God was surged up with when he saw the world after his creation? I bet it was.
The wind was blowing eastward in the field, and the sun was stopping in the sky amid the moving herd of clouds. The susurrus of the trees was softly caressing her ears harassed by the cacophony of reality in which she could not help but endure under the pretext of fulfilling her existential duties to earn her sustenance. A nature’s medicinal touch of her malady of heart seemed to work for the moment, and she felt cared and loved in the arms of Mother Nature whom she likened to Mother Mary. Judy was sitting like a resting Artemis, the goddess of hunting, with her loyal canine company Nena on the crest alongside San Marcello Path in the Santa Maria Mountains. Judy and Nena were different species united in the polyphony of nature’s orchestral music and the panoply of the scenes that nature’s cinema was presenting before their very big brown beautiful eyes that seemed to look into the depths of souls and to find wonders in them no matter how diminutive they might be. It’s the moment of retreat from the world that constantly threatened Judy’s faith in humanity against the strife of existential life. Every Sunday was the time to bathe herself in the Spring of Nature, and she loved every minute of it.
A noonday haze was springing over the hill with iridescent beams of sunshine, which were a feast to the eye. Nena was yawning as a gossamer of the eastward wind becoming a sweet breeze was pleasingly teasing a tip of its nose. Smiling at the playful scene, Judy was thinking about the legend of restless ghosts of nineteenth century outlaws still roaming in the deep region of the mountain, not knowing they were dead in search of a great escape from a forest maze to their El Dorado. Reader, you may think it’s only a fiction imbued with Hollywood-generated machismo of lawless gunslingers in the Wild West, but to Judy the legend became factoid that couldn’t be abruptly dismissed as a preposterous ballyhoo fit for a campfire story to scare kids and gullible puerile adults. Call it superstitious or benighted, but then do people not believe in the power of the greatest man above even though they have not seen him? The difference between religion and belief is a matter of hierarchy, a structural form of rite and indoctrination. Anything else is quintessentially same as we human beings are spiritual by nature. Thus, even the wickedest, the vilest, the cruelest convict has the tainted and perverted soul warped in a wrong modus vivendi that it chose by the will or by the play of Goddess Fortuna. In that regard, the souls of the escaped convicts, drifting gunslingers, highwaymen, or luckless lost travelers might still be roaming the paths of the mountain day and night, doing their penance on earth without awareness of it, till a sympathetic living soul hears their sorrows and angers to purge them out to escape to the beyond.
As Judy was wending her way to the mountain, the images of the wild west ghosts sprang in her vista as though to be screened in a phantasmagorical display of the swashbuckling bravado of their once proud prime days. What’s more, she wanted to validate her belief in life after death by witnessing the souls of the dead, which would quell her vexing doubts on the existence of God and ultimately, the meaning of life. Nena also seemed to give a nod to Judy’s determination to figure it all out by walking beside her into the mountain. The leaves of the trees were rustling in the wind, and the eagles were flying high above as if they were welcoming the curious duo. The rustling sound now became phantasmal susurrus of trees, reciting “Curiouser, curiouser!”
The witching hour was nearing to cast its spell on the night under the aegis of Artemis, the goddess of the moon, and the passengers on the last train to East Ventura were inwardly invoking the power of Patience for a high hope for a low heaven – they all just wanted to go home after a hard day’s work, and no more. These aggregates were all bound by the same fate of being held up as hostages to the less practical and more unnecessary delay due to their inapt handling of one unruly passenger on board at Moorpark Station. The force of one unruly passenger carried the aggregates over the edge of their collectively simulated sanity and suspended their precious time to be spent at home. This nightly act of daily drama in the life of a commuter was in fact a repertory regularly put on stage by a company entitled Metrolink. It was performed yet again last night for an hour. Without Applauds, of course.
Since I moved to California last October from New Jersey following the footsteps of the nineteenth century emigrants from the East to the West via mules-driven wagons on the Oregon trail, I have been trying to make myself adjusted to the Californian way of life in every sundry aspect. But the most Promethean challenge to overcome is commuting to and from work via train, and my whole life now seems to be run by train schedules operated by Metrolink, the Southern California’s commuter railway company. It takes about three good hours round trip to and from Union Station in Los Angeles without delays, so basically my free time after work during weekdays is to be spent on the train without much personal time at home in the evening. Let’s say the commuting time is agreeable at will due to my economic activities, but any such delays, including the aforesaid and waiting for an Armtrek train to pass by on the trails for about thirty minutes, are hard to receive my magnanimous understanding. And it seems that the last East Ventura bound train in the evening is set for giving me a series of trials by ordeal that I need not anymore. Woes to those who are already burdened with the yoke of needs.
Call it a commuter’s blues or soliloquy, but whenever I am faced with another ordeal of habitual delay that seems to become part of my Immigrant Song in the Wild West, I think of the following Shakespeare’s quotation tinged with wits and pathos that speaks of our moments in life, such as last night’s episode of “Unruly Passenger at Moorpark Station”.
And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe.
And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot;
And thereby hangs a tale.