21 A Vision

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Stephen Whiteside
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21 A Vision

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:59 am

21 A vision

© Stephen Whiteside 02.11.2011

The two little rodents commenced the long walk back to the river. Magnifico led, his head close to the ground as he continued to scan for the tiny tell-tale clues that would tell them they were moving in the right direction.

A sudden weariness fell over Horatio. Was there any point? Ever since he had left home in pursuit of freedom, life seemed to have been nothing more than one desperate struggle after another. Surely there was more to life than this. There had to be. But was there? Was there really, he asked himself? Wasn’t that why his ancestors had striven for civilisation in the first place? To avoid the brutishness and randomness of life in the wild?

That was a very sobering thought. To think he was turning his back on the thoughts and feelings and achievements of his whole clan. He wasn’t just rebelling against his parents, he was rebelling against his entire species, and all it stood for on this planet.

Hadn’t Magnifico made some odd comment about rats living in the wild on other planets? Or not always being civilised? It was something like that.

But I’m not turning my back on civilisation, Horatio said to himself. I’m just looking for a different TYPE of civilisation. An ALTERNATIVE civilisation. I’m making the trip from A to B, without knowing where B is, or even if it exists. That’s all. I don’t want to live the life of a scavenger all my days. But neither do I wish to live a pampered, meaningless life, a life devoid of challenge, where all my needs can be met at the push of a button.

And so I’m on the road. Or whatever this silt and debris-strewn plain is. Except that it’s not a plain, as Magnifico has so eloquently pointed out, it’s a slope. A gentle slope. A gentle slope that will lead us back to the river. Supposedly. Hopefully. The bountiful, life-giving river, where we can find a place to hide, a place to sleep, food to eat, water to drink.

And what then? Once they were back at the river, what then?

All Horatio could think of was the peanut cow. A beautiful, peanut-brown cow with long eye-lashes and a winning smile, and no other purpose in its mind other than to provide Horatio with warm, nourishing, delicious peanut milk. An endless supply. Then he could live in happiness for the rest of his days. How crazy is that? he asked himself. But he couldn’t provide the answer. All reason seemed to fly out of the window when this vision of the peanut cow drifted back into his mind, front and centre.

Wouldn’t life with a peanut cow be just as meaningless and free of challenge as the life he had left? Perhaps. But it would no longer matter. The peanut cow would be the answer to all his prayers, the balm to all his ills. An end in itself. He wouldn’t need challenges with a peanut cow. And boredom would be impossible.

There was something in the back of his mind sounding the smallest possible note of warning, but he scarcely heard it, scarcely was aware of it, as the vision shimmered before him.

And as he stumbled awkwardly after Magnifico, tripping over stones and sticks, taking occasional detours around larger obstacles, even dragging himself briefly but laboriously through deep mud that sucked at his feet, the vision of the peanut cow shimmered just above him, always close, but always out of reach, and he felt no pain.
Stephen Whiteside, Australian Poet and Writer

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