• The wind would caress my face; smooth and gentle as the clouds drift past. I would feel the coarse bark pressed against my body as the branches held me there. The leaves would sway, whispering to each other and I alone would sit and listen. There would be peace: even if it were among the continuum of rupturing space and time, presenting itself as a moment now past. Now memory. I had grown accustomed to the silence and loneliness, though in my loneliness I did not feel lonely at all. It was strange. As I drifted through my life in and out of work and study, through the corridors of my home and amongst the loud murmuring of the city around me, I noticed it was as though everyone were wearing a delicate mask. I would watch from my perch, as they passed, noticing slight discomforts of those who felt threatened, fearful or hurt. Despite their hesitations they masked such fears, such discomforts and continued on as though nothing had happened. I was glad; glad that I was not among that crowd. So I would sit there, cradled by the trees, high above the falsities of society in my own version of peace. But in the present, the now of now, I face the people.

    I am the black dog in a flock of sheep. I escaped from my prison. People turn to look and stare as their whispering invades my ears, their hearts guarded by a house of stone. I continue on in the shadow of the never-ending block of dirty apartments, head held high; the forgotten dust shimmering mutely in the artificial light. An unpleasant and coarse feeling emerges from the back of my throat. I cough out a red tinged fluid and move on. The glass trembles as a loud rumble rung through the skies; a storm is coming. The first droplet of water falls from the sky, perfect and clear racing with the forces of gravity until it disappears into the ground. It is followed by thousands, maybe millions, more. I continue on, walking through the streets watching as the city transforms; the cool rain embracing my warmth as it slides down my skin and soaks through my clothes. My vision fades to the solitary black as my eyelids gently close. A slight chill climbs my spine, not from fear, but from the sensation of standing in the rain, face toward the sky and just feeling the beauty of the world. I continue on my journey walking as the clouds cry on me. Such a thing should make one feel sad for it is sad to cry - yet to me, I feel relieved. Relieved for the clouds in the sky, drifting for eternity, are crying with me in both happiness and pain: in times of hardship and in times of pleasure. They cry the tears I cannot shed.

    The light came back once again as the storm clouds clear with refreshed minds and hearts. Now, I see the water droplets convert from their liquid form back into the droplets they once were. Such a never-ending cycle it was that caused such a mist that was creeping - slowly and carefully as it purges the inquisitive nature of minds concealing the sadness or joy that once was. It grows in strength and power hiding away the emotions of life and I watch as people turn and embrace it. I watch as the lights of the city flickers off and soon I am surrounded by disillusioned souls. I hear the lone tapping of the shoes on the pavement and realise those footsteps are mine. I continue on, breathless, aware of the time that has passed with one sole mission in my heart to fulfil.

    I see dusk coming closer and closer and in the corner of my eye there is a pure white milkweed seed. It rides the currents of the winds that brush against my face and swiftly flows through the city. I pause for a moment, reaching out toward the seed and grasp it and in my hand its feathery hairs move with the breeze, longing to capture the wind once more. There is power in such a little seed: the winds shall continue to support it as it collects silent wishes. And one day, it shall finally rest on some patch of soil, and plant its roots. As these seeds of life ground their roots, such wishes I believe shall be fulfilled. Now, it is my turn to add to the collection of wishes so that I too may be granted a wish. Hopefully I too shall be released from the burden living in my weakening heart.

    I resume my journey and walk onward. There is an unusual silence looming over the darkening skies. It is a nostalgic sign. And there it is; the cause of my uneasiness as my body refuses to move. Shadows loom over me as I stand there helpless and weak. They hit me hard and harsh, the ringing sound overwhelming my ears as my body falls with a thump to the concrete. The red liquid bleeding out onto the pavement; I now lay in puddles of murky water. I feel the pain: not from my battered body but from the centre of my being. A knife had been dug through my heart, trying to kill the essence of my mind: to make us alike. They were afraid you see; and it was this fear of the unknown, of difference that fed the arousing restlessness. And once again, it was the sound of the rain pattering against the footpath that saved me. I hear their footsteps fading away, walking further and further away to protect their houses of stone. Their houses of stone wouldn’t protect them from the rain for the water would seep in and unveil their reality.

    It was the strength of the rain that brought me to my feet soon after. It told me to go on: to persevere. I too, had no reason to cry for the rain cried for me. Droplets fall onto my face. I became a tear stained soul. I walk one step at a time: each step becoming heavier, my wheezing louder. Yet, the journey that seemed hopeless was not at all that. Finally, I found my home; my spirit and my soul. My heart missed a beat: it was working too hard with little strength. Yet I continued on, reaching up to pull my body with numb limbs, up the stepping stones of nature. And now, I lie back into these branches that call me theirs, our shadows merge as one. I am the trees, dancing to the melody of the breeze. I am the sunflowers, pointing with eternal love to their sun. As we walk toward the eastern sun, we embrace its light for we are one. And now, it’s time to leave and turn to dust.