The day was going to be grey. Not the sort of day that motivated people to leave their cabins, run through the woods, explore new trails.
The tree had been standing there for decades—it was wide and strong, with thick mossy bark. It wasn’t clear why it had fallen. It was near the trail—perhaps the damage to its roots weakened it, invited infestation. She might well have been lying on its roots, sandwiched between parts of the same tree. It was stupid, unlucky, senseless. This sort of thing wasn’t supposed to happen. Things aren’t supposed to happen. You’re entitled to your life, to your safety, to your friends, to your job. It’s against the rules. It was her punishment for breaking them, for questioning them, for being the wrong person.
* * *
This is it, it’s over, you just get one life and then it’s over. Nothing else is ever going to happen. All the other possibilities, all the scenarios, all the alternatives, aren’t real. Real is now, what you’re doing, what you’ll be doing in ten minutes. You have to choose. Every choice entails refusals, denials. You won’t know what could have happened, what would have happened, where you might have gone, what you might have done, what it would have been like, what it would have felt like, whether you would have succeeded, what you would have touched and seen, whether it would have been powerful or wonderful or just dumb. What does it matter? What does it matter what’s outside you, what you’re hearing and doing? Just concentrate, and you can be anywhere else, you can take yourself somewhere and make it do whatever you like. Take yourself to a field, a house, a bed.
A career in photography. People always said she could have had one. Why not? Take a chance, quit work, take the risk, dedicate yourself to a life of Artistic Expression, embrace the muse. Would that be rewarding? Would it be a good experience? What do you want to do? Just walk around taking pictures? What’s the point? The world doesn’t need any more pictures. People don’t need to see things they way you see them. People are happy enough seeing things they way they see them. They only like things you do when those things confirm what they already know. What do I know that other people want to know? What do I see that they want to see?
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