I need to go. There is something the place will tell me, something my soul desperately needs to hear.
There, windmills turn mindlessly. Like sentinels, they watch over masses paying homage at their base: fields rippling, yielding to frigid wind. The stalks blur into an aggregate of stark, browned-out hills.
The windmills guard comings and goings, my own path. Voices, snatches of words, carry for miles. They hear it all.
One is tempted to think this is all there is: just the barrenness of the Eastern plains, put to bed for the winter.
But just round a bend, grass concedes to a hidden valley, clenching its hidden treasures. Eagerly, my pace quickens; I am hungry for something beautiful.
Just as persistently, cacophony trails after me, chirping, whining, complaining, dive-bombing my ears, tattering my heart. Anxiously, it begs me to focus on it, to share its misery. It tosses out chatter, like a lasso relentlessly wrapping those who hear. Its nightmare: if for even a moment the tether slips, it will fly away like a kite unfettered. As if fear could ever hold a soul intact in this vastness. And so I let it flow over me, around me, out into those fields to the windmills, ever listening.
Deliberately, I narrow my sensory experience: brilliant blue, red, yellow. Wonder still simmers, obscured in rocky crevices. Beauty whispers: I am still here for you to find.
Like two-year-old children, dissonance and harmony play all around me without ever actually interacting. They physically share the same space, as do the vast open fields and this sudden rocky valley; but they occupy parallel realities.
I choose tranquility. It’s not that I don’t hear the discord, I simply refuse to share its toys.
When I was younger, I believed when joy and grief tangled, they cancelled one another. This place asks: can they co-exist?
I press in deeper, shattering into the colors.
After awhile, I spin out like a tumbleweed, just passing through. Barren fields and vivid rocks fold into the message I need to hear.
Still those windmills turn: endlessly spinning through snow and sun; perennially observing those who pass by; simply turning round and round, in their seeming monotony, clutching secrets close to their chests.
As I leave, I notice a blade of grass, playing tag with the setting sun.