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  • Thoughts on the Horizon
    Chris Ballard
    13 Mar 2003

    Thoughts on the horizon, swimming in an ocean of orange. Like memories cast
    forth, silhouetting the objects of present. The shadow of the Sun, flowing
    through the image of now. It finds its way to the broken surface of a black
    abyss which echoes the twinkle of the light much like tree leaves, glimmering as
    they twist to the ground. A stillness drifts over the scene.
    The slight breeze stops and the trees forget to sway. The last leaves to break
    away find their way to the earth. They finally stop to rest on a thousand
    generations of old, together coloring the forgotten forest floor like rust. The
    damp, decaying smell rises up to fill the nostrils of the sky, which holds its
    breath as somber clouds creep up, collecting for the night. Dark entities,
    standing out against the nothingness behind them. They cover the land, Gods on
    the horizon, casting shadow over a once golden field. Unseen within the field,
    a small creature scurries toward shelter--the discarded piece of some worn out
    Worn out and thrown away. Much like this land; barely surviving. Just a
    collection of secondary parts, left over from what was not pillaged. A dirt
    path that winds down to an abandoned home, not kept for years. Weeds have
    reclaimed the road and flowerless vines have overtaken the structure. Sweet
    sounds of jovial play are lost, the laughter replaced by the occasional battle
    cries of skirmishing rodents. The voice of the song bird is no longer heard,
    nor is that of the owl, both have abdicated, in favor of the silent droning of
    termites feeding on the wood of the lost trees. The few trees that do still
    stand do so in isolated pockets of nutrients, surrounded by the rubble of fallen
    empires. Even then, in their small communities, they are subject to famine,
    everyday appearing more and more like their deceased brethren.
    Yet, the Gods above them take no notice as they collect this night. They toil
    away in dreaded silence preparing their punishment, like witches mixing a potion
    in their cauldron. It is anticipated among the inhabitants of the land. Even
    though it cannot be seen or heard, it can be felt and everyone knows it is
    coming, although none know why. An eerie silence becomes the night as everyone
    waits for their conviction to begin.
    Without warning the sky exhales and the peoples' end flashes through the air,
    stretching to every visible corner of Earth. Simultaneously, like the crack of
    a bullet, a roaring explosion blasts away at the Earth, causing every being to
    tremble in fear. Then it recedes slowly, becoming an echo of an echo of an echo
    again leaving the world to its deathly silence. It wasn't until they began to
    question the effectiveness of the strike that they realized its intent. Parched
    tree trunks ignited without further coercion. The fire burned the color of sin
    and smelt of boiling flesh. The whipping of the fire blazed through every ear.
    A billowing smoke swirled into the air, hiding the escape of the storm clouds.
    Devouring everything in its path and erasing all the records of past giants the
    conflagration blitzed over the realm. Until eventually, blocked by the placid
    lake, the fire died out, exhausting the fuel of the forest. After a long,
    inperceptive stillness, the replenishing tap of rain was felt on the scorched
    Thoughts on the horizon, watching the last of the rain clouds to leave. A
    careful light peaks over the land. Memories of the past replaced by the
    promises of the future. Dreams form into possibility. A pink horizon
    illuminates a towering oak that quietly stretches its arms and one barren field
    seems to have turned, almost, back to gold.