Northward

I’ve never looked back once ever since I was told to go northward. I carried with me two bags, one slung over my shoulder and one on my back. When I set out to venture north I never really understood why I did so. I simply adhered to the wishes of those who governed me. The greatest sin I have learned is that one should not be disingenuous towards one’s benefactors. Such is the ilk of those who have forsaken the greater beings that rule over this land of fortune. However, now upon my journey, I begin to realize why I was sent out here, and why I so vehemently accept their words as grace.

With my bag over my shoulder I pick up all the garbage I find on my journey. I traverse against walks made from human ingenuity and walks made from human turmoil. I’ve never really understood much of the greater world that still seems to evade my very being, and yet, now upon my journey, I begin to feel tinges of sanctum in this world that I never could before. With every piece of garbage that I carry within my bag, I wonder what had transpired to have caused it to belong where it is. Not everything in this world is preordained, and I question if anything at all is ever preordained. After all, when they tell you to find the red ribbon around your neck, you begin to trace it not realizing that you are making your own threads.  However, I can never formulate any satisfying narrative for why the garbage I pick up off the path I walk had arrived there. Those thoughts seemed to cloud my mind, and every so often I would have to stop in jest of conversation.

“Oh that? That is the product of a great mind that lived once long ago,” I remember one man telling me. I asked him, “What did this great mind do?” The man laughed at me, not in spite, but pure surprise in my unknowing. That only further increased my confusion and curiosity, and so I urged him to tell me what this person had done to warrant such seeming adulation.

“This great mind has done many things. He has shaped the laws of our world, created theorems in which all living things now tread, and popularized the world’s most common path for occupancy.”

“And what might those things be? Those laws and theorems, and what common path?” The man refused to answer me then, and simply told me to move on with my way. I urged him to explain, to implore with me the knowledge that is so seemingly missing from my repertoire, but no matter how much I pleaded, he simply walked away. I scoffed at the man, cursed him, but realized that such a notion was not so unlike what I was used to. Surely then I hadn’t been acculturated to all of the world yet, surely then I was being apoplectic.

With the bag on my back I store all my basic necessities. I consume the primordial amalgamation of human instincts and the amalgamation of nature. To sustain but a single life takes great loss from the world surrounding. I only now upon my journey realize that the more one continues to live on this planet the more one takes away to keep their livelihood. With every morsel and drip which proceeds to further the continuance of my journey I wonder what travesties had occurred in the creation of these conveniences.  Every so often I would stop within a settlement and participate in commerce to obtain the necessities that fill the bag on my back. Doing so in great successions has drawn me towards an appreciation for those that have inevitably been sacrosanct to isolation to create these conveniences. However, I do not know what exactly it is that I appreciate, and every so often I would have to stop within these settlements in jest of conversation.

“You’re asking me about that? Have you no commonality in you?” I remember one man telling me. I shook my head and told him that I had only left for this world recently, and that my journey had unveiled my mind towards the happenstance of everything around me.

“Those who do not know should remain that way. There is no room to teach those who are uninterested.”

“But I am interested. I wish to explore this world going north, and at the same time also learn about this beautiful world.”

“Those are shallow words. Those who seek to know, should seek it themselves.”

“And then what is the point of teachers, of people asking questions if they are condemned?” The man never answered me, told me to be on my way, and insisted that I no longer sully his presence. I never remained in that settlement for much longer, as for the proceeding night I heard whispers in the night, words of violent nature directed towards me. Although I had been treated as so, I still hold my appreciation with great pride.

The tales of my travels can be surmised among one of two situations, either that of interesting garbage that befalls my path, or an interesting morsel that befalls my consumption. Never once had I figured my journey as pertaining ennui. I had always been filled with alacrity to go out on such a venture, such is the reason why I had even left for the north in the first place. If not for my benefactors telling me to go northward, perhaps I would have went either way.

I remember this occasion vividly, the moment that epitomized my journey. I had stumbled upon a small settlement in the forest. It was hidden in an enclave, placed such that it was away from weary eyes. The only reason why I had stumbled upon it in the manner in which I did was pure coincidence. I remember stalking about the settlement, knowing full well that this particular encampment was not welcome to strangers. If it was, it would not be so well hidden in the forest, nor would the guards be actively roaming about in the perimeter. Though the guards who did circle the area didn’t seem like they were trying to keep things out, but rather, they seemed like they wanted to keep something within. I moved about in the bushes as quietly as I could, making great effort in keeping my strides solemn. Something in me sought out to enter the settlement. Whenever given the opportunity I had always enjoyed living among others even if it was only for a brief time. Despite the apparent hostility I sensed pervading the area, I still wanted to know why that had been, I still wanted to know more. It wasn’t until one of the guards left to what I had presumed to be his break that I found a pause in the repetition. I moved out of my hiding and slipped onto one of the nearby homes. I scaled the wall until I could peek out and get a view of the settlement. It was quite barren, but I knew that the settlement bolstered life. There were many homes scattered in the area seemingly at random. Though, one home did come out as more standoffish than the rest, having a barred fence surrounding it and two guards watching the entrance. That home was by the end of the settlement, much too far from the position I was in. I continued to watch until one guard strangely came into the settlement from some place in the forest. That notion piqued my interest, and after he had left my peripheral I followed him into the direction he came from.

I didn’t know what to expect when I followed the path ahead. I didn’t know what it meant to have an establishment detached from the main settlement, but something in me told me that it was nothing good. The very notion of having to be isolated from the main settlement registered in my head as nothing but egregious behaviour. I knew that I was nearing whatever it was that I was following when I heard short shouts come from in front of me. I put in the extra effort to stay quiet as I slowly stalked up through the bushes and peered out. I had never witnessed anything like what I had saw that day. It was a tiny settlement, except I knew that it’s purpose was not to house people, but rather keep them in confinement. There were fences and guards sprawled across the entire area, and from where I peered in, the entrance, was relatively unkempt. I decided to sneak in while I had the chance, and make my way to one of the nearby homes. There didn’t seem to be any one within the settlement other than the odd guard pouring in and out. Most of the action remained at the perimeter of the settlement, where the sounds of voices and shouts filled the area. I couldn’t see much of what was going on in those areas, and so I slowly encroached forward, passing by the home and taking a small peak. It was a minimalistic home, a bed with perhaps some basic standard of living, but nothing more. It was unlike the homes I’d had visited over my journey, and it was evidently unlike the home I used to live in before my ventures. I didn’t spend much time on it, but moved on towards where a contingency of people seemed to be. I watched by the side of a home as one of the guards yelled something in the forest and began running in. I slowly followed the path, trying to mask my own footsteps with his until he stopped.

“Is this the second time this week?” The guard said to a man groveling on the dirt. He was emaciated, and his clothes were ragged. His voice was gruff, and it seemed as if even the slightest breeze would have crumbled his bones to ash.

“I don’t see why you don’t just kill me already.”

“If I did that it would be way too easy.”

“You’d rather drag this on longer?” The guard picked the man up, and dragged him along on the dirt.

“We’re not in the business of murder.”

“Might as well be. I’m already dead.” The guard dragged the man away. I looked at where the man had fallen, and the path he took. There were sticks of firewood lining the area. I counted how much the wood would have amounted to in my head, and settled on three bundles. I heard cutting from nearby, and quietly sifted in to see another man, who was relatively well fed in juncture to the previous man, and was cutting away at a tree. I then focused for a brief second, and noticed that all around me were people cutting away at trees. I hadn’t a single clue as to why such a system was made, nor why these people who seem to be the working class were isolated from the main settlement. I left that settlement aptly after the encounter, and it is only now upon my journey that I understood the concept of humanistic encasement. It is with great fervor that I even refer to those people as man.

Now upon this journey, I feel as if I am attributing my entire experience to something akin to a birthright. I know that I was well kept in my own section of the world with my benefactors keeping me hidden underneath a veil of innocence and impunity. But that truth was not something that very often presided my mind, nor did I let it permeate my mind now that I understand. Going on this journey for me was the pinnacle of adoration for my benefactors. It was to put it short the best thing they have done for me, and in no manner or notion would I ever find resentment for them pushing me to go northward. In fact, the epiphany of this entire journey, and the journey to come as I have not finished my journey, is that the world is beautiful. On my back I carry with me a bag to carry all the basic necessities. On my shoulder I carry with me a bag to hold all the garbage I come along. I’ve never looked back once as I venture out on this journey northward, nor do I have a reason to.

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