Monday, 22 February 2016

Some Were Crossing

Some were crossing the bridge. They were scattered all over it like a scene from, I don't know, something or other. One progressing well enough at first would suddenly drop to his hands and knees and crawl back the way he came; another, a much rarer but not entirely unique instance, would stop and stare over the sides of the bridge, then rush and jump screaming into the great void below. Did any manage to successfully traverse the bridge? Lets not get ahead of ourselves - which in our rush to get on with things I see we already have.
Those crossing over or attempting to do so were outnumbered generally and greatly by onlookers stationed in a huddled mass just before the bridge's beginning - that is the side from which those crossing over commenced. No such mass or even huddle was stationed at the far side. They looked on, these onlookers, in what appeared to be an unusual state of excitement, an intermingling of fear and awe; and could it be that within each was a terrible longing to rush forward and begin to cross over also? More than likely there could, and it was from this huddled mass that those individuals who were crossing over emerged.

One might step forward, even with an air of calmness and confidence, and proceed some little way, but then at more or less the very initials of the bridge's perimeters stop almost mid-stride and then remain there, rigid, stuck. A couple of officials then step forward and matter-of-factly but not unkindly steer him slowly back to the crowd. He would come to to find himself sat on a firm but comfortable chair, holding, wherever it had come from, a hot cup of tea.
At other times you might get from the larger body three or four to spring forward together all but telepathically in one tight mass, moving like some crab or insect, straight lines all at the same hurried speed, abrupt stops and then off at a bit of an angle till the next halt and re-alignment. Such groups never progressed far however. One of the group would break apart suddenly - everything was suddenly with them - and come frantically running back - again in straight lines, adjusted where necessary - whereupon the cohesion of the remainder would instantly fall apart and all would return, now scattered, fragmented, but despite perhaps appearances, still unified in purpose - but in reverse so to speak.

One who had set off across the bridge might make good initial progress, but then momentum would slow and cease; he sits down on the bridge and remains there a great length, unmoving. He looks confused, doesn't seem to know why he is atop this bridge; perhaps no longer even realises he is atop a bridge. Such occasions generally resolved themselves with the person raising himself, turning around and finding his way slowly and perhaps even unconsciously back towards the beginning of the bridge, momentum gaining as he approaches the crowd of onlookers. Are they exercising some gravitational pull, these onlookers, their greater human mass attracting his lesser? The mood on his return is welcoming but not untouched by some awkwardness or embarrassment, though it's doubtful whether he notices this, still dazed as he seems, as if from some stunning blow.

But it would be wrong to imply this was the invariable resolution in such cases. One returning from his aborted journey could suddenly stop and seem to grow uncertain, looking about him, backwards and forwards, over the edges of the bridge as if trying to remember something, and finally begin to move off in the original direction again towards the far end of the bridge, away from the onlookers, who observed such instances with much restrained excitement. A sensitive soul might, if in their midst, have felt himself to be amongst a swarming field of attractions and repulsions, of yearning for him to keep going away, mixed even in the same individual human source with a contrary desire for him to return.
Generally though such about-turns turned out to be merely momentary respites in the journey back to and beyond the start of the bridge; the typical journey consisting of a series of such movements and counter-movements, but with each movement back roughly twice the distance as the movement away, and thus until he finds himself back with the group again.

But not necessarily always. The journey of some, for now at least, never finds a final resolution. What might have appeared to an ignorant observer to be a random succession of stops and starts, backwards and forwards, and sometimes sideways, was the playing out of a grand drama, of wakefulness and sleep, courage and cowardice, overwhelming surges of consciousness and unconsciousness, but without any final victory to either side of the bridge, not without though countless intimations of victory to either side.

But did any cross over so? Yes. One might, after an age of such movement as just described, stride forward certainly, with no more signs of tension, and cross over, perhaps turning to wave back, or was it to beckon, before disappearing from view. You might even get someone making the journey from beginning to end without stops or starts, all without trauma, but whether hypothetically or in actuality I'm not sure. Following any victorious crossing great surges would occur, the bridge thronged with optimistic souls making greater or lesser headway; it tending to take quite a length before such activity dying down and movement returning to normal.

There were some by the way who hated the bridge and those crossing or looking to cross it. They spoke in whispers amongst themselves of what might be done, and from their lips would emerge the innocent suggestion that mightn’t it be a good idea to close down the bridge, to block it off. It was dangerous. Think of those poor souls who leapt to their deaths, and yes such instances were most rare but still, such people needed to be protected.
And where were they going anyway with their bridge? Wasn’t this wish to cross over an insult to life over here? If we sealed it off then everyone could gather together and help with the ordering of this world; and there was incidentally much excellent work being done in this area already. There were great advancements being made. And so, never mind just closing off the bridge, why not blow it up altogether? What need had we of it?

No comments: