Once, I lived for the seeking of that which is beautiful; even the smallest points of light in the darkest forgotten corners would call to me, their tremulous flickering warming my soul as they passed through the cold dismal winters of my life as I knew it. I glanced behind at my footprints in black sand and saw the gentle glow of a trail of perfect moments stretching out into the distance, interspersed with nothing. That was my life - after being distilled and purified and reduced to something that I could hold in the palm of my hand, as I was only able to perceive it then.

In my seeking I dreamt of that which is not real; horizons which cannot exist except in thought lay one on top the other, and for a moment in flight I stared into that infinity and was free to ride the winds that did not carry any hate, or pain, or fear. Niether did they carry love or joy, but just for that moment, it did not matter.

For on that farthest shore of thought that rises out of dream-stuff, the beautiful and the horrific were as one, and the incredible and the mundane collapsed inward together; gone was any need to feel, and there I could simply be...

But that never lasts forever.

Everything eventually fell apart; one after another the glass dragons of my dreams fell to the ground, shattering into a jagged pile of reality until nothing was left, not even the need to care. And what was a dream to me then, anyway? A phantom vision, a voice crying out that would never be heard again.

It's a defense mechanism; remove the things that can be broken and you cannot be touched. Or don't bother rebuilding them the next time they break. It has nothing to do with Zen or peace, it leaves a big gaping empty space, but sometimes sacrificing most of one's capacity for pleasure will take most of one's capacity for pain along with it. Sometimes. And only for a little while. The human need for connection is obdurate. The ability of the psyche to right itself is slowly, gently relentless. We take the first steps back into functionality, and then into vibrant delight, protecting ourselves not with emotional excision but with the sheer breadth of experience.

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