Under skies more grey
than black, I walk through Ithaca
at 3 am, because I want
to. As the wind
howls, I can hear my heart
thumping and my footsteps
resonating through the steel bridge
below, its shaky, sparse construction offering me no comfort
or shelter from the cold night
. Still further below, the water
rushes through the gorge
, following roughly the same path it has for followed for millennia as it rushes downhill
Dozens of individuals, the latest making his journey about a month ago, have traversed the distance between the bridge and water with the intention of dashing their lives and heads upon the rocky earth below. What thoughts and emotions must have been coursing through those doomed souls at the time of their willful demise? What drove them, what enabled them? Was it maniacal self-loathing? The promise of release? Fear? Booze-fueled rage? Each one of these people, a product of decades of biology and environment, love and hate, wealth and poverty... Each of these complex, breathing, thinking human questions results in the same four-second answer, smashed under the shadows of an insignificant metal bridge.
Likely, they would not have been able to answer any of my inquiries. I forget that just months ago, I too walked the tightrope of suicidal fantasy, driven by a maelstrom of broken emotion and aimless hatred. The internal cyclone, at its core, offers only one justification for early exit -- the absurdity of the inverse, of going on. I was not at my breaking point when I was most depressed, but rather when I was most apathetic. The easiest way to throw away human life is to devalue it. I don't refer to demeaning the worth of a singular life, but rather the devaluing of the entire human experience. Happiness, caring, love -- these things must be rejected as delusions. Only then can an individual truly lose all hope. When a person has discarded all criteria by which to measure improvement in the quality of life, how can one ever hope to progress? And thus, over the bridge, with "this really doesn't matter" bubbling to the surface of the hateful thoughts while riding the planet's gravitation downward.
The way out? There are drugs, books, and therapies, but in the end, it will take a spiritual revelation, a tiny something to focus the long-distorted thoughts into a tight, forceful beam. A moment of clarity. This is the beginning of the journey out of the hole, away from the bridge. And the spark, the life-giving power, comes from within.
With that thought, I too walk away from this bridge, shivering in the night air. As the roars of the wind and water fade away, I hope for continued silence, and clarity.