“The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of the imagination all compact.”

William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The artist decides to discharge this glorious fall afternoon on an expedition to the park, the city’s last great expanse of natural setting, where one can find the most obscene collision of humanity and the nature that surrounds it. The unending torrent of life making use of the recreative and rejuvenating effects of the park provides the artist with a tantalizing slice of human experience that he hopes to offer in sacrifice to his artistic soul, so that it may create a more definite picture of the world around him and bring the artist one creation closer to poetic nirvana. Implemented with the careless apparel that he sees as befitting to his stature in society, several mismatched and misguided articles of clothing brought together merely to provide distraction from the gradual onslaught of winter and to proclaim loudly to those who wish to listen to his deep distaste for the trappings of fashion, he sets forth to do battle with the few weapons made available to him: a pen, a notebook, and the intuitive faculty.

Departing his modest living arrangements nestled in the dim reaches of a humble apartment building, he traverses the gray neighborhoods in the cavernous recesses of the festering metropolis, seeking a clearer window to a higher consciousness in the sullied streets that weave through the city, which itself is gushing with inspiration much the way the blood now gushes through the artist’s veins. Blessed not, as many artists are, with the command of one method of artistic madness, this artist is sanctified with many weapons of imaginative might through which he may direct the onslaught of stimulation around him into a veritable river of artistic creation. He feels constrained not to lines of the page or the strings of a guitar, but rather is able to bless any instrument of creativity and mold it into a faucet for his soul.

Always slightly nauseated by his faceless suburban childhood, growing up in a faceless town inhabited by faceless people, where he attended a faceless school and was taught by faceless teachers, he yearned from the moment his eyes beheld the wider world to break free from this suffocating existence and find solace in the comforting arms of his creations. As soon as he felt the iron chains slacken on his imprisoned existence, he bolted away from what he saw as the dark corner of humanity where happiness knew no place. However, an ineffable discrepancy in this outlook never ceased to gnaw at his insides, a dilemma that haunted his younger years like the dark shadow of the angel of death marking his prey for lifelong torture before it would finally swoop down to claim its prize. Perhaps it was only a delusion of his overactive imagination, trained from its inception to look beneath the surface to find the deeper meaning in life, but he spent many nights droning out the sobs of the sleeping city with sobs of his own, sobs that spoke of his longing for the simpler days of his youth, no matter how faceless they had been. Had he, in his desperate and frantic attempt to grow up, instead become more childish in the process, ignoring the kindhearted efforts of those who raised him and erecting his own hateful temple to suffering?

Thankfully for the artist, life in the city brought upon him maturity in the space of several years that he thought would have taken decades to achieve. He now foregoes his longing for the past and replaces it with a equal respect for the past, present, and future, a way of standing still in the midst of a great torment brought forth from a rent in the very fabric of the universe, a peace he encountered in the wisdom buried in the back corners of some cosmic library. When his worn-out soles find themselves on the familiar turf of the village green, he sees no finer way to pass the afternoon than to stake out his plot on an empty bench, where he will most placidly observe the world as it spins around him. The breeze picks up the blanket of leaves from the ground, sending them rolling recklessly through the air, like the galleys of old finding their way on the tempestuous seas. Just as suddenly as they were swept away, the wind relaxes its hold and the leaves float back to the earth. Everything is at peace. The artist, always the casual observer, closes his eyes and drifts away.