The Elements

Isn’t it odd how the elements of nature so accurately depict the many facets of our soul, however complex we claim it to be?Or is it that we see what we look for, for meaning in the outside world, when none are forthcoming from inside?

Take for example the wind- a calm breeze against your cheek, enough to soothe your troubled mind, to make you believe that you aren’t alone, to caress your skin, to stroke your hair, an imperceptible touch, barely there and yet makes all the difference. It brings with it a waft of fragrances, the smell of lavender and honeysuckle and reminds you of home and of love. Or the first gust of early winter, slyly stealing away the warmth, so slowly that you almost fail to realise it till you feel the biting cold, the frost beginning to settle on your skin, cold seeping into your bones, into the crevices of your heart.And then there is the tempest, beautiful, dangerous, passionate… It uproots everything, nothing stands in its way, its sheer force making your mind, body and soul quake like a leaf deperately clinging unto a twig for dear life.

” If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;  “

To be free, unshackled, to fly- the sheer exhilaration of stepping off a cliff, to feel nothing but the wind beneath you, that rush of the fall and the hope that it would take you someplace safe…

Or water for that matter-the serene pond, where even ripples die away into nothingness, nothing to disturb its tranquility,to be carried in its arms, a lone leaf, aimless, content… Or the waterfall,cascading through rocks, forging paths were none had existed before, smashing away any obstacle that dares stand in its way,itself splitting into beads of water, luxuriating in their freedom, to know that it encompasses a multitude of drops, each capable of eroding away even centuries old rock, slowly but surely; the calm of the ocean,its surface belaying the depths it conceals, of mysteries and hidden worlds, of sunken treasure, secrets untold , secrets older than time itself.To be able to swim in its depths, to discover a new world, dark, strange and yet alluring, to be able to touch something so ancient, to know that even if you cease to exist, even if everything you know ceases to exist, it will endure and you a mere speck that disappears in a blink of its eyes. Would it cradle you in its arms, protect you from the world as you lie on its bed or would it carry you , insignificant mortal, only to hurl you at the rocks, angered by your audacity to seek acceptance in its arms, to fling you aside like a broken toy.

Fire- possibly the most enthralling of them all. You find yourself craving its warmth, bewitched by the hypnotic dance of its flames, a myraid of hues- yellow,orange red sometimes even blue- licking away at the log of wood.The flicker of a candle or the beauty of wildfire- equally entrancing, beckoning you with sweet lies, whispering as its flames caress your skin, promises of warmth, of pain so sweet it pleasure and then when it turns white hot the promise of feeling nothing at all. The unspoken promise of purity- mind, body and soul, if only you were to give in…You know it will eventually consume you, all that is left would be dying embers , ash and smoke and yet its seductive murmurs plant seeds of doubt in the far corner of your mind… Wound surrender be truly so horrid?

Then there is the earth- she is called Mother Gaia for a reason. She exudes warmth, forgiveness, offers acceptance. She is the start of life, she watches you blossom , she sees you sin and yet embraces you with open arms when the weight of the world is too much to bear. No judgement, no expectations- just respite, refuge and absolution.To be able to sink into her arms, the feel of soil against bare skin, that indescribable smell of raindrops in the soil, to know peace, that would be bliss. After all, it is as they say, “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust”

Which brings us to the most mysterious of them all- aether. Mind? Spirit? Essence?Its said to be ephemeral,encompassing, the breath of Gods.Mystical, it is said to unite the other elements. What could be so powerful, so omniscient that it rules over the others – more capricious than wind, more serene and reticent than water, more seductive and wilder than fire and more benevolent than earth? Some think its the soul – the life force that keeps us going- but how could something so frail, so fragile possibly defend itself? A gust of wind would extinguish it, a mere handful of water drown it, a spark of fire enough to reduce it to smithereens and a smattering of earth enough to bury it. I can not claim to understand it, my questions have no answers, in fact , they only lead me down stranger paths which abound with further questions. Mayhap, one day I shall discover its secret and mayhap one day I might know peace.

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