You ask if I need a ride
The force of my eye roll
launches the short laugh
out of my mouth.
Travelers abhor the snow, the wind shaking the arbor, raising the waves and preventing safe harbor. Migrants detest the pelting rain, the helter-skelter, a slight chill coy behind a mirage of permafrost.
I am no traveler.
I am not a forager, moving optimally through a matrix from patch to patch, goal to goal, soullessly, putting life on pause; I experience without bias. I live through the matrix.
I am alive.
Some say harsh climates breed strong character. I say harsh climates are cruel, berating and abusing the skin, the mind, and in that way bringing beauty.
I do not need a ride.
I need to be reminded. My cells divide, my body digests, my muscles move and flex, but I forget. Humanity is alone in this struggle: we believe, despite overwhelming contrarian evidence, that our lives lose meaning. We believe, when the dark fuzziness clouds our brains, floaters in our mind’s eye, that we are not alive. A life with no meaning is not truly a life, you see.
I fall prey to this hulking predator, and so, in a service to myself, I seek out constant reminders.
Biting snow nips nerve endings, electric forces dance down axons, sensation floods me, I wince, and I am reminded.
Overbearing heat underwhelms me; sweating provides no challenge at all. Moist and glistening, panting slightly, I glide through the matrix and I am reminded.
Leap over puddles, or trudge through them, soakers provide discomfort. Creeping water droplets take hold, wrinkling toes and producing soft groans. I may be annoyed, but I am reminded.
Elevators, escalators, fancy airport moving sidewalks carry us into ennui. I eschew them, preferring the strain of long strides, the slight twinge as sore soles pound the pavement. I lose some breath, but I am reminded.
The matrix reminds me.
You ask if I need a ride. A nebula spins through my head, ejecting explanations into my consciousness, like all others, a microcosm of universal scale; I choose my own adventure.
The matrix reminds me. I do not need a ride. I am alive. I am no traveler.
Darren Incorvaia is a behavioral ecologist, PhD student, educator, and writer currently based in Michigan. He enjoys the outdoors and hates haircuts.