The sunlight sparkled across the lake as the water tickled the sand on the shore. Trees bent in the nearly silent breeze. Stillness hovered over the lake and mingled with the forest, only interrupted by the occasional wind. The air was crisp but warm as only the sun can accomplish on a cold day. Each small wave would bring another, hesitantly beckoning the sand. The surface of the lake often appeared to be littered with a thousand pearls so luminescent it felt as if you could reach out and close your hand on a small fortune. The interplay of the sun, wind, and water created this effect, an ever-moving sea of riches. It was majestic, it was quiet, and it was serene. Local wildlife respected this serenity. Peace bled into the atmosphere and quieted birds and baying animals alike. This is where I spent my days.
The small cabin I was staying in couldn't afford me much in the way of luxuries. A simple cot, a wood burning stove, some pots and pans, a few other dishes, a table and chair and a window over the cot i slept on rounded out the amenities I lived with. I cherished it all. My walks to the lake each morning afforded me time to think.
And think I did. I contemplated philosophy and science, nature and religion, all subjects were fair game. I thought about how a single tree was but a tree, and a forest was a thousand single trees, much like an atom is but a single atom, but our bodies are millions of atoms. Did you ever notice how many parallels there are in nature that reflect our make-up? Take for instance how the wind influences the waves like our thoughts influence our emotions. Or that the forest floor, littered with sunlight and shadow, is much the same as our soul littered with light and dark. I mused on the uncanny ability of sunlight to expose the forest floor and the shadows nack of hiding it. I came to grips with myself then, feeling as though the stillness in my surroundings was reflected in my soul.
This wasn't a short process by any means and I apologize if I have made it seem as such. I spent a significant amount of time at that cabin and equally as much at that lake. The birds and the deer became my best friends. I confided in them and I imagined they did likewise. In a way, they did, offering me the privity of their daily routine. I understood If they couldn't be bothered to actually speak to me, and, if God hadn't afforded them that ability, who was I to question that?
My first book was born from those silent musings. Murmurings I called it. Half the time I wrote with the ravings of a madman, and the other other half I spoke sweetly, the gentle ramblings of an old sane man. The first line went like this, "This book is like a stream, it meanders with little obstruction and rushes when things get rocky." It made me a small fortune. Nothing extravagant, but I was comfortable.
I came back to the lake and cabin often, rekindling my relationship with nature. I was in the middle of writing my second book, in my fourth year at the lake when the world went dark. "When the world went dark" was a euphemism for the collapse of civilization. Of course, I didn't realize the world went dark because I was at the cabin, completely isolated. I wrote as if nothing had happened, because to me nothing had. Nature has a curious way of continuing despite humanity’s problems. The birds still sung, the deer drank lazily and I floated along in my dinghy, writing, writing and writing.
I've tried to piece together what happened from the little information I've picked up, but by no means do I have the whole picture. In retrospect, there were signs humanity could have payed attention to all along. There usually are.
Near the end of my fifth year, I left the cabin, manuscript in hand. I called it Seeing, He Could Not See. It was the story of Edwin Cooke, a man born blind but with memories of a previous life. He was a man with an identity crisis, struggling to be blind Edwin Cooke but remembering a vivid world. I was confident in the tale and was happily looking forward to handing it over to my publisher. It was 2016, and I had not seen a soul save my own in a long time. Do you know how quickly the world changes? I can tell you, because this is the world I came back to.