Verdant walls, creeping and intertwining between the sharp spikes of the rose bushes that rise side by side in a martial system that only the quintessential purest of organisms could comprehend. Roses lug droplets of rain weighing heavy on their petals with every dense passing cloud.
Their velvet petals glinting in distinction with the sharp devils green of holy bush leaves, a perfect depiction of the signs of Christmas. Standing with two feet buried into the damp muddy ground is a well-dressed half man half-beast, robed in an ankle length coat ready to greet passersby and deter them from a life of unexplained certainties and concealed truths, only humans would have the choice but animals were always left to wander freely, in the three hundred and sixty five maze.
“Come forth, if you dare, step into the maze of life where only your sins will grant you access to the succeeding passageway that expects you. Your choices need be uninhibited and the consequences will be predestined. I am the gatekeeper, the one who governs your reprimands. Come forth, if you dare.” Chanted the man/beast.
If only he was there to grant me with such words as I was born, if only his ferociousness could validate me when I needed to hear them spoken before I took my first steps, if only I had the choice. Who decides who we become, a series of moments, memories or a never-ending sequence of traumas?
My memories lay deep in my mind, and the decisions throughout those memories have determined my dreams. My dreams have sometimes become a reality, and every year at a specific time of the year I attempt to build a dream to live and a memory to remember for the consecutive year to come.
This year has been a whirlwind, a lot of decisions have been made, I am not religious but there is certainly a mighty somewhere pushing me towards something. The Labyrinth keeper it may be, but he only appears when I want him to, when I am trialed. He leads me onto the rollercoaster that signifies the most challenging situations I am faced with. He throws me up into the air violently, only to catch me ever so softly and gently, the thrill of the thrust becoming ever more addictive the graver the drop.
The humans I share my life with play an integral part in diverting my path in his maze, but sometimes angels take their place in becoming my obstacle and confidant. They occasionally hold my hand and walk with me until the next obstruction in the shrubs; we keep each other company although they seldom speak. The thought comes to mind, are they silent because they are discontent? Are they secretly judging my decisions through the maze, or are they so moved by the integrity of my choices that they are mesmerized in silence? Only the human ego would make such a self-assured evaluation.
When the time of the year for creating my dreams is concluded, the feeling of sadness dawns. The aching of my heart as I say goodbye to loved ones, the aching I feel when I know some weren’t there to play a part in those memories. Like a swift moment that passes, the fire that burns is slowly burnt out; all that remains is a splint of ashes that lie dead in a delicate pile easily blown away by the breath of an angel.
I then ask myself, after all, is it not all that we take with us?
Our memories, our moments, delights and melancholy’s, all the suffering we spend painstakingly constructing our favorite moments at Christmas only to have them sharply stored into our memories like they only happened as a dream? Is that what makes it so special?
The fact that the keeper leads us into a long winding confusion of ideas and hurdles throughout the year, he persuades us into these ridiculously long journeys only to emerge with a few moments of recollection.
As I finally found my meandering way out of the labyrinth, that was the symbol of the many days passed. I saw no one, but at my rear, the Labyrinth keeper inaudibly appeared; I jolted slightly trying to pretend he hadn’t startled me.
What he was about to do would send shivers down my spine. He slowly peeled away his Minotaur mask from his head, the only visual evidence that identified him as a beast to me, behind it revealed a very human face, a man, and in a soft voice he chanted the words.
‘Yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is todays dream’.
I held his stare for a moment and as I looked over my shoulder, still as a statue; he said nothing more so I carried on my way.
In recollection, thinking back to that moment the aspiration came to me that this year, like at the start of every 365 day cycle, the journey could be just as uneven and indirect but I would wish the memory become ever stronger, and last longer than the most infinite moment I’ve ever lived. In inspiring this feeling I later discovered that the words the gatekeeper uttered as I left were in fact those of Gibran Khalil Gibran who had chosen to disguise himself as a character of wisdom and ferocity in my mind’s eye…maybe that was who he really sought to be.
In choosing to live through his adventures, I call on the brave individuals who will stand in my way and the angels who will walk with me unto the next bristle alleyway over the next year. When I will keenly hope to astonish them with my choice of path.
May the souls, who we all walk side by side with, appreciate and never wake up, from a dream, but live the ultimate memory of a good life, a good Christmas, and a very prosperous year to come.