|ISO 100 | 50mm | f 8.0 | 1/200 sec|
Surrounded on all sides by walls and thick darkness, I lay huddled in a corner, almost scared to move or breath. The silence was endless, not even the faintest scuffling of feet or muffled cry to be heard. Blackness enveloped me like a cloak, and I felt strangely comforted and secure, although my heart was filled with fear and uncertainty. But it wasn’t the impenetrable darkness, or the resounding stillness, or the intensely claustrophobic nature of the walls that encased me on all sides that instilled in me a sense of dread. Rather it was what lay outside my confinement that gave me cause to tremble.
It was not so much who, or what exactly, for of those things I was uncertain. Really it was the simple thought of the unknown that kept me huddled in my small dark corner, paralyzed with fear and trepidation. Truth be told, I’d known for years that escape from my confinement was as simple as lifting the lid above my head and walking out into the sunshine and fresh air. But therein lay the trouble. What if what lay beyond this warm, solid, secure box of mine was nothing but coldness, bitterness, desolation, and death? How could I be certain that I wasn’t opening myself up to wretched disappointment on the other side of these walls? Why risk leaving the cramped darkness I knew for a possibly colder hopelessness I could not predict?
For years I’d agonized over this question, struggled with this uncertainty that held me captive in my comfortable confinement. Unable to assure myself of the uncertain joys and pleasures that awaited me outside, I remained steadfast in my place, desperately trying to hold on to what little I had, paralyzed by a fear of the unknown. Until today.
Fed up by my complacency, and driven slightly by a root of discontentment with current circumstances, I finally mustered up the courage to lift the lid of my prison. Hesitantly I opened my eyes and gazed around, ready at any moment to drop the lid and rush back to my hiding spot. But as I peered out at my surroundings, I was overcome with the realization that I’d been missing out on what life was all about. Before me lay an entirely new world full of color, light, sounds, smells, and textures; a world brimming with life, adventure, and opportunities. I could hardly believe my eyes.
As I clambered out of my box and set foot on fresh, soft earth, a sense of joy and remorse washed over me. So many years I spent living in fear of the unknown, so much time wasted in the dark; and yet, considering what lay in front of me, I was glad for the time still in my possession. Bidding adieu to my box, I headed off to seek new sights, new sounds, new adventures; to discover what I had been born to discover all along. Gone were the comforts of a cramped, solitary life, but in their place was the bright promise of a new life spent exploring a bright and glorious new world. What a trade-off. I wish I’d done it sooner.