Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
I won’t state with authority that what I get every winter is “seasonal affective disorder,” since nobody with any license to make that call has had the chance to examine me. But I can tell you what these moments in January almost always feel like.
I wake up in a clear, wide field in pale sunlight. There’s a disturbed patch of earth next to me, about six feet long, with a small mound of dirt atop it. It’s the size of a hastily dug grave, and about the moment I make that connection I hear faint, desperate cries for help coming from under the soil, and impossibly I realize that the voice making those sounds is my own. I’m standing next to my own grave and I’ve been interred inside it still alive. I fall to my knees and begin tossing aside hunks of earth with my bare hands.
After several moments of digging I uncover a trowel. I grab the trowel and accelerate the pace of my digging. I’m in a hole about two feet deep now. The cries for help sound both closer and fainter at once.
After several more moments of digging I find a steel shovel. I toss the trowel above me and begin using the shovel to dig, faster still, until the required muscles are sore and screaming. The voice has been replaced by a simple, steady knocking, as if on the lid of the box, as if to let me know that I’m still alive down there but I need to conserve my breath and energy.
After several shovels full tossed, somehow, over the top of the hole a seeming 100 feet above me, I hit metal. I brush the dirt off the metal and see that it’s a bright orange-yellow. It’s a steam shovel. I’ve unearthed a steam shovel down here. I dig out the steam shovel. I dig a massive cavern in the middle of the Earth in order to provide the room required to operate a steam shovel, and then I put the shovel down and start using the steam shovel to dig deeper still. I can no longer hear any sound from below the dirt but that could just be because of the roar and echoes of the steam shovel. I pull massive scoops of dirt up and place it to the side. I do this for hours. Above me, the morning sun that had been streaming into the hole has faded into twilight.
Finally, an uncounted number of scoops of dirt later, I see a wooden crate come up, well-crafted and unvarnished. I dump the crate out onto the pile of dirt next to the steam shovel, then turn off the machinery, grab the discarded shovel and begin prying off the lid, telling myself, the me inside of the crate, that I’m here now, that I’ve made it, please be alive in there.
The lid comes off the crate. The crate is empty.
From up above me, I hear a distant rumble, and a large pile of dirt tumbles down the hole I’ve made to get here. Another pile of dirt. Another. Somebody on the surface is attempting to bury me alive. I call up in angry protest but my cries are ignored. With no other options available to me, I lie down in the wooden crate and pull the lid closed over me.
And I wait.