*Note: The tales of Kaska-Ta can be described as a semi-fictional, metaphorical auto-biography. It builds off of previous “Kaska-Ta” entries and will likely resurface from time to time when I wish to present situations without specific details. (It’s my blog, deal with it.) The settings / terms / names / periods are changed but the story facts are metaphorically true. Admittedly, as time goes on, the metaphors become more and more elaborate., but if you want to know the real story behind the metaphor, send me an Email, I might be willing to explain. ____________________________________________________
“Oh… deep water… black, and cold like the night…”
From the beginning of his mad quest it had been sheer determination that brought Kaska-Ta over many trials, through the long desert, to the farm, and then onward still despite the rain. He had traveled to the badlands as the puddles grew deeper and approached the gates that most sought to avoid. Kaska-Ta knew the games of these savages and had once walked among them. But now, the gate remained closed to him despite his attempts to bargain and bribe his way in with labor and fake naïvety.
The puddles had grown into a single layer of water on the ground. First shallow with deeper areas causing him to mind where he stepped, then deeper to the point that his boots (thankfully waterproof) sloshed through the softening mud beneath several inches of standing water. Kaska-Ta was grateful the area which would eventually become a great lake beneath these rains was vast enough that it would take time to eventually swallow him, but already he felt the weight of the water and realized to most it was unthinkable to travel in these conditions.
He had only one direction left to go. Any sane man would’ve returned to the farm, but Kaska-Ta could not return because it was not where he belonged. Above all else, he sought his path… the right path in which he could grow and learn while remaining true to himself and honest with all around him. Only then could he grow past this stage in his life, only then could he find the future he continued to seek. These thoughts had driven him through the rising waters.
The days passed and the water overtook his boots, soaking his feet and making every step a labor. He had realized at some point that not only was the water becoming a greater burden, but he was also weakening. The last of his food rations had been the previous day’s only meal and his water supply wasn’t far behind (it had only lasted thus far because the desert had taught him to be frugal.)
Though he could’ve continued for some time without food, dehydration would claim him much sooner. He walked with his water skin open and facing the sky, hoping the small opening could trap some of the persistent rain. He had smiled at the irony that accompanied the idea that he might die of dehydration in the middle of a newly-forming lake. Fortunately, the fact that the sand and dust on the ground became poisonous when it dissolved in water had been common knowledge to many of the travelers in the area.
The rains became heavier and Kaska-Ta felt the pelt of large, near-solid drops through his soaked clothing. With the heavier rains the water seemed to rise exponentially faster. As Kaska-Ta dragged on, the water rose from his waist to his chest in what seemed like a matter of days. He had discarded his boots and the majority of his clothes as they had only weighed him down, but his struggle had grown from physical to mental as dehydration took hold and he found himself fighting the instinct to drink the lake water. Heavier rains he caught in his mouth might be able to prolong his life, but they could not sustain the effort it took to wade through the water as it rose from his chest to his shoulders.
“I stand with arms wide open… I’ve run a twisted line… I’m a stranger, in the eyes, of the maker…”
Finally, though his determination had been legendary in bringing him this far, it was finally exhausted, and for the first time since he embarked on his new path, driven by a dream of the future, Kaska-Ta stopped. As he lay, using the last of his effort to float on his back and keep his head above the water, the hope that had fueled him grew dim and he realized the farmer had been right. He was going to die here, in the dark water, alone and defeated by his own principles. He searched for the voice… his constant companion… and though it was there, it was silent. Perhaps because there was nothing left to say. He had been warned, he had been sure of himself, and he had felt he knew the path he must take.
But reality did not care about his faith. Reality did not cater to his prophetic dreams that had driven him to this madness, and reality was not going to give him a pass for being another foolish soul that thought the rules of the natural world did not apply to him. Reality was going to teach him a hard and final lesson, and all Kaska-Ta had the energy to do now, was lie there, and accept it.
Despite this acceptance however, he was stubborn. Kaska-Ta fought to maintain consciousness, and fought to keep his head above water as long as he could. Finally, the light of day came and went one more time, and that night the last of his will left him along with the last of his strength. There in the black water of the night, hope was extinguished and he felt his consciousness slip away entirely… and then he dreamed what might have been his final dream.
“My body is bent and broken by long and dangerous sleep… I can’t work the fields of Abraham and turn my head away… I’m not a stranger in the hands of the maker…”