“If I look back, I’m salt”.
I keep on repeating this statement to myself as I run on. They say anagrams are rearrangements of letters of a word to form another meaningful word. What about shuffling the sounds in a word to form another word? Something like ‘lyrics’ and ‘relics’. What do you call that?
“If I look back, I’m lost”.
That was my version of the maxim earlier. It was my way of telling myself to walk on despite my blistered feet and the dusty road that became rockier by the day. It was my way of urging myself on. I had to keep moving. I had to stay in motion…till I got to the top.
The first time I had said that statement, my side-kick had caught it, even though I had whispered it under my breath. We were in a month of examinations, a myriad of papers to write, hours to sit down behind the books, hours to pore over examination questions, shading, reasoning, thinking, eliminating some answers, choosing others. Multiple choice questions represent a formal test of decision-making; choosing the best possible option over a number of others. There’s so much choosing, educated people lack no ounce of training for making the best choices in life. It is probably not so, though, the exam of life is a stand-alone and passing the academic ones doesn’t guarantee success in life.
My side-kick had nodded when I’d said that. “So much like you to find some motivation to keep you going. That’s cool, my friend but I have a way cooler one.” In that second, he picked on my quote and made one of his own – “If I look back, I’m salt!” He grinned. I liked it. I abandoned ‘lost’ for ‘salt’. It was some sort of anagram wasn’t it? Just a ‘phonetic’ anagram but it made a lot of difference. It sharpened the reason to run on. You see, I would have rather been lost than salt. A lost man could at least be found. But if I turned to salt, who could get me back to flesh and blood? That meant that I couldn’t look back for any reason. I had to box on.
“If I look back, I’m salt.”
The past is behind. The future is ahead. I can’t move into the future with my eyes set on the past, however, be it so beautiful a past, or road ahead, unsafe. So I keep on running. I have noticed that the dust rises upwards when my feet hit the ground as I run ahead. The dust flows freely on air current and enjoys a buoyant rise. Paradoxically, I will hate to be turned to salt, but I love the dust. It rises. It rises without effort. It just rises on the wings of the wind. I wish I could do so too. So that I will not have to run to get to the summit of the mountain, rather I will just have to open my arms wide, catch the lift of the wind and float to the summit…without work.
I look down at my dusty feet as I run and remember that I am in essence dust. I was made out of dust. I laugh at myself for envying the dust because what I’m actually doing admiring the dust is envying the raw material from which I was made just because it doesn’t have to work to rise. Funny, I realize that if it rises so easily on the wings of the wind, then it doesn’t have a destination at all. Its destination is the resting place of the wind. It might not get to the summit after all. That realization is enough. Work is necessary to get to the top.
At the end of the day, I stop to rest from my run. I am sitting with my confidant on the floor of my room playing scrabble and we are recounting the stories of our day to each other. I tell her about my day. I tell her I’ll rather be lost than salt. I also tell her I’ll rather work than rise as free as the dust. I refuse to choose salt and I refuse to choose dust also.
She carefully selects letters from our finished game of scrabble, muttering excitedly under her breath and spells out SALT NOR DUST. Her eyes glow with excitement and become as round as almonds. Then she smiles a knowing smile. I watch in expectation as she rearranges those same letters into STARS UNTOLD.
At the end of the day, the conclusion is clear. “If we look back, we are salt; if we look down, we are dust” because left to be revealed is what we will soon become if we keep on keeping on – stars in the sky. And by untold, it means we will be too great to be described in words.
Author: Kwasi ’Sei, threesixtyGh Writer
S.A.L.T.S – Smiled a little then stopped.
That’s something a friend of mine taught me. She says it’s a teenage thing. I dedicate this article to her. You know yourself, right. I titled this article SALTS because that’s exactly what I did when I finished writing it.