Sat up in the tree, lightheaded above the allotments, Blake felt that he had at last been relieved of a heavy burden. The bark was rough, brown. Here were smells a man could rely on: split logs, mulch, boot polish. He couldn’t remember when he had last climbed anything, let alone a tree. And now he was sat there, perched on a broad beam, all his thirty years of age, legs dangling.
His thoughts tumbled out. For every chancer being successful, there were a thousand others doing what it took just to hold the days together. It was a simple exercise in time management, perhaps. To work on through exhaustion, with no care for desires, for triviality, was what the giddying planet demanded. But there was no perfect existence. There was just a better way of describing the life you had, of repackaging it to be presentable to the tastemakers.
Pleasing the wolf, Blake called it. Yet wasn’t it a natural tendency of people to reach out for a golden version of themselves, even if it were unattainable? In this overconfident era he had become his own misfiring self-help guide; cause and alleviator of all his troubles. It went on, like spindrift. Could there come a day when he would have the optimum balance of experience, and courage enough to face the morning with a wink, yet youth enough still to go where the heart led? What had become of his past selves? Did they still exist in other dimensions? Was it possible to pick up the thread again? To try again?
And so, for a while longer, Blake sat. To the casual observer, it would appear madness, to be there, up in the tree. But for an hour, it made it easier to believe that the world was not out to get you, that there was no grand plan, no confusion, no injustice, and that all that really happened on the ride was what the brain imagined for itself.