Agency is such a dubious concept.

You have to climb these stairs knowing that you cannot turn around, knowing that once you start the only way back down is from the top. The passage here is cramped and steep and doubles back with what seems unreasonable frequency, constantly showing just how little progress you’ve made. Hard as you try not to count every step, fatigue slides up your legs and back and tallies every inch you’ve covered, weighing all the pain behind you against that which lies ahead. The only thing that keeps you going is the lack of choice, the fact that if you stop you’ll have nowhere else to go, nothing else to do but idle in the darkness with the slowly building dust. Curious, the sense of nihilistic motivation that will push you through and past the desire to give up. Knowing that you can’t back up supplies the only impetus to keep going forward when going forward shows no discernible profit. What does that say about control, about prerogative, that all there is to choose between is the pain of laboring on and the pain of paralysis if you quit?

But then there’s a rift in the darkness, a parting of the veil that seemed impenetrable just an instant before. Just a turn in the stairway that twists malevolently behind and underneeth me. And for a moment it’s as clear as day. Why I waded through it all, why I journeyed each beleaguered step to reach this summit and then sink back down into the black. That pause between a breath when oxygen sates every famished muscle, when I realize that only through such suffering can pleasure this gratifying be experienced. And that single grain of sand is worth the whole frigid and endless coast I have to walk to find it. Then I see there really was no choice at all, for something as gorgeous is that grain of sand simply must be seen.

#london #england

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