All those things that once seemed so vital, so important, once she got close to them, near to them, she found them all to be not what she was looking for. All those things that other people seemed to think really mattered seemed to her, when she got close enough to see them, worth less and less the closer she got to them.
She had turned her back on religion while still only a child, finding nothing there but absurdity, self-contradiction hypocrisy and empty posturing. She smiled when she remembered her young reasoning that if such an unlikely creature as a god did exist, then she could see why it managed to hide itself so well from everyone’s view. For, she’d thought, it must be so embarrassed by those professing to follow it, and more than a little pissed off at the things they thought, said and did purportedly in their god’s name.
Politics too seemed to her to be another empty vessel for people to fill with their own instinctive prejudices – often against something in themselves they feared – with some sort of – again – spurious legitimacy. In fact, the more she thought of it the more she realised that politics and religion were much the same as each other, both trying to bend reality to fit them, rather than adapting to the real.
Art too, these days seemed to have turned against itself – to have some fear and loathing of itself. Once, in more idealistic days it had chased beauty through music, through painting and sculpture, the written word and all other manifestations of the urge to create something, to give shape to the pliable air that would last more than an instant. Now, though, it seemed to revel in ugliness and the tawdry. There may, she though, be beauty in ugliness, but so many self-proclaimed artists these days seemed to want to wallow in the ugliest part of the ugliness.
It was if – she often found herself thinking as she sat on that old bridge across the stream, as if humanity had turned in on itself, turned away from the world and could only see itself though some distorting mirror that took what could be and turned it all ugly.