Momentous decision

Published 10:19 am Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It was a turning point. My hand was forced. A decision was imminent, thrust upon me by the mighty force of time, whose relentless march waits for no man.

I waited, hoping some omnipotent delay, some force outside myself to come rushing down from the heavens and grant me refuge. But all I heard …was silence.

Let me explain.

My present predicament was one of comfort and safety. Through no effort of my own, it offered me solitude and peace. But perhaps more than anything, it granted escape.

A refuge — yes, that is what it was — a hiding place, a cleft, a castle against the storms that ravage men’s souls. This place begged my being, it enveloped my consciousness, it savored my existence, encircling me with the warmth and comfort of secure arms.

But out there — in the murky waters of the unknown — it was a different story. Out there was risk and pain and uncertainty. Like ravenous lions, it waited for me to step into its domain, that I might be devoured.

I had seen it, with my own eyes, make mockery of strong men and bring stalwart women to their knees. As a terrified spectator, I had sat in horror watching it send crying children into their mother’s arms.

It was there, waiting for me.

All was still, save for the ominous clock. Tick … tick … tick.

A slow panic crept up through my veins as I realized my predicament. No longer could I embrace the kingdom of procrastination, frolic in the land of fantasy, or revel in dreams of delight, for cold, hard reality stood at the door, waiting for me to release the latch that it might come charging through and cast himself upon my naked soul.

The time had come, could no longer be avoided. It must be done.

With herculean effort, I unclasped my hand, stiff as it was through hours of inactivity. I straightened my arm, feeling it hinge at the elbow and encircled my bony fingers around their intended target.

With one, long, sweeping motion, I cast aside my cocoon of security. As if it had been waiting for the opportunity, the cold rushed in, seeming to laugh at its capacity to stun. Swinging my long, lower appendages around, I feebly planted my feet upon a more solid foundation and pushed my torso skyward.

Finally, I was out of bed.

REX ALPHIN of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His email address is