The Ephemeral Utopia
One must always think that peace must happen after war. One does not simply want it to happen, one longs for it. During a war, the soldiers and civilians are struck by fear, day and night, until their wishes are granted and peace submerges. They hope to see their family members once more before the cold hand of Death grasps their souls, and before the Devil himself accompanies them to the dark abyss that is hell. However, at a time when war seems like an imminent and unfortunate reality, the only thing that people can hope for is peace before the war. Before the thunderous roar of chaos and havoc, and the apocalyptic devastation; complete and utter peace must reign. Even if it is only temporary or seems insignificant, it is the most important occurrence before war. And so it was such, in this small, angelic port where things seemed so placid and calm. Everyone just seemed to be in a daze, with no worries or fears. That is what made it sublime.
I gazed at the harbour and beyond. The birds chirped and enjoyed this rare and wonderful tranquillity. The waves moved so gently and so welcomingly, appearing ethereal in every aspect. They seemed to greet you, and they comforted you with sweet delight. The sea did not seem like a threat, it did not creep towards me nor did it want anything. It was just there, blending into the serenity like a flower blends into a field. I breathed calmly and lifted my head to look at the sky where the numerous clouds melded and collided, forming new soft shapes. They appeared to be an arm’s length away, and seemed to wrap the watcher with eternal pleasure.
The church bell struck as normal, marking a new hour and calling out to the people to relish this beautiful neutrality. The bell chimed, casting a sleep spell across the land, subduing the residents in a merry melancholy. Its sound was ravishing, sweeping you of your feet, and guiding you to your wildest dreams, yet you also stayed frozen in time itself. The stone walls of the church somehow shined and stood out, marking its dominance and bringing an overwhelmingly confident aura. And yet, despite its omnipresent power and raw strength, it was a sanctuary and therefore a true place of unity and safe freedom. It was the gateway to heaven, but strangely enough at this specific moment, it seemed as if we were already inside the impregnable fortress of God.
I heard, I saw and I tasted the freedom. I had no need for speech, as my silence spoke for me. And most importantly, I felt it. I felt the peace expanding and warmly wrapping everyone in its soft blanket of affection.
Everything was in place and in perfect harmony, and this moment should have been frozen in time. It was a humble paradise, where no-one could complain for nothing more was needed, and nothing less would do. I was immobile, unable to do anything but sit in pure awe of this mere and yet mighty simplicity. I was not alone, for the whole of this blissful land was frozen for a single moment in time; pure silence, and pure joy for but a single second.
And then it came, the fiery and deafening blast of cannons. They burnt with anger and broke the silence, marking a tragic moment in history. The despicable scream of the war boats bounded through this once peaceful realm, and awoke the hatred and destruction of the world. They unleashed a vile, dark smoke into the air, which suffocated the nature around it. The boats bellowed and howled with deep, harsh noises, making everyone shiver with fright. No-one was talking or even smiling any more. That wonderful peace that we briefly had was over; forever over.
The chirping of the birds faded and diminished. The peaceful faces of the people turned woeful, filled with sorrow. The sea began to rage and churn with utter frustration, smashing and shouting with deathly pain. The persisting tone of the church continued, but its once holy ringing turned into a blunt sepulchral call. It seemed that the world was changing, and annihilating anything that stood in its way. The peace was broken, and the cry of war rung out, summoning life to be sacrificed. Those first cannon shots would echo forever in the hearts and souls of these peaceful people. The huge steel warships set sail, holding thousands of fear-gripped men, who would most likely not even see this port ever again. They set sail, disappearing into the dark mist of war, and all the birds and halcyon creatures left with them, but in opposite directions. I could no longer see the houses and the buildings on the other side of the waterfront. I could simply see pieces of burning wood and crumpled ashes. This once peaceful harbour was no more; it was simply an abandoned memory filled with deploring woe and cursed emotions. Unity was no longer there. Peace had faded away. Love had disappeared from both heart and soul.