He sits on the cliff edge, his feet swaying back and forth, each heel gently bumping into the sandstone. Small clouds of dust burst from the surface with each impact, before gently dancing their way towards the ocean below.

He stares with bright eyes across the vast expanse before him. The soul of the Earth emanates from the hues of red, pink and orange that gently roll across the horizon. Streaks of cirrus sit politely between the blocks of brilliant blue, as they await for the day shift to end.

He breathes in deeply, as if to absorb the energy that these final few minutes of beauty offer to him, before expelling the air with double the force. A longing and frustrated sigh.

Every day he sits on that cliff edge and wonders what it would be like to chase the sunset. Why does he continue to accept that overcast days and the blackness of nights are how life should be? For those few minutes a day, he feels complete. He is happy.

The monotony of the norm is an awkward feeling. He is comfortable. And not the good kind. It’s the sense of comfort where you know you should be doing anything other than what you are doing. An injustice to yourself. An injustice to progress.

As each sunset came and went, he rued not having the balls to just get up and go. He was scared, naturally. If he was going to do it, he would need a plane, or a boat, or to be a strong swimmer. He would inevitably encounter some stormy weather, and was totally unprepared for it. He would need to accumulate supplies to last a lifetime. And he hated the idea of going alone.

Like every other day, as the reasons to sit tight build, his body starts to hunch, and the darkness starts to take hold. As the final flicker of colour begins to sink into the ocean’s depth, the hundreds of others who sit alongside him, clamber back up onto their feet, turn their backs to the light, and walk towards normality and routine.

With one last huff, he too rises to his feet, and makes his way back to the life he has always led. Tomorrow he will return, and watch once again as the light sits before him, ready to be claimed, before fading away. Again.

His head bowed, his hands in his pockets, and he walks. The warming glow that once hugged his face, now slips away across his back.

One last look, he thought.

As he looks back over his shoulder, one last desperate and blinding ray calls out to him from the horizon. He stops dead in his tracks. His heart beats furiously in his chest, as if to talk to him with an unfathomable passion.

Every inch of his body orders him to return home. But his heart. His heart screams out for him to go. For 10 years he has watched each sunset come and go. He has remained. For the first time in his life, as opposed to making excuses, or telling himself why he is unprepared, he asks himself a simple question: “Why not now?”.

He starts to shake, his eyes fill with tears, and he bolts towards the cliff edge. His eyes fixed firmly on the light. With each pounding stride, he shakes off the shackles of doubt.

He realises that all he needs is himself. And belief. That’s it.

Each sinew that implores him to stop, that tells him he can’t do it, that tells him it will be too hard, is crushed by the overwhelming power of his self belief. He knows it will be hard. He knows he will encounter stormy weather. He knows there will be risks.

The cliff edge arrives. He doesn’t close his eyes. He keeps them locked to the light, and his dream.

And then, he leaps.

The ground disappears from under his feet.

The warm glow returns to his face.

Now was always the right time.

Stories of my life

Things I’ve done, and things I’ve learned

    Carl Martin

    Written by

    I tell stories that move humanity forward. I’m a photographer, filmmaker, artist and activist.

    Stories of my life

    Things I’ve done, and things I’ve learned

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