He followed his finger on the map until the line that was keyed a river met it’s maker; an apparent lake. It not being a very detailed map, the phrase adopted a haunting juxtaposition which alluded to his own ambiguity. In any case, he knew it was where he should go. The lake was roughly fifteen miles from the river that lay at least a mile ahead and was only recognizable as such by it’s surrounding foliage. He folded the visitor’s guide into a small rectangle and secured it under his Velcro’d chest pocket. Down the slope he slid, uncontrolled but direct ,with an occasional boulder that only heightened his enthusiasm. With this reference point, his salvation needn’t be reserved for Him. The rekindled optimism far exceeded prior moments he once considered unique or meaningful. It was an instance in which the primacy of biological function ruled. The extremities and eyes clumsily co-operated, yearning to moisten the now mummified throat. As the sun sat, crimson streaks of clouds aligned his path. One that he would have thought ordained if it’s end point hadn’t the promise of much needed sustenance. The land, heavens, and people lost inside or out held only practical connection. Ends and means. As he drew closer, though, his heart sank further into his now corseted abdomen. A closer look revealed not an oasis, but a graveyard. Thirty foot trees loomed with their charred and grey fingers stretched in every direction. Below, unwelcoming brambles competed for nothing as their condition was no better than the trees’. Using his scathed hands he ripped his way through, discovering not a river, stream or creek. Rather, he stood above a churned road of muck that exhibited the traces of like searches. Weakened, he collapsed, knees first, into the mud and mindlessly began to dig. On all fours, he became immersed in the thick black substance. It engulfed him and he accepted its embrace. As far as he was then concerned, it would have made a suitable place to decompose. Sinking lugubriously his body suddenly met their mutual composer, the cold liquid of life. Once again rattled by necessity, he reformed his posture. Taken aback, he looked down to see water seeping up through his own outline. Under the barley moon, light began to reflect on his now producing well.