Imagine a sunset. Not the red, fiery hues we photograph, the ones that ignite and
illuminate the sky. Nor the all too real ones that we don’t notice, and seem to be just a
minute between light and darkness. Imagine a spring sunset. Where the soft tones don’t
quite reach the sky, but rather nestle among the hills in the horizon.

And as the sun dips down and about the low hills in the distance, slightly blurry by the
smoky mist in the distance, a bird calls, and you turn back. As you approach the chimney smoke drifting languidly through the still bright air, you nearly stumble across
a child playing with a ball. As he turns to run home at his mother’s call, your eyes are
caught by a bird perched on the old tree by the path, the same bird you heard moments ago.

The bird calls again, and then takes off in a flurry of bright feathers and flapping
wings, with no clock to go by but the setting of the sun. You gaze after it into the
distance, before resuming your walk home.

The cool evening air whispers through your hair, not fast enough to be a nuisance, but
not too slow to go unnoticed. You slow your pace to savour it, and the earthy smells
rising from the damp earth. Spying a patch of wild flowers, you bend over on impulse and
pluck a few of the snow-white lilies, letting their fragrance waft through the air. The
evening clamour of children running, mothers cooking and men returning from the fields is
beginning to die down, and you hurry your pace just the slightest to get home before
dark.

As you approach home, the fires and lamps in the neighbours’ houses are visible through
their windows; the families are gathered around the tables, eating and chatting. You push
open your own door and call out…

And now, imagine you will never experience nor even see that idyll. The reasons are
uncounted, but they include climate change, globalisation and industrialisation. All of
which have contributed to the growing sense of dissatisfaction we urbanites are subject to
daily. Seeking more, even more, and so much more from all the things we do, we seek to
accomplish things, to chase down that one more qualification, to get that one more job
done, to look that little bit better than someone else, I fear we’ve neglected our souls.
We won’t have the chance to stop and smell those lilies, to go home and have dinner,
because we’re too obsessed with our image.

They say that when we’re with people, we put on masks. We put on our masks to hide our
weaknesses, to gain that upper hand. When we accomplish something, it’s credited to the
mask. Our masks are our power, and as we build them up we sacrifice something inside of
us, we let it devour us a little bit. With out loved ones, with the ones we trust, with
ourselves only, do we dare remove the mask. But more and more, we leave the mask on, until
we become the mask, we give ourselves up and our very existence of being becomes the mask.
Even when we take it off, we remember the desires, and they linger in our minds, they
surface in our hungers. Will anyone tear off their mask and hurl it away? For to do
anything less means nothing at all.

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