Well, I guess it’s time to cross the river. The river was wide and the current was strong and Blurtso could not tell how deep it was. I suppose it will wash me to sea, he thought, testing the water with his hoof. I suppose I will float for a while and then sink like a stone. I suppose I will become part of the river before I reach the sea.
The road was dark and the trees were tall and the wind was still. Blurtso walked quickly, keeping to the edge of the road where the grass muffled the clippety clop of his hooves. The moon in the trees threw shards of light on the ground and Blurtso could hear himself breathe. I must try to breathe more quietly, he thought, I must move swiftly without haste. At the edge of the road the branch of a tree occasionally grazed his flank. The wind began to rise and the jagged shadows moved on the ground. The wind will mask the sound of my breath, thought Blurtso, moving swiftly without haste. The sound of the wind and the shadows of the trees are good friends, he thought, good friends indeed…
I’m depressed, said Blurtso. Depressed? said Pablo. Yes, said Blurtso, I went all the way to California and I didn’t find Mister Ed. Mister Ed? said Pablo. The talking horse, said Blurtso. Oh, said Pablo, the great white whale. What? said Blurtso. The great white whale, said Pablo. The agonizing obsession, Moby Dick, the one thing you cannot have… the thing that takes over your life until all your pastimes and pleasures lose their appeal. Yes, said Blurtso, that’s it… even the last pumpkin pie I ate… well… it tasted like a head of lettuce. Yes, said Pablo, the agonizing obsession. What can I do? said Blurtso. The thing to do, said Pablo, is not to focus on the object of the obsession, but on the process. The process? said Blurtso. Yes, said Pablo. You went to California. You must have discovered some things along the way. Oh yes, said Blurtso, I saw many marvelous sights, and I met many animals and people. Well then, said Pablo, those are the fruits of your obsession. Yes, said Blurtso, it was a great trip… you know… I feel better already. So do I, said Pablo. I’m hungry, said Blurtso, let’s have a pumpkin pie!
Well then, said the psychiatrist, what seems to be the problem? I can’t find Mister Ed, said Blurtso. Mister Ed? said the psychiatrist. The talking horse, said Blurtso. I see, said the psychiatrist, and how long have you been looking for him? I went all the way to California and back, said Blurtso, and he was nowhere to be found, though I did meet Rocinazo. Rocinazo? said the psychiatrist. Yes, said Blurtso, a distant relative of Don Quijote’s horse, Rocinante. I see, said the psychiatrist, and did you meet any other horses? Well, said Blurtso, I looked for Little Joe’s horse, Cochise, on the Ponderosa, but I couldn’t find him. And I would have liked to meet Zorro’s horse, Tornado, and of course the Lone Ranger’s horse, Silver, but most of all I wanted to meet Mister Ed. I see, said the psychiatrist. I think I can make a diagnosis. Really? said Blurtso. Yes, said the psychiatrist, I’m afraid you have a serious case of “horse envy.”
Hmm, thought Blurtso, look how much the grass has grown. The place almost looks abandoned. I’ve never seen it look more beautiful.
Hmmm, thought Blurtso, look at all these things. I lived without them for months and I didn’t miss them. Let’s see who I used to be and what I used to like… yes, there’s my juicer, and my coffee mug, and my recliner, and my infrared sauna… and… my collection of “Mister Ed” DVDs… I went all the way to Hollywood and didn’t find him. A complete failure… oh well… and there’s no pie in the fridge.
As Blurtso made his way across the land, he paused to consider the travelers who had made the journey before him… the young ones in search of adventure, with optimism and innocence in their eyes; the middle-aged ones, discouraged but not defeated, far from family and in search of a job; the old ones, irretrievably detached, free from the weight of hopefulness, and blown from town to town like leaves on the wind. At night, drawn by the glow of a flame, they would gather in silence, reflecting on the trials behind and considering the trials ahead, until one, reaching into his pocket, would pull out a harmonica, wipe it on his sleeve, and softly begin to play…