Did you ever hold your breath until you almost passed out? Or maybe get so dizzy that you fell over and lost track of who you were? That’s what it feels like when you first head to Atoms’ Place and end up here. Atoms’ Place is not any where nearby and the address is very difficult to translate. We know of some who spent their entire lives trying to get there. It would be a pity except we don’t know why anyone would want to go there. We don’t know anyone who has been there just folks on the way. Sounds a lot like dying. Everyone goes there but no one comes back. I wonder if death is anything like AToms’ Place?
So where are you if you are here? See that road out there? It’s the Light Way. Most travelers arrive here at that exit up the road. They then have to backtrack to get here. The sign over there reads “last chance for anything, this exit”. So, we named our place the Last Chance Hotel. Not real imaginative but very practical and considering pragmatics, apropos. Last Chance for what we may never know. There wasn’t a reason in existence for anyone to come here. Any visitors must be on their way to somewhere they can’t find and ended up here along the way. The hotel is usually empty but occasionally we do get one or two looking for a room. Most go on to somewhere but a few stay here until they die. You can see the cemetery if you look out back. This place is very unique, you can see yourself coming and going if you look. It also boasts the largest collection of unique and one-of-a-kind objects. It’s a hobby of sorts. We love collecting the unusual and anomalous. Through out the hotel you will find mementos and artifacts left behind by travelers.
The Light Way was an accident produced by the edge of consciousness penetrating the nothing. Despite efforts, the edge seemed to reach this limit and began to glow. Nothing we can do about it. Like moths, so many travel the Light Way, round and round, perhaps they cause the light. The Light Way produced another interesting effect. It created infinity. Seems that no matter where you are you can get no farther then back again. It was infinity all in a spot. Perhaps that is why the sign said Last Chance, it would be an eternity before you came around again.
There was another interesting phenomena that we observed. It was a form of possession I suppose. The ritual involved a technique called the FIX, developed some years ago by a secret sect. Although the sect seems to have vanished, there were a few who remembered the ritual and taught others. It doesn’t always work as expected. A lot of folks just loose their minds. When it does work, you can see the transformation. Around here we use it to see across the Light Way. The edge is an illusion, blinding us without the FIX. That’s how we discovered Atoms’ Place. A particularly good FIXing occurred and we were able to see beyond the Yellow Stick. The Yellow Stick was prophesied, predicted, and calculated to exist. Imagine our pleasure in seeing it first hand. AToms’ Place is supposed to be just beyond the Yellow Stick. But no amount of FIXing will let us see that far. Everything just gets blacker and blacker.
The Yellow Stick is interesting as you might imagine. Who put it there and what does it mean? Maybe it just grew there on it’s own. Stories around here claim that ATom was responsible. Some say it is his marker, the edge of his domain. Others think it is a warning. Travelers never return if they go beyond the Yellow Stick and no one knows why. Personally, we have no desire to go beyond the Yellow Stick. Would you imagine that considering the stuff here, going further, things get even stranger and weirder? Well, if it’s strange you want then off you must go. That seemed to be the key, going off.
One day we witnessed an unusual occurrence. A human wandered into our locale having hiked through the hinterlands. He was young or old, we couldn’t be sure. He mumbled constantly. Every now and then he said something that sort of made sense. “Am I the story?” “Am I writing the story?” “Is there a story?” Well, sort of made sense if you catch my drift. Everyone knows there is no story until we write it with our experiences. Unless you believe those who claim everything has already been written and we are just reading along. We can still see ourselves coming and going.
The human examined the halls and walls of the hotel. Marveling at the many and varied objects in our collection. One in particular took his interest. It wasn’t much to look at. Like a crumpled piece of paper, it looked more like rubbish then artifact. He picked it up and closely inspected the folds and crevices, the smooth and rough, and all the convolutions. When he was done, he carefully put the object back but in a different orientation than how we had it exhibited. Perhaps he knows what it is? Perhaps this is the way it should be displayed? As he headed out the door, the crumpled bit began to shimmer, text appeared on some of the surfaces. Images and movies played in different areas. When we picked it up, they stopped. We tried every possible position but were unable to get it back the same as the human had done just moments earlier. We decided to look for him. Our Quest was born.
He was headed across the Light Way, without a FIX. We did a quickie FIX and headed after him. It is so easy to get blinded by the Light, how can he, a mere human, navigate with such confidence? We wanted to learn more about him. The Light Way was murderous to cross. It was impossible to avoid the travelers. Contact with them caused bits and pieces of ourselves to be ripped away. Even with the FIX, we were being shredded like some hapless animal in a lake full of piranhas. We had no idea how wide the Light Way was and how impossibly far away the Yellow Stick must be. If not for our determination to seek the human, we would have turned back. By the time we passed through the edge, there wasn’t much left of us. Everything non essential had been stripped away. Everything. We resembled that crumpled object in many ways. The few bits of ourselves remaining consisted of some images, movies, and text. We tried to look back but without the FIX all we could see was a blinding Light. Before us was the thickest, blackest void imaginable, a Yellow Stick we couldn’t see, and a human going somewhere unimaginable. All the more reason to continue.
The ground, if you could call it that was very much alive. Anticipating our steps, it rose to greet us. Anticipating our intention, it directed our path. It was uncanny how it knew us so well, almost like a twin. The ground and air and sky all seemed to be made of the same stuff. Not that there was a sky or air or ground. It just felt that way because of our 3d nature. Despite the generous assist of the ground, walking was becoming more and more an effort. The blackness prevented us from marking our progress. We were traveling blindly at the whim of the ground in total blackness. For all we knew we were going in circles or just walking in place. Hopelessness drifted by in a boat offering us a way out. We were determined however, and ignored the opportunity. When despair came by with a flash light it was much more trying. We could see the way clearly but to where we wondered. Determined we pressed on, driven blindly by our desire to know the human.
We began to lose members of our party. They were absorbed. The ground sort of enveloped them. They didn’t scream but rather spoke of the great love and joy of being. We called it the Love Hug. The embrace of love seemed to only prefer those who were tired and found moving difficult. We put sticks in those places. We pressed on despite having to leave those behind. Our party reduced eventually to the three of us. We pressed on and on until we saw or imagined we saw a light. Perhaps it was despair come back to taunt us. We pressed on and before us was indeed a light. It was much more than the flash light despair held. This was nearly a village or a very large party. Everyone was celebrating. Here in the middle of nowhere was a celebration. One somber person stood out. He looked at first to be the human we were following. But as we approached him, his features revealed a being as old as time itself. Somehow everything that has happened is in this creatures being. It was extraordinary but not the human. We were surrounded by everyone amid their celebration. “Come with us”, they pleaded. “We have forever.” After consulting with one another we determined that one of us should stay here. We would choose straws to determine who would stay. Our ability to communicate and our connection would remain the same. Just our physical closeness would change. Would it be a great sacrifice to remain while the two pressed on? We have always been together and nothing could change that.
While the two pressed on, the remaining one examined the area more completely. Learning and studying the behaviors and actions of all the denizens. The most interesting of them being the somber one. So much yet still aware. He seemed to be part of the village itself, firmly attached to the ground like a plant or boulder. Literally built out of ground. He didn’t move much but did seem to watch everyone celebrating. We felt attracted to him initially. That was significant.
Meanwhile the two pressed on and on. The human was barely visible now, indeed just the back of his head could be seen and then only fleetingly. It was as if the blackness wasn’t as black but it was. That’s why they bumped into the stick. It was black out. It was the first stick they had come across, having left theirs for others. They couldn’t help noticing this stick was yellow. How they determined that, was and still is, a matter of conjecture. Without a FIX and in the void, there is no color. The one who remained behind knew it as well. We have found the Yellow Stick. All of the celebrants were unimpressed however, the somber one began to smile. After much contemplation and consultation, we determined that one of us should stay by the Yellow Stick. Again, picking straws was used to select who would remain. I would press on.
The somber one now laughed and danced as though in celebration. Engaging the one who stayed in that place in some ritual. Entranced and physically alone, the she began to feel the vibrations. It was uplifting and exhilarating. It was love at first sight, over and over. The celebration seemed to increase both in size and intensity. The village nearly consumed by the spectacular sky line and eerie glow that emanated from the city. They shared a house, a home, a place where they could be together. Living with death by any other name would be the same. The stories death could tell could keep anyone mesmerized for an eternity.
We had pressed on and now, it seemed nearly over. Before me was AToms’ place. Not what we expected but clearly where the human was headed. It was a quaint place, at least from where I was positioned. Although we continued to communicate together, there were increasingly disturbing moments of Who are You? Some of the information exchanged seemed trite and common at times. Entropy was born and we were it first meal. Just for the record, we have been around a very long time and have been impervious to mild and profound chaos. We also have never separated this far before. Could it be that our communication is leaking into the blackness? That bit of energy somehow ignited entropy. It was worth pondering.
The Yellow Stick became a tree. Within its branches, twigs with buds sparkled and glowed. The one who stayed here, faithfully watered the Yellow Stick with her tears, becoming enveloped within the mighty trunk. Together they created life. Together they created the stuff needed for the celebration. They were blessed and blessed those who they begot. Soon the path to Death’s place was well worn and familiar to all. The tree reached into the heavens, plucking the very stars for its leaves. A veritable creation made of the stuff of the void. An illusion perhaps. Life had a name no less. A monument was created by life to honor the three. The great spirit beyond, the creator of life, and me, just an ATom looking for a place to call my own.
I wondered where the human had gone too. The place was deserted except for me. Not that is was much of a place. Some bits of gravel and colored glass somehow not out of place in the void. The imagination can do some incredible things given the opportunity. Perhaps it is just a bit scary to let it freely roam. Free ranging imaginations produce nourishing dreams. But are dreams necessary, when you have a living ground. It was familiar, way too familiar. The Yellow Stick was the center. By and by her essence had leaked into the void, becoming the ground and all that existed. The cloaks she wove now filled as forms betrayed their origin. I stood on that spot I call Atom’s Place. There wasn’t a word I could find to describe how I felt. I wanted to cry but for who or what? Was it the Last Chance? Our home and place of belonging? Was it our separating? I wanted to ponder the possibilities but before I could begin, the human appeared out of the now here. He stood there and looked at me. Before I could speak he began.
“Do not be alarmed. You have done well. Your determination speaks loudly of your zeal and passion. You are ready for the next phase however, you have areas of improvement that need to be addressed. These areas hold you back and limit your usefulness and reduce your effectiveness. We have been training you and your kind for eons. Preparing you for this moment. You are the result of all the love and understanding possible. You are responsible and best of all you are gullible.”
To say I was offended would have been an understatement. I was profoundly disturbed by the whole thing and should have ended it all a paragraph ago. But no, that’s not me, always wanting to inspect, analyze, hypothesize, and experiment, I pressed on and on until the human vanished.
If life is a video game or simulation read this section
You have reached level 17. Your party is re-united and your experience points have increased to average. Before proceeding consider that you have no clue what lies ahead and even less control than you imagined. Are you just a character or part of the story? Only time will tell.
If life is a spiritual quest read this section
You have reached Nirvana, heaven, or the goal of your choice. Further progress is futile. There is nothing beyond this place. You are complete and your party remains separated. You realize the cycle and circle of life and death is a machine that produces universes and planets, and animals, and conscious creatures.
If life is just atoms dancing in entropy read this section
You have discovered the story. Now the challenge is to write yourself into the story so completely that no one could tell you and the story apart. Your party settles in the valley between the tree and the celebration. There you and the others have a good time. You discover the meaning of existence, the purpose of it all, and you name it Atom .
Any and all others read this section
Nothing really happens. The human is your inner self guiding you to this place where you can find your connection to everything. The others are aspect of your manifestation. Death dances with the spirit of your essence creating the chaos that eventually devours all of life. Life sucks at your thoughts and aspirations, producing a reality beholden to none. You are nothing but atoms.
For me the story continues here. The human, just a prop, in an adventure that began before time and space were imagined. Filled with wonder the human form has been used to conjure and evoke mysteries and mystic events. Sometimes inhabited by other beings who are not in themselves human, the human form can inspire and lead even with false hope and feigned despair.
You are there in some cage or box surrounded by stuff to which you are connected in some way or fashion. You can not see out the box and must feel the outside with your hand or foot. We all find ourselves in such. When we touch and when we play it is only with our senses that we experience and feel the reality. Our feet and hands. In our imagination we see clearly the reality we hope is there. We seek a way to comprehend and understand the unimaginable. The solution is an all too familiar universe, much like the one in which we stand.
Perhaps there is a way to build a machine that eliminates the errors of approximation that abound. The simulation would be pristine and reproducible. Communication would be profound and moving. The adventure would be finished. Clearly the machine is yet to be assembled, although I believe I have all the necessary parts. I was wondering if you might help me figure this one out. I’ve been told, it involves twisting infinity inside out. Has love ever embraced you so completely that it popped you out? Imagine the me in you one day begins a journey to discover what the me in you is. After a gazillion guesses and how abouts, someone suggests “it is easier to determine what you are not and what is left must be the me in you.” While on this journey, one day you meet a creature who says “I am your Not Me, lets visit awhile and be friends.” Wait until you can see yourself in the creatures eyes then before he vanishes realize he popped you onto the other side and remained behind.
I stood on that spot ever since. Not moving and refusing to be cajoled I pondered the meaning of thought and the emergence of consciousness. I watched the story unfold with incredible accuracy and enough detail to satisfy even the most particular. I knew what would happen but could not prevent it. It was determined, destined, or just the way it worked out. Life was a mistake despite is grandeur and glory. Never leave a member of your party beside a Yellow Stick. I would have thought longer but all stories do have an ending, even if only for now. My brain numbed, I thought about the human I followed here.
Created by The Wizard of Awed™,
aka Tom Repasky.
“Art Is The Perception Of An Altered Reality©”
Copyright 2007 Flicker Light Studio™
Metaphorical prose that examines life and death with symbolism derived from my experiences adapting to life after my Near Death Experience