Looking up into the stars I began to wonder, how many things would go unnoticed, how many things had gone unnoticed? Closing my eyes I pictured the infinite universe, the planets and the stars, within the spinning galaxies that seemed to be floating, suspended in the midst of empty space. I felt my mind begin to drift away, and I thought to myself, was I losing my mind, or was I just beginning to find it?
Turning around I saw the grass sprawled out around me, and I wondered, are we infinite? Our bodies, our flesh and bones, it dies and is reborn. But are our souls, our spirits, infinite? Perhaps we lose our memories, only keeping what is necessary for survival. We remember how to breathe, how to open our eyes, and our cells remember how to grow and thrive; but does our consciousness have some distant memories from a past life, hidden somewhere behind our materialistic distractions and meaningless worries? Are we born not knowing, or are we born knowing everything?The questions jumped in, one after another, perplexing my already tired mind. I took a breath, focused myself on the task at hand. Breathe. Breathe. In, out. Rise, fall. Too many abstractions still blurred my attentions. I needed to start making sense of my thoughts. I centered myself then moved farther into the brush, hearing a siren in the distance.
I could feel the breath of everything around me. The trees were steadily murmuring as the busy creatures scuttled about around them. They seemed old, ancient almost. I began to wonder how much they had seen, how many eras had flown past while they remained virtually unchanged, rooted to the source. Feeling deeply connected to them, I sat down against a particular willow that had been calling my name, and let it shelter me from the terrifying world above.
As I closed my eyes the colours began to spin and my senses felt heightened. Was this what it felt like when you weren’t dulled by the grays and blacks of cities? My memories and thoughts almost seemed to materialize behind my eyelids, and it became more and more difficult to differentiate between reality and dreams. The sound of the crickets chirping overpowered my thoughts, and for what seemed like ten minutes I sat there, eyes closed, listening to the symphonies being played for me by the orchestra.
When I opened my eyes again, the scene had changed. I was in the midst of a city, on the roof of a towering skyscraper, watching the people below me rush past each other, without so much as a glance. How many times had somebody walked right past a person that could have been their best friend, their lover, because they had to make it to that meeting on time? The cellphones and schedules seemed to resonate through the air all the way to where I was standing, and I could feel the people’s frustration and hurry. I could share their emotions, I felt as if I was connected with each one of them. I wanted more than anything to jump down and yell stop. Stop the madness, slow down, there’s more to life than this. I don’t know what it is, but maybe together we could find it. But I knew that this would go on forever, no outside force could change what had happened to this world. Only the people could help themselves, if they were willing. I took a deep breath.
The sound of water running frightened me and I became aware that I was standing on the bank of a small river, seemingly in an abandoned village. A wooden tent had been pitched not too far from the bank, and I saw what appeared to be bullet holes in one side of it. In a rush of memory I saw screaming children and mothers, blood and shackles being tossed about, and a glimpse of kicking bodies being dragged off into the forest. I knew what had happened here, and I knew that I had to leave.
It hadn’t occurred to me until now that what I was experiencing was a dream. I must have fallen asleep underneath the willow tree. Looking down I nearly screamed, realizing my legs weren’t there. Now that I thought of it, my body wasn’t there at all. Yet I was still there. I knew I was. This place, the city, they weren’t just dreams. I was really there. How, I had no idea.
I rolled over and saw that I was back under the tree, lying on my back underneath the clear sky. The stars glistened like diamonds, each one feeling like a parent to me, watching and protecting me from above. I was back where I had started, where I had been too many times before, questioning what seemed real. Why didn’t anybody address these questions outside of their own minds? What were they afraid of? I wanted to know if I was the only one who rolled around the grass and dirt, wondering and dreaming, questioning but never answering.
For a moment I asked myself what time it was, trying to recall what time I had come out, and how long I had been asleep for. At that point I realized that it didn’t matter. I rolled over and watched an ant scuttle across the dirt; even he had places to be. Looking back up at the sky, I exhaled and let go of everything, watching the world go by for what seemed like an eternity in the blink of an eye.