Tuesday, December 13, 2016

What Everyone Forgets

Do you ever get the feeling that you’ve forgotten something? Not your keys, not your coat; this is stranger. You sense something like a thread coming loose in your belly, and with it, you spontaneously know that the whole world isn’t what you thought it was. It’s not even close. The colors seem drab, the scene like a cardboard cutout. But it’s not a bad feeling. Thinking it through, you will see the world’s new flatness as a sign: that what you knew isn’t the whole package of what is. You’ll think: there’s more here. And there is.
Everything you know is just a facade. All things hide something else within and behind them. What’s hidden there? An openness. An expanse. And it’s not dark but overpoweringly bright. It rushes between atoms and shines between the eyes of two people deep in conversation. Everything around you is just a nozzle for this bright open space. And you used to know this; you just forgot. A long time ago, you pushed that bright openness deep down inside and pretended it wasn’t there. The sun at noonday is just a shadow by comparison to the brightness in your chest.
For the whole world of things has fallen away from itself. So have you. All of it—stone to shrub, elephant to eggplant — used to rest in that inner light, but they don’t anymore. Each one fell down and out until it landed with a sharp “pft” in the rigid shape we know each one to be. We did this to them. By turning away from the light within everything, the light crashed into that pile of rubble we call the world.
Deep in your abdomen, you remember. As you move further into your own within, the nostalgia for that other place gets hotter and hotter until you burn with it. That fire flares up in those moments when you can’t tell longing and contentment apart anymore. The song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” does this for me. Someone once said that when Judy Garland sang it in concert, everyone forgot who she was, where they were, who they were. There was just a shared longing for something they could almost remember but not quite. “Birds fly over the rainbow. Why…oh why can’t I?”
The bright spaces between things and themselves, between you and yourself, are calling. The call is very soft, but at the same time, it’s a roar so constant that you’ve forgotten it’s there. But you can tune yourself to it. You can cock your head and close your eyes until you can just discern its sound. Align your sail with the wind. Follow the golden threads and pull on them until it all unravels into liquid light. This is life from death, light from darkness. You’ll know what I mean when you see it. A part of you does even now.
But you have to try to remember. I’ve tried, and yet it’s still like a dim dream. Any words I say about that call is like sprinkling confetti on an invisible man - you see the outline for a few seconds and then it’s gone. But I don’t think it’s a futile quest, trying to remember. It can come back; it will.
I’ll see you at sunrise.

1 comment:

  1. The song "Rainbow Connection" brings me back to this remembrance. Maybe it's the same place as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".