Once when I was a child, hardly bigger than a tadpole, I thought that if I breathed in hard, I could pull in so much air that when I let it out it would bound like bubbles under water, filling all the sky, blue bubbles everywhere, and everything ever born would inhale my breath and breath it into me again, and I thought I’d acquire all the knowledge any of them had – all wisdom –beauty – grace and comprehension –drawn in on the breath of this living breathing earth.
Once when I was so small I could hear the whisper of trees, the roar of rocks, green singing of the grass, when I knew what our dogs were thinking and where the cat wandered when she slithered out at night, then nothing could hurt me except the separating from the whole: which felt impossible.
Onward I grew into a long-legged colt, whisking my tail as I bolted up the hills and by the time I reached my 15th conscious year I suddenly realized I felt no belonging but only anguish, having lost the wild outreaching climbing clawing beans, the reddening strawberries hiding in the fields, the forest-floor of moss that I’d just thoughtlessly trodden on, smashing the branches of those towering miniscule trees.
And now I’m old again, or maybe young. Now I can sit in memory on the bank of that stream and consider the things that thrive beneath the sheltering trees of infinitesimal moss, ponder how strange it is that our planet should fly endlessly through space, eternally looping round a fiery star that is one of billions upon billions that sweep at unimaginable speed through space so vast and empty that all the burning stars and planets and comets, moons and other debris are like grains of sand scattered before the emptiness of that indifferent silence.
I think how much a part I am of all of it, how small (but oddly large to myself, in my own self-centered skin). I think how time now breathes me in and out, swallows me up and spills me out to further worlds; and that will happen, yes, until I’m nothing but a particle of light, an element, a flicker perhaps of pure consciousness, and then the question comes: will I feel myself a part of Something More? Be awestruck, marvel in wild innocence? Or will I dissolve into a pool, unseparate?