Camping Without a Fire

by | Mar 24, 2022 | Road Notes

Here I am, alive. I sense I have been so before this lifetime. I feel that scope of living going far, far back to other places, other spaces.

There is really no better place to lay your body down and watch the sky darken into night than on a picnic table. It is good for the neck.

The first visible object on this moonless night was a planet in the East, too bright to be a star, it stood out alone for quite some time until the bright suns that comprise Orion’s belt gave a context and invited tens, then hundreds, thousands more, as the blues and greys of evening sky faded to black like the end of a play. And the Milky Way misted the sky with an artist’s flair.

It wasn’t very cold, and I was dressed for it. Michelle was deep in sleepy town, as we call it, her struggling mind freed in slumber from the endless boxing match against the shadows of confusion.

Questions occurred to me. Questions that were, in themselves, a species of answers.

Here I am, alive. I sense I have been so before this lifetime. I feel that scope of living going far, far back to other places, other spaces. This feeling is akin to the bond one notices in that rare instance with a friend you meet for the first time and know you have known for all time. It beggers words because words are foul symbols compared to knowing. After all.

Millions of stars close by with millions of planets around them, millions of clusters and galaxies farther and farther. If it’s expanding it does so because we do so, if it contracts, likewise. Like breathing. Like birth and death. A day cycle. I sense that it is what we are, vast and infinite, unbound but bound. Seeking.

I choose a star in the now black background, just any old star. I don’t see a question about life there. I see life everywhere. The anomaly would be a place without it. That is the thing we already know that we are trying to rediscover, I suppose. Or not. The lost moment – in that labyrinth of that faultiest of systems, memory – we participated in the making of all this. In the rules of this game.

We feel it in an embrace, in a petty rage, in a smile, in a well of sadness, in a song, in a lost child, in a child’s laughter, in Michelle’s wailing and clowning, in all things filled, like her diapers, with the divine of beauty or foulness, because they are all, after all, what we are. And there, in the perfect night under this repeat performance, I feel the Earth, all of it, all of us, like a sleeping orchestra waiting for the baton to bounce.

And then I feel it, the All, after all, drifting outward into the endless which now seems close. A wonderful sense of a universe whose only dimension is that which we put upon it. It is all suddenly and quietly here, like a harmony sung by all the living triumphant and grieving.

My breath, in and out, momentarily connected to a moment without time or space, a paradox in an illusion, I suppose. But mine for now and always.