We try again for a nighttime stroll on the beach. As with last time, we have only to get away from the street and the streetlamps, near to the top of the dune. At first our night-blind eyes register only a yawning abyss both in the sky above us and the sprawling sand below, a distant rumble of ocean waves sounding the bass tones of unseen enormity.
We hover there on the crest of the dune for a while, our eyes slowly adjusting, dim shapes beginning to take form around us, a world of subtlety in shade and hue and resonance.
We make our way slowly down and across the long stretch of sand, down to the water, where we follow its edge a while, the air a-thrum with rhythm. Not just the individual waves, the subdued slurping, but vast tidal vibration too.
The water is slowly creeping up the beach. Things move in the wind that we cannot see.
The air feels thick in my lungs, like liquid or syrup. No longer some intangible aether but a viscous substance, filling space and flowing. In the dark I imagine I can almost feel its particles, feel the thickness and the weight of it, how there is no real empty space, how everything is full.
We eventually put sand and water behind us, wend our way back home along a beachside path and then down lonely cement sidewalks, discussing the idea of a pure entity, as opposed to this messy composite body-colony we call self. Us with our various micro organisms, bacterias, fungi, us leaving bits of ourselves behind wherever we touch and yet maintaining this illusion of identity, of singularity amid multiplicity.
Back at the apartment, momentarily alone, I’m washing the sand off my feet and pulling on my socks, waxing momentarily philosophical, how I sometimes lapse into a view of the Universe as an archetypal Stern Mother. Which is odd because my mother was never very stern. But there’s stern Mother Universe all the same, standing some distance behind me and to my left, arms crossed, watching. She likes to discipline. If you’re careless or overly confident or start to take things for granted—*crack!* and she’ll make you see just how foolish, how small, how little you really understand.
I hear a faint harmonic progression welling up, though no music is playing. It must be coming from inside me then. I focus on the light coming through the branches in the image projecting on the wall: a mouth, no, an entrance into a sacred place …
Except that’s not actually what I believe—I can see it’s just a familiar anxiety loop, one which I’m strong enough now to derail if I try.
Be self aware.
Pulling on your socks. It’s not necessarily a spiritual journey, this augmented brightness in your blood and breath. It’s not necessarily the Universe revealing itself. Maybe it’s only your ego.
Maybe that’s the only lesson: be self aware, remember humility.