So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
–F. Scott Fitzgerald
After falling asleep last night, I experienced my own death — a painfully numbing experience, for a dream.
I woke from a dead sleep only to discover it wasn’t me lying there, sleeping; it was my lifeless body, an empty shell of unfulfilled expectations; left exposed, lying empty, silent and undiscovered on the abandoned shore of my early age.
I no longer had a home there, in that body. Those feet were no longer mine. Those eyes would no longer see all the magic in a life that I was once so foolish to call my own. All that magic; all that spellbinding beauty and treacherous awe. The restless mind behind those big brown eyes: for once, at last, was resting. Resting; still. And still yet, no longer mine.
Sometimes, to evolution, we can be a most impervious creature. I was proof. I never did get beyond much of the rudimentary aspects of my own humanness; and yet, even in death I would come to find something perfect about this; rudimentary can be profound.
No matter now.
I began pacing; pacing the walls and pacing the emotions, a simultaneous-somehow endeavor; all of those familiar confinements to which I had spent my life so mindlessly, obliviously imprisoned.
Pacing now, pacing. But this isn’t what is supposed to happen; where is the big bright light? Where is the sense of peace — and finality? Aren’t all of my dead loved ones supposed to greet me on a cloud?
I attempt to get dressed only to find a deep and bitter longing; rather than a phantom limb, a phantom body haunts the soul of me raw. How radically self-obsessed human beings are! The irony now doubles me over. Imagine it. The body you once had; the bed in which you once birthed dreams; the person you thought yourself so surely to be, made of fingers and toes and ideas and breaths taken; these all haunt us after we die. What can we haunt? We don’t become spirits — we always were spirits. We release the physical things to which we clung for so long — and that is what is “haunting”.
I take a gander in my gardens. Winter has undressed them haphazardly, like a man too eager for his bride’s modesty to be saved. Geraniums — neon fuscia and fluorescent-red-orange and yellow-orange too — these are in full bloom. As if to laugh violently at my swift misfortune. It is December 8th. Thirty-five degrees outside. I scraped ice off my car yesterday morning; yet the ice could not rob my geraniums of their splendor. Still, these geraniums too were no longer mine.
Did you know they are considered an early spring flower? Not late spring; not early summer; not mid-summer or late summer or early autumn or fall; and yet… They are at the peak of their season.
A glorious display of sense that can’t be made.
This is a perfect example of divine synchronicity. As if the Majestic God of Love is hinting to your soul, “Are you paying attention? Have you ever really felt love?”
God’s whispered truth is everywhere. He weaves His wonders and His eternities into the fabric of our days like Savador Dali painted his insanity on blank canvases. Funny thing about that: most of the great creators — Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allen Poe, Franz Kafka, Henry David Thoreau, Johann Sebastian Bach, F. Scott Fitzgerald — knew nothing of their own greatness in their lifetime. Some of the most gifted artists and writers, the souls who came into this world to make it more beautiful for the rest of us were the ones tortured endlessly by oceans and tidal waves of doubt and self loathing, and genius that bordered the wavering boundary between prodigy and lunacy.
Succumbing to the weakened atmosphere of calm, I find myself gently opening my eyes, startled by the brightness of that Eastern piercing sunrise through my bedroom window.
Slowly, quietly, as the house is still sleeping, I make my way to my wardrobe.
My jeans have never felt so wonderful.
I decide to have my coffee on the front patio; I haven’t seen my flowerbeds in months.
As I glance over, I catch sight of my geraniums — tucked in-between dead canna leaves I failed to prune — and wouldn’t you guess… they are in full bloom.