Down Down Down

Another morning, just like so many mornings past. This early part of the day is a homonym for bereavement. A drab sky, muted green leaves, the muddy brown bark of trees sliding into black where the dim light of morning can’t reach the surface. Somewhere above me, the sun is hiding, shielded by smoke or clouds or haze so thick its light must bend and perform unenthusiastic acrobatics to make it way past obstacles in the air. I’m trying to make the best of the depressing vision outside my window, but my brain is as foggy as the day is funereal and my fingers protest efforts to make them dance on the keyboard. An image of my mournful countenance accompanies the word “lugubrious” in the unabridged version of the Oxford English Dictionary. Pines and oaks outside my window seems hopeless in the knowledge that they, too, will decay and fall to the ground one day unnoticed, mourned by nothing and no one. Mourning somehow doesn’t suit the natural cycle of life and death. Mourning denies the ebb and flow of life on the planet, as if death is a mistake to be lamented, a grievous error about which we can do nothing but fret. I doubt ants mourn the loss of individual workers who perish under the feet of joggers or demonic children who kill just because they can. They probably don’t even grieve over the loss of an entire colony; they have more pressing things to do than rue the invention of soles to protect the soulless or wish children had never been born. We could be like ants if we were sufficiently single-minded, wherein nothing matters but accomplishing the one goal we have set for ourselves, or which has been set for us. How many ants must there be outside in the half-acre surrounding the spot where I sit? I’d bet the numbers must run into the hundreds of thousands. Every one of them will die one day, maybe soon, but none mourned. It’s not just “that’s life,” it’s simply “that’s reality.” Reality is what me make it, though, isn’t it? Reality is simply the way our brain processes events and experiences. In that sense, someone who’s taken LSD is experiencing a reality that’s very different from mine, but it’s a reality nonetheless. I might like to know what that reality is like; I might like to see trees morph into colorful insects and watch them swallow bits of the sky. I wrote yesterday, during the height of a seemingly non-ending string of NOAA weather radio alerts that I expected the alerts to one day warn that fragments of the moon will soon rip through the atmosphere and smash to earth. Subsequent to that, I’ll hear warnings about monstrous tsunamis caused by lunar debris and then dire warnings about enormous eruptions of magma from the earth’s core, thanks to broken pieces of the moon puncturing earth’s crust. Imagine experiencing a reality in which such events were not simply creations of one’s imagination but, instead, terrors felt in the core of one’s being. Imagine believing such things were actually happening. I gather the realities of LSD succeed in melding dreams or creative interpretations of experience with belief. So the colorful insects actually are eating piece of the sky, right before one’s eyes. Looking outside my window now, I am a bit wistful for those vibrant colors. If insects are eating the sky in my line of vision, they are dull grey beasts, invisible in their dreary camouflage.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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