Yesterday was Independence Day, the fourth of July. We spent the day at home, mostly, though I went for a drive in the afternoon. Last night, we watched a few bursts of fireworks from the deck and heard the concussive blasts of many more we could not see.

I woke early this morning to darkness, but the stars were clearly visible in the crisp morning air. The thermometer registered fifty-eight degrees, a little cooler than normal for early July but not unheard of. As daylight began to illuminate the sky, I noticed something most definitely unusual: the trees behind the house were coated in a thick layer of snow, or maybe it was ice. They looked like postcard scenes of white Christmases. Seeing such an utterly baffling scene confused me. I ran to look out the front of the house. When I opened the blinds in the kitchen, I saw another stunning scene. Thick molten lava crept along the street in front of the house in a southeasterly direction.  The smoking wreckage of two cars, a good quarter mile apart, floated on top of the stream of liquid rock.  I looked beyond the street and saw the remains of houses north of ours; smoldering embers.  Only smoking stumps remained of the forests that had surrounded the houses. The water tower up the street was a melted hulk of broken steel. Oddly, there was not a speck of smoke in the air. The smoke rising from the burned out houses and trees rose and disappeared into the crystal clear blue sky.

The departure from normal got my day off to an odd start. Instead of my usual breakfast routine, I decided to restructure time and space, reversing their poles, as it were. The effect of that decision was that I began to experience the passage of time as if seconds and minutes and hours were physical things with weight and dimension. Space and everything in it, on the other hand, became comprehensible only through a mental adjustment impossible to explain with words. I could describe the sensation in mathematical expressions, but they would be far too complex to write on this tiny little screen. The oddest aspects of this transmogrification relate to the experience of colors as equations and the sense that the smallest components of time were like vapors, while larger elements such as minutes and hours were dense and heavy like steel beams or massive boulders had once been. But now, of course, those beams and boulders behaved as time did before the transition.

My restructuring had an interesting impact on what I saw outside my windows. In place of the ice-coated trees, I saw a time inversion an order of magnitude greater than anything I had seen before. And instead of flowing lava and burned out cars and houses and trees, I saw the mathematical equivalent of circular distance, encapsulated in a clear globe so transparent it was invisible, as was everything in it.

The gears inside my head, if that’s what they are, began to grind against one another and slow to a crawl as the corrosive effects of dimensional polarity took their toll. The problem, I decided, was that “slow” is a time-based concept, but the restructuring had made time a physical thing, thus causing all manner of dissonance in my brain. My thoughts had begun to “rust” away. I had to reverse the restructuring before it was too late, I decided. So, summoning every ounce of emotional gravity and mental  externality I could muster, I flipped time and space on their respective axes. To my surprise, the ice was gone and the lava had disappeared. In place of a brilliantly sun-lit day, I saw thick clouds and rain. The growl of distant thunder thrilled my ears. The temperature had warmed nicely, to the low seventies.  Still, evidence of the early rebellion remained, but I’ve agreed to keep it all in my head for now, where rebellion can safely stay until its time comes again.

About John Swinburn

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