When I was twelve, thirteen maybe, I saw alternity.
Perhaps it is a dream,
a peek into the future.
Whatever it is, it is vivid.
I am strong.
I am agile.
I am fearless.
I run fast through the city.
I leap fences, jump walls, climb buildings: bounding from rooftop to rooftop, almost flying.
No one is chasing me.
I run alone.
It is imperative that I run.
Ahead, a large concrete wall.
I jump, my hands reach the top, legs swing up and around, half a spin and I am over the wall; then Splash!
I land solid in a puddle. Water spraying everywhere.
Fellow runners surround me. I don’t know where they come from, but they are here, jumping the wall, splashing the puddle, sprinting away.
Cheetahs, ghosts of motion, we move.
A Wolf-pack, a blur speeding through the streets, we move.
The Joy of running, jumping, practically flying
over walls and fences, leaping up steps, jumping rooftops.
Immaculate movement for the joy of movement.
Simple action for the love of action.
Pure speed for the thrill of speed.
He is there.
Leading the way.
I am not sure who he is. Just the leader.
We follow him.
Sometimes he leads the way. Sometimes I lead the way. Sometimes others lead the way. Sometimes I am alone. Yet even when I am alone, he is near.
We run day and night, never stopping, never resting, never pausing.
Then it ends.
There is no direction.
Others wander close by.
Someone knows where he is.
I hear a shout, “Follow me!” Many go.
I hear it again, “Follow me!” Some go.
Again, “Follow me!” A few more go.
Others make a different choice. I am one of them. I chose my own direction.
I just run.
over fences I jump,
over walls I leap,
up steps I bound,
across rooftops I fly,
movement for the desire of movement,
action for the avarice of action,
speed for the lust of speed,
pushing hard against the wind, feeling—almost—complete.
I am awake, in the ‘real world’ of my bed, looking at the alarm clock. I have five minutes before it rings.
Occasionally, randomly, unpredictably, I had this dream, this vision, this glance into another reality, this peek into alternity. Eventually, I began to run. It was good exercise. I found a parkour squad. Self-fulfilling prophecy? Inner desire becoming reality? I did not think much about it, I just ran. The squad taught me; I learned quickly. Soon I ran, jumped, leaped, flew, over fences, up walls, across steps, rooftop to rooftop, like a wild animal. I grew. My youthful body grew strong, muscles matured into rope, bones tempered into steel, senses sharpened, reflexes quickened. Years of training. Years of running. Years of pushing, pushing hard.
I could do it! I did do it! I would not be stopped!
I was Batman, I was Spiderman, I was Superman.
I run: Therefore I Am!
A friend of mine. A ‘couch-potato’ nerd. He knew computers. He knew computer games. He knew technology. He could run, jump, leap, fly, over the barriers of technology.
He was invincible playing his game.
I was invincible playing mine.
One day I told him about my dream. He told me about his. It was the same, except he dreamed technology while I dreamed parkour. We had turned our dreams into our reality. We were alone in our dreams, alone in our reality.
And just as someone in my dream seemed to lead the way, there was a person in his dream that led the way. And just as my leader disappeared, so did his. And just as I did not bother to follow when called, neither did my friend. And just as I had chosen to go it alone, he had chosen to go it alone. We would do it our way. We would follow no one.
Love entered my life. Well, maybe it was lust. Eventually we married. Eventually there were children. Eventually we divorced. Nothing is permanent. Nothing is solid. Nothing remains the same. Entropy.
And then I had another dream,
or peek into alternity.
I paddle my canoe in the creek near my house.
The canoe moves
quietly and swiftly through the water.
Overcome with Angst
I want to see more.
To do more.
To be more.
I see the world through another’s eyes.
I see the world as a beautiful creation.
I see the world as it is meant to be.
All is beautiful.
All is peaceful.
All works together toward the desired end.
But it is not my desired end.
It is another’s.
Someone I do not know.
I wake up five minutes before the alarm rings.
I pondered this dream, or vision, or peek into another reality. It was not another reality. It was the only reality. The world was beautiful. I decided to enjoy it. I started running again. I bought a canoe and began to paddle around the creek. I celebrated the beauty of the world with anyone who would enjoy it with me. Everything, if seen in the proper perspective, was beautiful.
Rich was beautiful.
Poor was beautiful.
Luxury was beautiful.
Squalor was beautiful.
Health was beautiful.
Sickness was beautiful.
The whole world was beautiful.
Everyone could be happy.
Everyone could be beautiful.
Everyone could have joy.
Everyone could decide to see the beauty and enjoy it.
This time I start in the creek, paddle downstream, enter the river.
This time the river is a flood.
city streets fill with water rushing,
water urgently, horrendously speeding through the streets.
Everything not secured is washed away.
I see beauty as water rips through buildings.
I see beauty as water cleans the streets.
I see beauty as water washes away the city.
Beauty is a Joy to behold!
This time from my canoe I watch the incredible.
This time I see the amazing.
This time I see people caught in the flood.
Trapped on rooftops.
Trapped in cars.
Trapped in fear.
The flood swallowing people and washing them away.
From my canoe I see the beauty of the flood.
I see beauty in the faces of people.
Their fear is beautiful.
a sort of catastrophic music accompanying the roar of the water.
It is the beauty of death.
Suddenly there are others
in canoes and rowboats rushing downstream
carried by the raging flood. In our boats we talk
about the beauty of the flood.
We share the joy of the moment with each other.
We watch people in the city
cascading down streets
as we share how beautiful the world is.
Again I wake up five minutes before the alarm sounds.
I got dressed and went to work. Later, I told my friend, the technology couch-potato, about my dream. He, too, had dreamed a dream like that. And, like me, he did not know what to make of it.
Haunted by the dream, the vision, the peek into alternity, I worked harder. I ran more. I paddled more. I jumped, leaped, hopped, ran, climbed, sprinted for my self. I could do nothing for others. I did not know how. I knew how to save myself. Was that not the way of the world? You can only save yourself, you can’t save another, can you?
The peek into alternity came again.
In a vision.
In a dream.
In a canoe.
The current swift and strong.
The beauty of the water splashing on the rocks.
The beauty of the rainbows in the spray.
The beauty of the canoe as it splinters on the rocks.
The beauty of the red blood flowing from my head
turning the water a delicate pink.
The alarm is ringing. I shut it off.
I know that no matter what I do I cannot save myself.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16