I’ve been transfigured by the river–my limbs and roots, light as driftwood, ideas torn asunder, mind and torso smooth as glass. The little that is left of me floats aimlessly while the storm blows me up, sky slashed open, thunder sudden and conclusive.
“I don’t live in your world anymore,” the water whispers.
I nod. “I don’t either.” But I’m reluctant to admit the obvious.
“Who are you?” the water asks. I have no answer.
There’s a small, perfect stone on the bank. I feel confident I’ll remember and come back–I’ll remember and give thanks. Little else will happen in my life but this.
Rain falls carelessly, everywhere. On the just and unjust, the living and the dead. If I wanted to hide, it would be impossible, but why would I want to hide? I am falling as carelessly as the rain, falling into sky. Land recedes below me and the tallest willows wave good-bye. Then the cottonwoods. Neither can be trusted. They’re fooling me again. I know this is the dream they wanted me to have. In this temporary life, we are destined to sleep. It’s just the way we’re made. But if the cradle didn’t fall, would we even need this endless salvation?
“Who wants to sleep?” I ask the trees.
“No one!” they say, too quickly, twisting in the wind.
“And who wants to be awake?” I ask.
“Everyone!” they say. These, too, are lies. Lies told to fools eager to believe.
The wind has died. The rain has stopped. The sky has begun to heal itself. The great arms of God surround the wounded little planet. These arms–a resting place, my ride back home. Nothing has been answered, solved, or saved. But I am cleaner, stripped to the momentary essence of myself. The day will reappear, ordinary. Beautiful. My familiar body will reassemble as I eat my fill of broken, scattered bread and drink from a shallow eddy until my thirst is quenched.