I woke this morning feeling odd. This all began on a cool wet evening last spring. I don’t remember much of the event as I was young. There are memories of a splash, a fall, and a slow sinking into the comfort and safety of the dark and cold. There was light but little. It would shine through with a twinkle for a moment and then darkness would wash over me again . I lay motionless on the bottom, tossed about from time to time with the movement of the world, tumbled and rocked and swayed. There were things around me I could see, but I was void and with out form.
In time I took shape. I grew arms and legs and began to reach out, to grope and grip my surroundings. I explored the darkness. I ran from the light. Then I began to move out of the shadows, into the garden on the upper side. There was food there, there was sun, there were others like me. There was also danger. A garden of eden with a prowling wolf. It was a place of delicious luxury sprinkled with the anxiety of attack or being swept away into the the waiting maul of the monsters that inhabit the slow and deep. I would only remain in the garden for a moment. I had seen the others who lingered and their greed cost many of them their lives, though they were not yet born.
I watched one day as the wolf moved carefully through the waving vegetation. I tried to cry out to the others who were feeding, heads down and unaware, but I had no voice. I watched in horror the sudden and swift attack, the writhing and struggling of the unfortunate, quickly consumed by the jagged and serrated mandibles of the wolf. I sunk back into the dark, the safety of the dark, terrified of the light and cowering in the shame of being frozen and helpless. It was some time before I gathered the courage to venture back to the garden again, or maybe the pain of my hunger became a stronger drive than the fear of my demise. I slipped into the garden in the first and last lights, quickly filled my belly, slipped away again. I became a shadow in the light, a shadow in the shadows.
Ive grown stronger and wiser from my daily visits to the garden. I am agile. I am fast. I am wary. I dodge the wolf, gather my greens, and return unnoticed to the underside. Strong and confident in my environment, I know the way in and the way out. I know the habit of the wolf and where and when to be, when and where. The wolf is a game to me, a source of entertainment. My arms and legs, strong and sturdy, no current can sweep me to the monsters of the deep and slow. I play and test the danger. I have become master of my cold and watery womb.
But now there is something strange stirring inside me.
My skin feels too tight. I do not recognize myself. Along my back there is pressure and I hold fast, arch and lurch. I feel light and buoyant. My grip is weak, I slip and begin to float upward. In a panic I struggle back for the safety of the dark, for the underside. The force is too strong. It pulls me toward the roof of the world. Gravity no longer exists, and I am floating vertically, and swept laterally, faster and faster, I am drifting, toward the monsters of the slow and deep. I watch them below me, slashing and devouring helpless bodies like my own. I have gone too far. I can not return, so I struggle upward, and smash my body against the limitation of my existence. Here at the top of the world is a translucent ceiling. I am pulled toward the light. I have to break through. I push and reach through the viscous film. I feel my skin along my back begin to split and pull apart. The skin around my arms becomes loose, and I struggle to shed it. With all the energy and effort I have left, I pull free. I cast off the shuck of my old self and stand atop the leathery shell of the world and look up. My body is not familiar, but it is my own. Above me I see others like me. They are beautiful. I am beautiful. The sun is warm, the air moist, a scene of millions of like minded in a swarm. I am enthralled, I am enraptured. I fly for the trees.