Wednesday, August 3, 2011

When I Was Young

When I was young, I didn't believe in the real world. Not really, anyway. The world where I got up and went to school and looked at cars and heard boring conversations about politics was, I was certain, a front for something deeper, richer, and much more wild.

If I could just break through!

There were signs everywhere, I told myself. The whispers of wind; a falling leaf arranged just so on the forest floor; a cat that looked at me a little too long. The constant belief that this world wasn't all there was kept me going through the mundanities and frustrations we all forget about as we grow up.

I didn't yearn for this other place to exist; I knew it did and I yearned to get there somehow. How? How? Through dreams? Hypnosis? Travel? Time travel? Astral projection? How do I break through?

And the saddest thing of all was when that started to fade and I grew up.

But even now I catch myself wondering: what if that tree bending in a storm is a signal; what if that dark little hollow in the forest is a doorway; what I touch this boulder and my hand presses on through?

It turns out I have found the way through, after all: what we call "fiction" is really just my way of communing with that Other Place. I close my eyes and imagine it, and then I write it down and try to bring back some of the wildness and strange beauty.

Because, to roughly quote Tennyson: All experience is an arch through which gleams the untravell'd world.