Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

The evening was beautiful and the streets were quiet. I walked towards the coast, almost as if I was drifting along, further and further away from myself. The ghostly lights of streetlamps flickered as I passed them, and were swallowed up by the night. It was touchingly silent.

The bridge overlooking the coast came into view like shifting sands across a dreamy landscape. It felt like a dream, the kind you have during a nap on a sunny afternoon. Not entirely dream, but not reality either. It was then that I realized that time itself was expanding and that the boundaries that contained my life were being stretched almost imperceptibly.

I was breathing in a new life. It permeated my entire body, leaving traces of the salty sea in my nostrils. I felt as though my body was being irrigated. It occurred to me that I didn’t who it was that was doing all of this breathing.

I looked down over the bridge and into the churning sea. The waves were rolling over each other, devouring one another to the rhythm of a frantic heartbeat. A different world came into view; it was denser, and more shadowed. My mind was reeling and I could not tear my eyes away from the waves down below that seemed to be operating under their own laws.

In the distance, I saw the bright beam of a lighthouse scanning the waters. I wondered why I hadn’t noticed it before. The light looked godly to me, as though it had weight and a life of its own. I trusted it somehow, putting my feeble faith in it. The roar of the sea was deafening, but I noticed that the more attention I paid to that sweeping arc of light, the more the roar of the sea became muffled, like the sound of thunder in a retreating rainstorm.

I said a prayer to myself silently. I don’t know why. Normally I don’t have much belief in that sort of thing. The words often seem empty to me, a dead thing. But there I was, asking for help in a prayer and it felt very different, like the words themselves were wearing clothes and parading around in my chest. I know that sounds odd, but it really felt like that, almost familiar, you could say.

I remember there was this deepening silence, like after you hear something really beautiful, a poem or a song, a rare silence that can last for a second or two or your whole life. One of those moments where you suddenly realize that everything is unmistakably one.

And then I inevitably started thinking about it; churning it, dissolving it – all of these things that were happening. Something or someone wanted to understand it so desperately. Then the thoughts start piling up, one after another like trains, and before I realized it, I was stuck, lost in those waves again, and their magnificent laws.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

January 23, 2009 at 5:12 am

Stunning. And leaves one a little envious.

Luke Stormsreply
January 23, 2009 at 9:35 am
– In reply to: Ben

Ben, thank you so much. You know, it’s people like you who keep me going despite my inner editor, my inner critic who follows me everywhere like a bad smell. Thanks to readers like you, I keep on showing up at my writing desk despite the almost insurmountable odds.

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