The long, leisurely drive from Garden of the Gods to the Comfort Inn in Alamosa where we will hole up during our visit to the Great Sand Dunes National Park takes us by the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. It is happenstance. We had no idea it existed. We see the sign. Have the time. Stop for a visit. As the name suggests, it is famous for fossil beds including massive stumps of petrified redwood trees. After watching the Park Service video, I am most anxious to encounter the petrified beings, to touch the stone rings stretching deep into the seasons before man attempted to harness time, before man created gods in her own image, before woman anointed herself lord of creation.
Outside the main doors, there is a very small loop where the largest of all the unearthed stumps are on display. Though they have completely turned to stone, they look fresh, newly exposed wooden stumps that can easily be chopped into kindling or cut horizontally for spectacular multi-hued, deeply ringed tables. They are held together with 1/2 inch binding metal strapping wrapped around their circumference to help them hold form. Entropy has a way of driving things to crumble and decay. The bands stave off the crumbling. For how long, I can’t say. Still rusts. Entropy is formidable, unrelenting, always the victor.
The downside? We cannot touch the ancient beings. A dry moat and fence separate us. There will be no running my fingers over the rings, no feeling for a petrified pulse, no communion with the venerable trees. I understand why. People can be assholes. They will nibble away at the fragments. Stuff chips into their pockets and scurry off like packrats adding the memorabilia to a collection of forgotten trinkets gathered over the years. A few bastards ruin it for everyone.
We choose as our longish hike, considering there are some time constraints, the mile-long Petrified Forest Loop which winds around a number of the petrified redwood stumps. The loop is almost completely flat with vistas of the mountains in the background of short prairie grasses in the foreground and a smattering of trees. It meanders. We drift soaking up the gorgeous weather, basking in the ambiance, enjoying the stillness, thankful this is a decidedly uncrowded trail and there are no screeching voices raping the silence. We only encounter one other group, a hobbling grandfather with a cane and his two highly energized grandsons, two playful kittens rough house tumbling in their own joyful world.
The second stump we approach is massive but lacking the girth of those at the trail’s start. Its presence should align my senses like metal filings marching to invisible magnetic lines. But it doesn’t. I am more powerfully attracted to the tall, lifeless tree behind the stump up on a small knoll. I say lifeless because I can see no Spring buds like the surrounding copse. The bare branches are gnarled with arthritic joints. I say lifeless knowing looks can be deceiving. I say lifeless yet I feel an energetic connection across the space separating our two living souls. I stand transfixed gazing at its magnificence wishing to comprehend the long life journey from seedling to sapling thru maturity into now.
I need to get closer, need to make physical contact with the tree now knowing that is a deception. However, it is off the official trail behind another damn fence and a petulant sign, a petty bureaucrat happily handcuffed by inane rules demanding obeisance stipulating we stick to the established trail. ‘I’s dotted. ‘T’s crossed. Signed in triplicate. Stamped by the grand poobah. I opt for a few wide-angle and zoomed photographs.
Frustrated, I kick the fence. It cracks. Should I beat the bastard down and score a victory against tyranny? No. Despite my rebellious streak, I do tend to follow rules…sometimes. We turn to leave. One step. Two steps. I sense a strengthened pulse, tease a whisper off the leading edges of the wind that hit me in waves synchronized with the inhalation of my own breathing.
I pivot back, walk around the fence, cross the forbidden zone, halt at the foot of the majestic being. The bark is missing. Flayed by entropy? Age? Elements? Colonies of ants once making the between layer a colony home? Where are the ants now? What happened to their sultry queen?
Bark gone, the heartwood is exposed, raw nerves open to driving wind and cascading rain, searing heat and bitter cold, the chewing mandibles of insects, bird’s pointed beak digging for larvae. Does it feel pain? I imagine the sensitivity of my own flesh with the outer epidermal layer missing and I’m staked to the mast of a sailing ship the salt spray burning holes in my desire to live. Does that approximate the experience of this being?
I reached for the tall trees exposed flesh. Did I say tree? I hesitate calling it Tree even with a capital T. Too much baggage in the four-letter word, too many assumptions contained in the generic label. How should I reference this being many times taller than me? Deity? Demi-God? Do I have the courage to come face to face with a God? In the Bible, seeing the face of God meant death. God declares, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Which then begs the question, what is a face?
I don’t throw these loaded God words with fanfare or poetic license rather for the transformative effect on my soul, my cluttered, encumbered, burdened soul. But I will use the archaic term for clarity. Anyway, at the instant I finally press flesh to flesh, energy flows into me and my mind calms. The disappointment lingering from the Garden of Gods visit is washed away. Free at last. Free at last.
The trunk is warmer than the surrounding air by at least 10° if not more. I’m not good at estimating temperature. The marked difference is strange. I can see if was basking in the sun but there’s a heavy cloud cover. I’ve never encountered a warm-blooded tree. Err…warm sapped tree?
There’s a definite pulse. A strong pulse…daaaa dummm, daaaa dummm…slower than a human pulse…daaaa dummm, daaaa dummm. There is one tree pulse to every four or five of my own. If I could slow my system to match, would my life span quadruple, quintuple? What would life be like 200 or 300 years into the future? What did this tree see 400 years in the past? Definitely a blooded tree. I press my ear against the body. There’s a heartbeat too. Incredible.
The tree is not significant in diameter. I wrap my arms around it to feel the warmth more deeply. There’s a slight give similar to pressing the surface skin on a very cold batch of chocolate pudding. I squeeze tight, feel my body penetrate the surface then, like a noodle being slurped into a mouth sans the slurping sound, I’m pulled into the tree. Inside the tree? I’m broader than the tree. How can I fit inside?
I look around. The tree is bigger on the inside than the outside? Tardis? Doctor? Doctor, are you here? Romana? K9? Maybe, it’s not that doctor. Clara? River? Amy? Rose? Wishful thinking.
I am able to see in a 360° arch without moving my head. There’s a slight cast like looking through a one-way mirror. There’s my wife. I knock. The knock echoes loudly. She doesn’t move. I slam the wall with my fist. Still, nothing. I’m out there too with my hand still pressed against the barkless flesh.
I have not physically popped inside the tree. My body is still intact on the outside. My mind and soul shed the flesh and wormed their way into Tree. Freaky! How is Irene not able to tell she’s standing next to shell David? Is it because my internal life is so inconsequential there is, in effect, no difference between whole David and shell David? That shines some light on my life.
How do I reconnect with my shell? A problem for later? A problem at all? If she can’t tell the difference why not simply exist in both places? If this tree lived for 100s of years, might my mind and soul also exist inside of Tree for another hundred years? That would give me 100 years of solitude. Ever since living in India, I find my self increasingly craving solitude. But for 100 years? I might go insane. If I’m not already insane? How do trees maintain sanity when living for so long. Hell, Methuselah is almost 5000 years old! If I do get out of here, I must make sure a vacation wraps around meeting Methuselah.
Perhaps, I am already beyond insane and believing I’m inside a tree is another manifestation of my insanity. If I can see myself outside, do I have multiple personalities? I must be cray cray. I know! It’s the CO2! Trees breathe CO2. I’m in the tree, probably inside the lungs and am breathing CO2 into my lungs. It must be fucking with my perceptions of reality. And if I’m breathing in CO2, I must be inside the three which means I’m not crazy. Am I the first being to slip inside a tree?
“No, you are not,” a feminine sounding voice echoed in the cavernous space. “We share our space with more insects by weight than 50 of you. We give them home, they massage us and keep us clean. They raise their families in the crevices of our bark, build nests in the holes vacated by songbirds. We allow songbirds to bore holes in our body and inhabit those holes. For our small sacrifice, we are guaranteed daily songs, nightly prayers, and decaying matter to enrichen soil filtering succulent water to sip in through our roots. And the bird song aids in our meditation.”
“Who…who is we?”
“We are Tree. Tree is We?”
“Tree? Is that your name?”
“We have many names. To some We are Anito. Others call We Kathor or Bo. In parts of China, We are known as Pi-Fang. There are as many names for We as there are peopled tribes.”
“What shall I call you?” Time to get to the essence of the name. If I know what they call themselves, I will have better insight into who they are.
“You may call We…Tree. It is a common term in your lexicon and a communication tool easy for your mind to grasp.”
Shit! Thwarted by a tree. “Nice to meet you, Tree.”
“Likewise, David. It’s obvious you don’t realize this but We have met before, many times before. We have watched you grow your entire life.”
That’s creepy. I feel like I’ve been stalked! Push that ill-feeling away. There is so much to learn. What shall I ask next? Obvious. “Why does We sound like a woman? And why do meditate?”
“You are interpreting to assuage the needs of your psyche. It is likely you view women as nurturers and are more comfortable having this conversation with a feminine persona, a female hero. It can also be because deep down you realize trees are givers of life. Never takers.
Your second question. We have no voice. We meditate because We sustains We. Walking is not possible. Through meditation, We march under and across open land easily creating an above-ground forest with aerial canopies. We as a family invite all to share in this glory. The marching is put into play by our mind while in deep meditation. With each new We, our meditation power amplifies exponentially until an entire forest of We creates a unique ecosystem breathing life into this planet. Without We, you would not be.”
“That’s kinda arrogant!”
“How are facts arrogant? We created the oxygen necessary for your emergence. We create oxygen necessary for your continued existence. Ergo, without We, you would not be. You may even say, We are your creator being.”
“Is that all you do? Create an atmosphere so man can be?”
“Hardly, We create atmospheres that all life may be. Not just humanity. Through our meditation, We make thoughts manifest.”
“What does that mean…to make manifest?”
“Our unified thought is so powerful it cannot be contained in simple synapse connecting electric impulses. The energy builds and Our thoughts explode into physical beings. Hummingbird is the outward manifestation of highly focused, deep thought exploding into Kaleidoscopic light. Hummers collect pollen from flowers instantiating the sex act between plants. It’s rapidly flicking tongue drives both female and male flower parts to long orgasm fruits which you not only enjoy eating but add to your health.”
“Whoa…your thoughts create hummingbirds?”
“Yes, We do. Those ancients lying dormant in the field behind you were much stronger. There were many more We in their day thus the meditative energy was intensified. They created Sparrow, Hawks, Flicker. Our ultimate creation, the one we are most proud of…
“I know.” I blurt out. “You all are most proud of is Golden Eagle.”
“No. Golden Eagle was meditated into existence during a season of tree self-aggrandization. It soared on the wave of inflated tree egos. We have since achieved a deeper, other-centered harmony and no longer create Golden. It’s why their numbers are so low. Their tribe is sustained solely on egg production. We no longer augment that race.”
I sensed a tinge of regret. “Sad?”
“Sad? No. It is merely the normal progression of life. All beings jump to a new body when the old one dies. Life continues just in different forms. As forms change, knowledge of the previous incarnation is carried deep in the brain’s core. It’s how empathy is created between beings vastly different than ourselves. If you love dogs, it means you were likely once a dog.”
“That’s Karma!” I blurted feeling proud of my intimate knowledge of life’s intricacies. And to show tree I was smarter than We.
“Close but no.”
“No? I’ve read about Buddhism. I lived in India. I’m familiar with karma.”
“Karma says the sum of previous existences decides fate in a future incarnation.
That Karma is a distortion of reality bent by the scratched prism of human minds because your kind has a need to believe they control their future. It is the same with all your ‘religions’. Truth becomes twisted and mangled until humans are at the center and the reason life exists.”
I find myself intrigued. My views on religion are similar. “Then what do you mean?”
“The next phase is a random act. A body is ready, the being’s soul is ready. And voilà. Existence in a new state.”
“Each person has one and only one soul that is judged by the Good Lord Above upon physical death?” Poised as a question but really a statement.
“Religion misinterpreted to mold reality into man’s narrow ability to grasp the immensity of the pluraverse.”
“Pluraverse? How does that align with our universe?”
“There are multiple universes superimposed upon each other. Thus a pluraverse. There are three here right now.”
I crane my neck trying to get a glimpse of the parallels.
“Don’t bother trying to see them on your own. The human ability to perceive is narrow, myopic, unable to perceive there are many universes right here, right now. Only one exists in color bands your eyes can see. Humans discriminate colors with three cones. Mantis shrimp have 12 and can see more colors than you can imagine including ultraviolet, infrared and x-ray. Trees see with 9.”
“Trees can see?”
“Where are your eyes?”
“We don’t need eyes as you imagine them to see.”
“What’s in the parallel universes?”
“The petrified being you looked at before coming up here is, to you, a stump, a decayed tree replaced with rock. It is petrified and struggling to fend off entropy.”
“What do you see?”
“In the slowly vibrating, infrared lighted parallel universe, We see a massive redwood still living, growing strong, shouting thought leaves into the sky some morphing into songbirds…”
“Birds again. You seem to have a single-minded focus on birds.”
“We are of a collected mind, never single-minded. Our primary focus is giving life to the world. Life without music lacks purpose. So, We make sure there’s a constant infusion of birds to add their beautiful songs.”
“And why is that? You are not God. What is it your responsibility to create life?”
“Responsibility? It is our joy. We are not God but, then, neither is God a God. The ultimate is an aggregation of the Collective Consciousness extant in all beings. We serve the Collective Consciousness by breathing oxygen into the pluraverses and exercising our unique gifts to infuse birds into the mix.”
“Hold on a second. If God is another name for the Collective Consciousness by extrapolation all contributors to the Collective Consciousness are God.”
“In a manner of speaking.”
“That’s so heavy. And it corroborates an essay I wrote in college with the conclusion being that I was God as was everything else. I guess I’m a man ahead of his time.”
“Yes, I can see it being heavy for one who has not existed for more than a century in continuous meditation. We Tree are sanyasi, truth seekers. We abandoned the folly of disconnected individualism eons ago instead unifying under a single meditative hum. Our unified meditation has given us understanding well beyond the imaginable approaching the ultimate infinite.”
“I need to understand ultimate truth. Please tell me.” Hoping I don’t sound too needy.
“Humanity is the only beings not ready to accept ultimate truth. Birds do especially Lord Raven who’s mind thinks in poetry born of supreme meditation. All the animals and plants do. Human minds have not developed the capacity to simultaneously hold two opposite ideas believing them to be opposing truths.”
“I will provide you with a simple example. To you, black and white are opposites. Black can’t be white. White can’t be black. Light and dark are mutually exclusive and can’t coexist.”
“We know black defines white. Light dances with dark. There is no difference between white and black.”
“That make’s absolutely no sense!”
“As We said, your kind are not ready. Evolution is slower in some than others.”
I needed to take back control of this screwy train of thought. There is knowledge here to be gained. How do I manipulate a tree? “Ok. Ok. I will accept what you said at face value. What can I grasp at this stage in my cognitive development?”
Silence. Tree stopped talking. Seconds tick off into minutes that roll into hours. I wait until the silence gnaws through the ropes binding my patience and I am compelled to fill the void. “Depends on what???”
“I see you have very little patience so I doubt you have what it takes to absorb Our knowledge.”
“I’m patient. I waited minutes before jumping in with my question.”
“You were silent less than 10 seconds even then your mind was churning.”
“Well. I’m better than I used to be. With your help, I know I can grow the patience and learn from you.”
“Are you ready to spend eternity with me? Give up life as you know it and merge into the We? Because that is what it will take for you to begin grasping our knowledge.”
“Oh Shit. Uh. There is so much to see in this world. I’m not ready to set roots down in this isolated place for the next 100 years. So, no. I don’t wish to merge with We…at least…not yet. Perhaps when I’m old and sitting on the border between now and next.”
“Wise choice, human.”
I can’t leave empty-handed. It would be an extreme waste of a learning opportunity. “Can you show me something? A glimpse of all you have learned? Something my mind can grasp with a little stretching? Maybe a tidbit that will make sense down the line?”
“What you request means pecking a hole in this reality and allowing you to enter our dreamvision.”
“Fantastic! Let’s dream away.” I close my eyes and wait for sleep to take over. “I guess I’m too eager here. How can I dream wide awake?”
There are dreams, visions, and dreamvisions. I can dreamvision all of what came before me and some of what is yet to be. Entering our dreamvision is quite easy. Just follow my instructions. Breathe in for a 7 count. Hold for 4 counts. Exhale for 8 counts.”
“How long is a count?”
“Synchronize your counting to the beating of your heart. The inhalations will fill your lungs with CO2 and help you on the journey.”
“Whoa. CO2 is deadly to humans. Doh. My body is out there. It’s my soul in here. My soul has no lungs.”
“It is a mindset. You are correct and the CO2 cannot hurt your spirit.”
“How can my spirit breathe? It’s bodies that breathe.”
“You need to trust We on this. Repeat the breathing sequence a few more times making sure it is perfectly aligned with your heartbeat.”
I cannot sense my heartbeat. I put my hand on my imaginary chest. There it is. Da-dum. Da-dum. Breathe in 7 counts. Hold 4 counts. Exhale 8 counts. Repeat. Repeat. I’m feeling light-headed.
“You should be feeling lightheaded. The Carbon Dioxide is infusing your system soon you will pass out.”
“Pass Out?” I pull out of the breathing sequence. My vision is reduced to a tunnel which, in time, returns to normal.
“Yes. Pass out. The CO2 is a shock to an oxygen-breathing being. Don’t worry though you will awake almost instantaneously and experience the dreamvision of We. Just let yourself go.”
“But… but…but…I don’t want toooo….I’m afrai…”
A raven croaks. A long, drawn-out croak. A soulful croak. It’s long, held in perfect pitch, a vocalist singing and extended until the breath is exhausted then persisting a few heartbeats longer.
“What’s up with the Raven?”
“Raven unties memory knots helping us to recollect past and future memories.”
I open my eyes. Two moons hang in the sky, waning crescent moons half as bright as the sun piercing the clouds on a foggy day. “How can there be two moons? Why are they flickering between black and white?”
“There are always two moons. You are seeing through the eyes of We, seeing what We see. As I told you, the parallel universes are always present, superimposed in the now. The flickering you see is your mind approaching the ability to comprehend that black and white, dark and light are identical.”
“The moon was full yesterday. How can they be identical crescents today?”
“The moons are not identical. One is waning, the other is waxing. And what makes you believe today is today?”
“Isn’t today always today?”
“You have entered the meditative dream of We. Today, yesterday, even tomorrow have no meaning. We can experience any point on the time continuum beginning with the emerge of First Tree. Think of it as being fully present in the now and now can be any now, any time, the particular now necessary for enlightening. Trees are all bodhisattvas and we are sharing bodhisattva experience with you.”
“Bodhisattvas? Like the Buddha?”
“Of course. Do you recall where Siddhartha Gautama achieved enlightenment to become Buddha?”
“Beneath the Bodhi tree in what is now Bodh Gaya, India. I’ve been there a couple of times. I collected some leaves fallen from the tree. My wife framed them. They sit on our bookshelf.”
“You don’t think it was an accident that Siddhartha became Buddha beneath a tree, do you?”
I could be a smartass and say coincidence but this seems like the wrong time. I wanted to see where Tree teaching took me. “I guess not.”
“It was We who shared the knowledge opening Siddhartha’s eyes. Over the days he meditated at Our feet, we dropped leaves around and on him. Some became birds before touching Earth. Others were perfumed with understandings of the Universal Consciousness puzzle. It took a while until Siddhartha was able to connect the pieces into partial understanding, enough for a slice of enlightened knowledge. That is the origins of Buddhism.”
“Yes. As I said, the human mind, in its present evolution, cannot grasp full knowledge. So, we dispense what is needed when it is needed. As has been our practice throughout your history.”
“There are others?”
“Yes. Siddharta was one of the few with a spirit evolved sufficiently to grasp a fragment of true knowledge. He achieved the fourth phase in one lifetime.”
“Fourth phase? Grandfather taught me about the four phases. Do you know grandfather?” It was a question to which I immediately knew the answer.
“Of course. Grandfather is also We.”
“Were there others you gifted special knowledge? Of course, you just said were there were others. Who else have you gifted this enlightening knowledge to?”
“There have been many others.”
“Moses at the burning bush. It was we who simulated burning in his mind and dispensed the knowledge needed at that a point in history to help humanity on their journey. There was Jesus at the fig tree. We scared him so he made We whither then avoided We for a long time. He learned enough to understand the necessity of loving one’s neighbor. We needed to engage with him again to complete his teaching but didn’t have the opportunity until he was hammered into the cross. The cross was We and We completed his education. When he moaned, “It is finished.” it was because he finally understood and was ready to leave the fourth phase into Spirit existence.”
“Are you telling me you instigated the great religious revivals?”
“Yes. It was communion with We that inspired Mohammad’s recitation of the Islamic Holy Book. We have gifted a litany of shaman’s and holy people throughout history reaching way back to the cave paintings in El Castillo, Spain and Sulawesi, Indonesia. There are older ones from the Neanderthals that have yet to be discovered. Few remain because CroMagon man destroyed them believing they were against their view of God. Your kind seems to never learn.
We point you forward yet you choose to close your eyes. We always chose a messenger from a person in their fourth phase because they have proven themselves capable of spiritual evolution. The problem is the many in the early phases with marginal abilities to comprehend the ultimate, grasp onto the lowest limbs and force them down the throats of others as gospel. And thus you have your unholy wars, your dogmatic religious practices, the hate across belief systems.”
“Why are humans always the recipients of your knowledge. Why not animals?”
“Animals, plants, rocks, all beings other than man are many lifetimes into the spiritual phase and coexist in the Collective Consciousness. They are also We.”
“This is absolutely fascinating. I must share this with the world. Too bad my blog has so few followers. Our world is pretty fucked up now. Hopefully, you’ve picked out the next great teacher to help guide us. The US has an orange baboon in highest office fighting with cockroaches on both sides of congress. Evil is gaining strongholds the world over with a stranglehold on political power. An enlightened teacher is needed now, was needed yesterday.”
“Have you found one yet?”
“We have. In the past, We chose messengers who achieved the fourth phase in one life cycle believing their intelligence was the key success. This time We have decided on an individual that has struggled through many life cycles to reach the fourth phase. The thinking is that resilience is key and their experiences will help cement the message in souls also struggling to progress.”
“Who is it? Can you tell me? Would I know her, him, they?”
“Grandfather tells We, you are ready.”
“You have been chosen.”
“But, I’m a nobody. What can I possibly do? Nope. Not me. Pick another…someone with…with…I don’t know. Someone who is not me. I am getting old. Retirement is a few years away. I want to spend my time traveling. No one will listen to me. I have proof. My blogs have been out for a good 7 years and they have few followers.”
I pause, breathe. Wait for a response. Nothing.
“How can Tree expect me to nudge the course of human history when I can get barely any blog followers? You know, I’m a loner. No one will listen to a loner. I can’t even maintain friendships. Who would take a loner seriously? A half baked, half-assed loner like me?”
“As were they all…”
“What? You are equating me with the prophets? With the Son of Man?”
“Of course not…not yet. They were all similar to you before their anointing. They did not believe in themselves. But they all made the leap.”
“Hmmm…let’s say I acquiesce with your ask. Will I be well known? Will my blogs increase in followers making me an influencer?”
“That is hardly the point but yes. You will be well known, near-universally known. As such, near-universally loved and near-universally hated. Your penchant for solitude will be critical for you to rejuvenate. We foresee long periods of alone time in the desert.”
“That I like. I love the desert…especially red deserts with twisted canyons…but you knew that, didn’t you?”
“Of course. But that doesn’t make it any less true.”
“Ok…let’s say, for the sake of argument, I play along. And I’m assuming I have a choice?”
“In a manner of speaking.”
“Why me? Why now?”
“We could go into extensive detail about why you but you would throw up objection after objection to any and all logical or illogical, spiritual or corporeal arguments. To avoid the fruitless, a bit of Tree humor there, debate, We will just say, ‘Why not you?’”
“I get that. Then my 2nd question, why now?”
“History has cycles, ebbs and flows. There are buds in spring, fruit in summer, color in the fall, and barren winter days when We withdraw into our subterranean root system. Humanity, mentally, is in a trough…worse than being barren. When barren, fruit is not created. When in a trough, the fruit is actively destroyed.”
“Is it really that bad?”
“Do you not read your own blog? Despite the metrics pointing to this being one of the safest points in history, The powerful would have everyone believe we are in crisis and must resort to isolationism and hoarding. It is they who are forcing the crisis mentality. History is struggling because of a small but influential swath of humanity. We are in a point where the numbers show flowing yet the voices of the elect claim we are ebbing, stuck in a trough and fighting a squall. In the current human trough, the fruit is being poisoned. Humanity is the poison fruit destroying all life including your own.”
“Is it global or only America?”
“Narrow thinking. It is impossible to be healthy in isolation. We is connected globally through an extensive root system. We are aware of everything happening everywhere simultaneously. We are acutely aware of the complete and total interconnectedness of all beings.”
“Humans are deluded by the egregious belief that one arbitrary enclosed space can exist isolated from all others and be healthy. It is a dangerous delusion that will destroy the planet including your America.”
“No surprise there.”
“It is your destiny to awaken humanity before the tipping point and the impossibility of return.”
“Destiny. I am beginning to hate that word. I gather this won’t be easy?” A half question at best. A question to which I already knew the answer. Why ask it? I don’t know. Sometimes, I need to hear the obvious.
“No. Change never is. Think to your corporate life?”
“You are aware of my corporate life?”
“Yes. Are We not on the patio of your office?”
“As We said, all are interconnected including the We planted on your 7th-floor office patio. Change is difficult in a corporation with a clearly defined mission. The difficulty of course-correcting humanity will be like escaping from inside a black hole. You will be adored, reviled, ignored all at the same time, by the same individuals. You will have all beings, with the possible exception of roaches who expect to inherit Earth once your kind destroys it, helping you in this quest to save the world.”
“I enjoy a challenge but, I’ve got to say, none of this ‘reality’ endears me to the cause.”
“Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.”
“I love that quote. Did Ed Abbey get that from you?”
“No. Enlightenment is multidirectional. We learned quite a lot from Abbey. He wrote with such wisdom, opened up new worlds for We to see.”
“As did I.” Emotion roiled in my soul for the author I appreciated more than all others. I still feel anguish at his passing.
“Ok. I’m reluctant but if it’s written in the stars I guess…well…destinies are as destinies will be.”
“Destinies are destinies and one of yours will influence all of ours.”
“So much pressure. What’s next?”
“We teach you to connect with the universal harmonic. It helps you to tune in the Universal Consciousness, turn on to the connectedness, and drop out from the mental clutter wall separating you from Everything.”
“You must be referencing the Aum.”
“Each being connects in their own way. To humans, the way is through repetition of the Aum.”
“Aum in 108 repetitions.”
“No. Again a human distortion of knowledge shared ages ago. The 108 is manmade not universe ordained. Are you ready?”
“Yes. I think I am.”
“I will lead you. All you need do is repeat after me until you are tuned in. After that, it’s in your hands. Until then, follow me closely. So I can steer you clear of the broken worlds laying shattered inside. You’re not strong enough for those yet. Visiting one could give you a Psychic wound. They are difficult, almost impossible to recover from.”
“I’ve heard enough. Let’s kick this off. Hit it, Tree.”
“Listen closely. It is much longer. Aaaaaauuuuuuummmmmm.”
“Keep repeating. Aaaaaauuuuuuummmmmm.”
“Aaaaaauuuuuuummmmmm. Aaaaaauuuuuuummmmmm. Aaaaaauuuuuuummmmmm.” Raven croaks, almost as if it is laughing. “Hey, I’m feeling an internal vibration. Aaaaaauuuuuuummmmmm.”
“You’re getting it. Keep going. Hold the Aum longer.”
“Aaaaaauuuuuuummmmmm. Aaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuummmmmm. I’m getting a vision. Aaaaaauuuuuuummmmmm.”
“Come on? Tree what’s that supposed to mean. Aaaaaauuuuuuummmmmm.”
“David, Comme ooonnnn. I want to get to the dunes today before it’s dark. Let’s finish up this hike so we can get to the dunes.”
“Dunes?” How confusing. “Aaaaaauuuuuuummmmmm.” I feel a strong tug on my arm and open my eyes. It’s my wife.
“You’ve had enough time to photograph this dead tree. We need to get going if we’re going to make Great Sand Dunes before sunset.”
“What?” My hand is still pressed against the tree. The bark is cold. There’s no heartbeat. “What the hell? Have you been here the entire time?”
“What do you mean the entire time. It’s only been a few minutes. There’s some bright orange lichen on this petrified stump. I think they would make a great picture.”
“I can’t be worrying about pictures now. There’s so much to do if I’m going to save the world.”
“Save the world?”
“Tree said it was my destiny…” I stopped. A red mist descended over her face quickly replaced by concern.
“Don’t tell me you had another hallucination. David, this is bad…really bad.”
“They are NOT hallucinations. It was real. They were all real. I experience other dimension interconnectedness. I’m chosen. And all my experiences you call hallucinations are connected. Common elements are woven between all of them. Grandfather is the unifying thread. He either shows up or is referenced in the experience.”
“In my professional opinion, one of two things are going on. Either you have cancer and your brain is feeding upon itself or you have dementia, maybe even schizophrenia.”
“Yes. There’s no mental illness in your family history so it is more likely early-stage cancer. Hopefully, early enough to be caught and eradicated. When we get back I am going to make the Doctor’s appointment.”
“How can it be cancer? I just had a colonoscopy and it was clear.”
“Funny. I’m talking about your other brain. Not the one in your ass.”
“Ok. A shrink or a cancer doctor?”
“Both! We are going to get to the bottom of this insanity.”
“Insanity? Nice joke.”
“I’m not being funny. I am worried.”
“Ok. Ok. We will set up appointments. Shrink first so I can prove to you I’m not crazy.”