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Crest and Fall

The Light, the Wave, the Dance, and the Beauty

Photo by Sarah Wingfield of Vortex (2002) by Richard Serra

The world and all its many forms, many forces, many formulas, and fires of all kinds began to blur—spinning through her vision, eyes blinded by the tumultuosity, vanity, frivolity, and incessant, vigorous agony of existing in this system. All at once she was overwhelmed by the pressing need to flee and simultaneous ache to save humanity from its own hypocrisies—to be that heroine of heroes.

It came to her that each must save themselves, or in the saving become helpless—the need for speed overcame her, and with a vast and endless cry, she began running. She could hear her body sobbing and bellowing, her windpipes snapping open and closing. Her pace eradicated any previously conceived thresholds. Not a single soul on this planet of hers had ever nor would ever experience this kind of acceleration. They may all remember those pavers before her, though none had ever chosen the abyss, nor would anyone after.

It wasn’t wind that ripped through her hair or licked her face; it wasn’t the wind beating her clothing against her chafing skin. Her body chased after her soul with such immense speed it was a miracle these items remained with her at all. She heard a beat coming from her veins keeping time with the slapping of her feet against the earth as the population began to fade into the distance. Her feet and breath and pulse, the clothing slapping her aching skin, her hair crashing around her throat, and the blood-curdling yell she no longer felt insider her, each deafened her to any stimuli beyond. The echoes of her own unit built and crescendoed, climaxing louder than a hurricane, deeper than a tsunami—

Until suddenly there was nothing around her, not even her name. There was nothing for her body’s symphony to attack, nothing for her sinews to hold onto. The silence held for an eternity before she even thought to be concerned. Breath hung in the stillness of the void, yet the cry which followed our heroine whizzed past, dissipating into forever as vapor into air—hardly perceptible, yet ever-present.

As the heroine floated here, the pulse returned with a familiar ache which carried the pain and ambition of millions left behind and the millions that came before. It was subtle, but even a butterfly may freeze a planet. The heroine looked toward what might have been down and realized the body had vanished, couldn’t keep up. The soul had run away, leaving the manifestation, the home, far behind. No wonder it was so quiet, so still, so dark. A body is needed to make sound, ears to hear it, skin to feel it, eyes to see it.

The heroine’s wind caught, hanging still in the air, and it became clear the heroine was falling, collapsing in five dimensions, expanding in three...two-- then hit a solid surface. Funny. Where’s the body? It would be needed for that, but never mind; pain knows no boundaries. Not even nothing can stop it.

A woman emerged slowly in gowns yellow as the sun, hair the color of shimmering pomegranates. She, too, held the familiar ache. The heroine attempted a gasp as the visionary beauty unfurled, only to experience a wave crashing. The heroine had taken new form, one of new fluidity. The visionary stepped closer, looking out beyond the sloshing mass before her, and knelt. The woman’s knees sank into the puddle, her hands disturbing the recent calm of the settled wave. Strands of the woman’s gleaming, deep magenta hair spilled into the wave’s expanse.

The body of water seeped into the woman’s devastated pores and drenched her draping silks. The visionary collapsed entirely into the catch and release of the wave’s gentle grasp. A few moments passed as our heroine rocked the beauty into a similarly settled state. For a few moments they shared bodies, each at peace, swaying gently with the crest and fall of the breath which still hung in the everything and nothing.

As the ache released from the woman and the wave in their quiet caress, the wave became aware of a gentle dance on its surface. Beams of light played on the skin where wave gave way to air. The wave and the light delighted in this sweet exchange for some time until they realized the woman had been swallowed by their dancing. She had become the light and the wave and the dance itself, dissolved into the essence of a moment’s passing. In her absence, the many began to resurge.

This time the encounter with the many held a different note, as if each had mellowed to a quiet murmur. The beauty of the wave and the dancing light stunned the many and each slowly began to drop to their knees as the woman had before them. In reverence, each of the many fell quiet, succumbing to the intensity of the magic before them, drowning in its generosity, the gentle swish of the wave and its light. One by one they took a knee and became swallowed by it all, as the woman had. Silence once again consumed the void, save for the gentle hush of the settling wave.

Soon all that was left was the light, the wave, the dance, and the beauty.

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