This is an anecdote from my childhood as clear today as it was then. The sensation altered my life – a spiritual epiphany.
Head In The Clouds
I was fed up mooching around. Jeff’s Mum had dragged him off shopping. I was on my own.
I set about touching up my track bike; the one I’d put together from parts I’d dragged out of ditches. I’d painted it in rainbow colours scrounged from my Dad. It needed touching up because it took a battering on our little race track in the woods.
After, I oiled the wheels and chain and adjusted the peg holding the cigarette cards so they flicked on the spokes sounding like a motorbike.
I decided to call round for my mate Tone. Perhaps we could go hunting lizards? With the roar of the cigarette card engine, I set off up the street.
Tony wasn’t in so I decided to go on my own. The meadows weren’t that far away. I threw my bike into the long grass and started hunting. I checked under the sheets of corrugated iron, poised to fling myself down on any snake or slowworm, but there was nothing. I stealthily crept through the long grass straining my senses for the rustle of a lizard that I could dive on, but to no avail.
I soon lost the enthusiasm. It was too hot. I sat in the meadow, lost in the tall grasses. The smell of sun-dried hay, the delicate scent of wildflowers hung on the breeze. The meadow was alive with the bustle of activity. I watched, lost in fascination. Grasshoppers, harvestmen and beetles scurried here and there. The flowers were covered in colourful flower beetles, shield bugs and tiny flies. Honeybees, bumblebees, hoverflies and butterflies droned or flitted from flower to flower. Ants tended and milked their herds of greenfly.
It felt like I was peering through a microscope at a different world as they went about their business oblivious to my presence. I watched them feeding, seeking a mate, or scurrying around intent on some task that only they knew.
The air was full of electricity, powered by the heat generated by that summer sun. The sun beat at my skin but this late in the summer I’d already peeled, my skin now tanned dark brown, impervious to its rays. Delicious.
I plucked a long stem of grass, lay back enveloped in its rich aroma, surrounded by the industrious dynamo of nature, serene, sated.
I chewed, peering up into the azure blue sky, watching the odd cloud drift past, at peace.
As my eyes pierced the heavens an idea surfaced in my head: there was no end. The more my eyes penetrated into that pool of blue the more the incredible idea gripped me. There was no barrier, no end, I was staring into forever. The dizzying realisation of infinity seemed to take hold of me. The blue seemed to whirl and suck me into it, falling up into the euphoric metaphysical epiphany of the discovery of infinity.
Just like those bugs, my whole life was minuscule. Reality was infinite. Nothing more.
Opher – 22.3.2022 500 words.