A pearl of clear water drops slowly before my eyes. Tens of drops like this fall constantly from stalactites high above. They splash down cave walls forming rivulets. After hundreds of years the rivulets cut channels in the limestone. After thousands of years the cave is deeply rutted with grooves. Sometimes the drops fall directly downward and deposit their microscopic loads of dissolved stone until small mineral piles grow straight up against gravity. The floor is studded with them – stone gardens of glowing, growing spikes.
I am transfixed by this single droplet that has stopped like a dead man’s heart. I can see the entire cave reflected complete within it in a moment of crystallization. The deeper I look into the tiny sphere the more I see. I see atavistic visions of ancient times, prehistoric images, the history of art, the world – the ends of the universe. I see the multicolor patterns of my art commingled with Keith’s sublime imagery. I see at once all sides of space and time.
Interconnected chambers of this cavernous place are repeated within the clear surface of the orb. The maze of tunnels is dense, yet I traverse each one in the blink of an eye. Each passage leads back to this oceanic droplet. It grows in size threatening to engulf me.
I call out to him. He is not here. I hear instead a female voice penetrating the darkness.
“There is no one, Art – no one else here.”
“Then who are you?”
“I am you,” she says. “It has always been this way and you know it very well. Why go on pretending. Why must you continue this dream?”
I try to respond…but I am dumbstruck. I catch sight of him again – a reflection in the sphere. I raise my eyes and he is back. He is alive but not for long. In the instant of my gaze, I see very clearly he is dying.
A pearl of clear water drops slowly before my eyes. Tens of drops like this fall constantly from stalactites high above. They splash down cave walls forming rivulets…
This droplet is not like those. I look up to trace its trajectory. It did not fall from the ceiling like the other drops. It did not fall at all.
It is moving again now, slowly, inexorably, just a little farther down his cheek.
(to be continued…)
Image: “Cave Mind Orb,” Digital Image Collage, Tullio DeSantis, 2009.