A pearl of clear water appears before my eyes – one of the occasional droplets that splash down cave walls to form rivulets and ripples made of stone.
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 cave floor is alive with them – hardened gardens of ever-growing forms.
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. The deeper I look into the tiny sphere the more I see – atavistic visions of ancient times, the first hand print on a cave wall, the long history of our species, an intelligent world – the end of the universe. I see the multicolor pointillist patterns of my art commingled with his sublimely ancient and futuristic imagery. I see everything at once.
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.
The answer comes from within, “This is a dream. Just wake up.”
I can’t move…my jaw feels like it weighs ten-thousand pounds. No sound emerges from my open throat. I catch sight of him again – a reflection in a sphere. I raise my eyes and he is back. Alive again but not for long. In that moment I can see – he is dying.
A pearl of clear water appears before my eyes – it is not like the droplets that splash down cave walls to form rivulets and ripples made of stone.
This droplet is not like those at all. I look up to trace its trajectory. It did not fall from the ceiling like the other drops.
It is moving slowly, inexorably down his cheek.