Reluctant traveler

Published 8:42 am Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Like a universe unfolding, he slowly became aware of himself. Not a sudden event, but rather a series of discoveries revealing the nature of his being.

His world was not one of comparisons, for there was nothing to compare. Everything simply was.

Touch became his teacher. The fact that things “felt” was a discovery in itself. Somehow he could “feel” things. This hinged apparatus with five protrusions became his tool of detection.

He touched the wall surrounding him. It had texture. It was soft and cushiony.

He touched the liquid surrounding him. It was smooth, warm, and easily moved aside.

Even more intriguing, his fingers could feel each other such that each could feel itself, far different than the soft wall or wet liquid.

He soon discovered there was more to him. His hands discovered his feet and his legs and his head and his ears. He had hard spots and soft spots, curves and flat places. He had a tongue and two holes in his nose. He also found out there was an end to him. He did not go on forever.

One day his mouth discovered his thumb, which opened up a whole new world. He could taste.

The wall had taste. The liquid had taste. His hand had taste. Somewhere in his mouth told him that things have flavor. But his thumb tasted best. He spent long periods tasting his thumb while still exploring.

He heard sounds. Gurgles and squishes and churnings and murmurings. Jigglings and bubbling. In the background, always, all the time, was the relentless yet mesmerizing “thumpa-thumpa-thumpa.” He also heard and felt babblings. He did not know they were words, but he did know they felt warm and good and gave him pleasure. They seemed to be part of him.

As time progressed, his world became crowded. Very crowded. His hands got in the way of his feet, which got in the way of his head. There was less room to move.

He pushed and shoved and kicked, but it helped little. He turned sideways and upside down and backwards. Things were getting tight but there was nowhere else to go. Regardless, this was his world, all he had ever known, all things familiar. He loved those gurgles and squishes and babbles. He never wanted to leave, no matter his state.

But one day, totally apart from all his desires, his world erupted. Everything changed. Powerful, scary, terrifying noises came with violent forces that somehow thrust him from his warm, comfortable place into a cold, bright, air-filled world.

He desperately wanted to return, but no one seemed to understand. He did something he had never done. He cried. And cried and cried. Then he heard that “thumpa- thumpa-thumpa” that had so reminded him of home.

He heard those old sounds and familiar voice that had come to be his world. And he closed his eyes and slept. For he knew — somehow — everything would be alright.