“Mizu no kokoro…or ‘mind like water’” ~ a Zen phrase
…in the face of emergency, a mind that is calm, or like still water, more accurately reflects what it sees.
Ch 18 ~ Minds like Water
“Kid,” Spence’s voice swam through the stream and reached Dryst’s mind just as Dryst and Mya were holding each other’s thoughts in complete wonderment: like a precious creation that breathed and promised the fullness of all of its miracle, like a dazzling jewel that sparkled and shone through all of life’s facets. And in the midst of all of this momumentous happening, Mya and Dryst did the most simple and the most profound of things. Oh they gazed. They stood motionless and gazed. And oh they marvelled and revelled in the incredulity of the fact that they had found each other in this strange world at all where one event after the other event conspired to be stranger than the next event…against all odds and all probability, against all imaginings and all possibility.
Mya thought to catch her breath and breathed in his breath; Dryst thought to catch his breath and breathed in her breath. Their eyes widened in surprise, held together in delight, smiled together in astonishment. They each inhaled with amazement, making no sounds at all, as they stood completely dumbfounded, in awe over the fact that they were communicating in this manner…so deeply, so intimately, so instinctively on so many different levels, in so many different ways.
Unbelievable…yet it is truth, they both thought with utter surprise and somehow at the very same time, a complete and full knowing. How nearly ridiculous in the minds of most who fool themselves into believing that nothing is unknown beyond that which is known, or that nothing is conceivable beyond that which has already been conceived. Proof of the incompleteness of such narrow beliefs stood there present in the Stream and there on the plateau. Because in the face of something too large to be understood in its entirety or to overwhelming to be grasped in its completeness stood Dryst and Mya — amazingly so, stunningly so, and for them both, joyfully so — completely transparent in the Stream of Consciousness with all of each of their individual selves standing completely naked before and with the other.
The world is not flat and neither is the mind. Neither is existence.
And they realized that perhaps the majesty of it all was best described in its most pure, most simple of forms: A smile. A dance. Their thoughts swirled and interchanged, merged and joined together in a dance of all ages and all dimensions. And it was amazing. And it was timeless. And it was without boundaries. And it was known. Complete and total. Truth.
Dryst smiled, softly and gently. Mya smiled, softly and gently, too.
I see you. I feel you. I know you. Oh so well. And oh…so very much more…
Their thoughts hovered and gazed and just about chuckled. And then they did chuckle and giggle (their thoughts and Mya and Dryst, both), and they did so as one.
High on the plateau overlooking the upside down forest and the rambling, lazy roll of the smaller hills on and about the land, she stood. Her hand placed gently over her chest as if holding her heart, her eyes transfixed unwaveringly along the stream that lay far in front of her but in which she felt, and knew herself to be so very unequivocally there, Mya stood and stared in amazement at the exact spot where Dryst had paused in his walk through that inconceivable — in that unbelievable, Mya and Dryst both thought, but oh how they both believed, oh how they both knew — tunnel of pink snow that curled and blended and glimmered along the open wilderness of the Origin. And that carried within it all at once a voice that broadcasted itself a bit more urgently now.
“Hey…” Spence’s words moved up closer into Dryst’s face, examining and quizzing. “…kid…” His words just about rippled in the stream as if they were trying to break through to the other side…possibly beyond the stream? possibly into the exact space of some person some place and who is that person and what of that space, Dryst frowned just as suddenly at the rush of thoughts. “Still with me, kid?” Spence asked again with some amount of force even as he tentatively placed a hand on Dryst’s shoulder with some amount of care and lightly shook his arm.
“You are connected,” Cy’s voice whirled in its monotone fashion through the air. She knew his twirling, humming eyes were rambling over her, registering the movements of this facial muscle, noting how the lifting of that facial muscle had bested the effects of gravity. Oh Mya could feel Cy’s mind on her. And she knew his articulated fingers of metal and wires and engines gingerly lay around her shoulder cap. She could feel those, too, gently pressing around her arm.
I see you, Dryst and Mya said together. And I see where you are, Mya added in hurried, hushed tones, not entirely sure why she suddenly lowered her thoughts in an effort to make them even smaller in the stream…in an effort to make them invisible to the world and visible only to Dryst and Dryst alone. She suddenly felt other thoughts awakening around them but not of their own; she suddenly felt other intention emerging into light, but again not of their knowing…at least not fully of her awareness as too much was coming at her in the Stream…but maybe Dryst could know, she wondered, and in response, he frowned at the randomness and currents and rush of the waves as he surfed through them. But Mya carried a growing sense of foreboding still and questioned why this would suddenly come over her and give her pause, but, come to think of it, she thought…
War is coming, the little golden haired voice sang. Here here, all around, the butterfly purred.
Yes, Dryst agreed, and then, just like Mya, he reduced his thoughts to flow along a single stream that consisted only of their minds while the minds from all over — conceivable and inconceivable, intelligible and unintelligible — tossed and swirled chaotically and randomly…with several thoughts butting up insistently against those of Mya and Dryst, trying to seek them out with great deliberateness.
The Other scowled deeply in thought. Ophania’s mood snarled in unison, but that was nothing out of the ordinary for Ophania. Still, she felt something more perplexing that usual in the air. She edged her head out of the open window, and cast her eyes down from the tallest of the library towers that spiked upward and sliced into the sky. Ophania detested this library. Oh, the height of its exterior was of no worry to Ophania. It was the confines of the library interior that caused her jaw to clench. The room was too big and yet for all its size, conveyed itself in such a claustrophic way as to make an Eternal whail. Every surface, every appointment was pristine and glossy, clean and shiny, buttoned and zipped and tied with such a neatness and a politeness as to be tantamount to tortureous and enough to set her skin crawling in a rebellious outburst of frothing raging colors.
What is happening, the Other spoke at last. Her tone clipped. Her words sharpened.
Alarmed, Spence stepped forward. He was about to take both of Dryst’s shoulders into each hand and shake the kid but good to snap him out of whatever trance had seized him.
I will come to you, Mya said breathlessly. I see you. I will come to you.
And also then…
Stay here with me, the way you are..I will find you…where I see you…Stay, Dryst said urgently. It’s becoming too dangerous…stay the way you are. Stay, he said with an almost pleading insistence, as much as Dryst could ever possibly plead but for all of his strength and evenness, for all of his brilliance and wisdom, even without complete immersion into every bit of cosmic consciousness great and small, he knew a danger was gathering and pursuing and nearly upon him. And after all that he has been through, after all that he had done to completely alter the world to find her, he couldn’t tolerate Mya being put in the line of fire. He could fight for his life better — with a ferocity of mind and body, and an abandon of reserve and worry, and a primal instinct of unbreakable determination and resolve — knowing that Mya was safe and away from harm.
I will fi–
And then her thoughts broke off and his thoughts broke off, scattered about — their threads stretching and thinning but holding — by a fierceness of mulling that had bullied its way in.
Dryst exhaled sharply and pulled himself upright, startled and nearly panicked. Mya gasped and lunged forward down the plateau, down to the lumbering fringes of the rolling hills. She raced forward headlong, body outstretched, as fast as her legs could speed her; she cut through the air with her lithe form, her torso constricted, her arms and legs pumping tightly, her feet biting into the ground. She ran blindly into the purple-grey mist, the cyborgs and the warriors silently, stealthily cutting through the atmosphere with her, moving rapidly with a powerful singlemindedness of purpose — unspoken and undenied – that contained a growing alarm. They ran hot and direct, deep and unstopping, knowing with absolute certainly exactly where she was going.
Dryst knew. He sensed deep within his soul. And still he knew that Mya was safe and away from the gathering storm. He knew. He sensed deep within himself that the Stream of Consciousness roiled as if from a mounting energy that dragged and pounded forward from the force of an insurmontable tsunami that originated in some massive thought-quake from some epicenter of being. And even through all of this, Dryst managed to place his hands calmly around Spence’s wrists and slowly lowered his arms down.
“I’m fine. I’m fine,” he managed to say, evenly and quietly.
“Kid,” the old man’s voice hushed itself along the snowflakes. “kid…” his tone betrayed his disbelief, “what’s happening to you.”
“It’s not me,” Dryst said quietly. “It’s not what’s happening to me,” he whispered as if he was talking to himself. He looked straight ahead, along the center of the stream, along the glistening pink snowfall that tumbled more heavily now, more clustered together, more intensely, and with more brilliance.
Slowly, Spence followed Dryst’s eyes. He turned his body, but he didn’t have to turn at all, because it was true in the opposite direction. It was true in every direction. The snow had increased, nearly blizzard like but not quite. And yet they didn’t freeze in it. They had never frozen in it. The only effect that the Stream had…that the snow had – other than its profound effect on Dryst — was that it cast their skin and clothing in a slight pink hue. But now Spence began to notice for the first time what Dryst had noticed several minutes ago. The stream was beginning to shed all hues. The stream was transforming itself into a brilliant light.
“This…shouldn’t…seem…to…be…a…big…deal…” Spence mumbled sluggishly. His voice was as thick and as heavy as mollasses.
“Yeah,” Dryst asked more than he said, then added, “I feel as troubled by all of this as you sound to be about it all, old man.”
Dryst and Mya, the warriors and the butterfly, the cyborgs and Spence, the Other and Ophania and her clan all watched — frozen in mind and in time — as a brilliant and pure radiance began to unveil itself from every part of the Stream. Its brilliance ribboned its way through the Origin and outshone the galaxy on the floorbed of the upside down forest. And all at once…there was light…and Dryst and Mya…and the warriors and the butterfly…the cyborgs and Spence…the Other and Ophania and her clan…all at once and altogether swallowed a collective gasp as they witnessed the land of the Origin display itself before them. The redwoods hung magnificiently upside down, their broad branches swaying in the breeze near the floorbed…their roots, dividing and expanding, twisting and twirling themselves into the clouds, shaping and reshaping where and how they knitted themselves into one huge connected organism that was rooted in the skies. And as the Stream continued to almost cleanse itself, Dryst thought, and the light began to spread, some of them marvelled in fascination and others of them ground their teeth in anguish as the galaxy on the forest bed began lifting itself up and merging its particles with the radiance of the Stream. The light grew brighter around Dryst and Spence, and absorbed itself evenly and elegantly, rapidly and smoothly throughout the Stream, washing away any greyness or heaviness and sweeping itself down the path on its way to the foothills and the mountain that Dryst could clearly see for the first time stood beyond. Something had pulled his mind there, something had told him all along to look there…there there there, the butterfly whispered earlier so quietly so lowly Dryst hadn’t even noticed at the time…
He raised his head to the mountain, high above, and with the help of the bright light, Dryst saw the great concrete towers that spiralled out of the mountain top like a jagged and mighty crown and smoked themselves into the endless night…which was rapidly becoming overrun with light.
For all but Dryst and Mya, the blossomming radiance mezmerized all living beings into place, holding life captive either with extreme pleasure or extreme fear. But Dryst kept moving his eyes and his mind. He stepped slowly forward, one foot deliberately in front of the other. And Mya hurtled even faster down the rolling hills, her pace challenging the stamina and endurance of the warriors, her energy bursting out even louder than the cyborg collective when it was fully jacked into itself and hooked up to the internet.
They had sensed the fear, Mya and Dryst had. Eons ago. What seemed to be eons ago but really was minutes ago. They had felt its arrival, Mya and Dryst had. They had felt it unfurl itself slowly at first, imperceptively at first, but at the edges most definitely within the Stream. They had known it…even before the fear itself had known of its own presence…even before the darkness itself had armed itself with the weapons of uncontrolled anger.
“Ophania,” the Other growled. She swallowed her rage, a rage that contorted her delicately painted face, a rage that spat in the face of her manufactured sense of order. Her veins throbbed with revulsion at the exposure of her world laying open and bare before all, and she choked on the deliberately proper and controlled voice that she strained within herself to find.
“Ophania,” the Other repeated again at last.
The witch’s eyes hissed at the ground. Ophania’s pupils shuttered rapidly out in the shape of engorged spiders. Her hair writhed and screamed in knotted fury. Her skin flared red and purple, coiling over itself from a steaming protesting angst.
“Unleash your worst.” the Other snarled.
Just as the brilliance began to ascend and conquer the vestiges of greyness and flatness around Dryst and Spence and began moving forward, down deeper ahead of them on the path, Dryst knew — every bone in his body told him — he would see something. He would see someone. He would see his worst fears coming at him down the path. Emerging out of what had been slowly lifting shadows from the furthest end of the path but had now become a cloak of purple-grey darkness that swept back into the Stream came two images. They were covered in darkness and unfolded themselves mangled and twisted fashion.
National Novel Writing Month: Chapter 18 total wordcount: 2665 (not including this notation). Total total count: 32,095. (still behind gah! and still determined and…yes, I can, smiles. Yes, we can, smiles.)