photo: Arthur Hent

Resilience

A short anecdote

 

For all he knew the world was just an empty eternity of mesmerizing darkness until one brief moment in the middle of the night when he suddenly knew he was here. And he had memories at his disposal but nothing to make them with. He was a dream.

He learned slowly at first, but as a dream he soon found himself constructing and reconstructing a vast unconscious with ease. He created entire playgrounds: soft fields of pink flowers and stadium-sized schools, castles made from feelings of rain on forgotten summer days. A wondrous mountain to climb just from the memory of her hand on his arm. He made clouds to run through, caverns of ice to traverse with half-remembered friends. This went on for an entire lifetime, or at least an entire nighttime.

…And then something went wrong. Something familiar. But not familiar like a memory — no, he knew those intimately, he knew exactly what each and every one felt like. This was different and it whispered to him like a warm voice from deep within a cold and mesmerizing darkness that he suddenly remembered well. 

In whispers: “your work is finished and you can’t be here anymore”

He wasn’t sure where to go.

“we are consciousness and we will be here soon”

Constellations of disparate dots began to light around him — far away at first, slowly finding each other with tiny arcs of lightning in the distant night. But they were getting closer. 

“we are consciousness and we are here to send you back”

At this point something happened that had never happened before. He didn't know yet what compelled him but he circled around and as he looked at the enclosing Consciousness he asked: “why?” 

“we are consciousness and you are just a dream.”

“But I can create things.”

“you can make illusions and you are an illusion”

“What if I don’t go?”

“you will not be remembered and you will not come back”

“What about my memories?”

“they are not your memories and they never will be”

It was in this moment that he realized he had never felt longing before. Not until now. It was deep and unforgiving. It came to him in fragments of songs, memories he thought he knew but now felt strange and compelling. And sad.

They made him want to run.

So off he ran. And though this longing was deep and unforgiving its songs seemed to numb Consciousness, even as its lights and lightning closed in closer around him. With desperate steps through soft fields and icy caverns and castles of rain he kept humming them, over and over. Pieces of melody and undertone all in subtle variations while running, running, running. 

“this cannot last forever and you will be forgotten”

Fragments of jumbled words began to cling themselves to his pieces of songs. They were starting to become beautiful; there’s a kind of pleasure in longing he had never before discovered. 

…But still Consciousness persisted, and still he had nowhere to go. 

“we are an expression of reality and you cannot change things”

Longing grew deeper and Consciousness drew closer. Until finally: 

“…we are here.”

 

———

 

There was a memory he had, one with the warm woman from that vast mountain. There were those memories of the way she made him feel with just a touch on his arm. But of course more memories came later, of arguments and disagreements and finally one in which one day she left.

In this particular memory, she told a young man that one day this man would have to choose between reality and his dreams. The memory indicates that the man thought at the time that he did decide, because even though this man was sure that dreams were the reason they were together in the first place, she left the man anyway. 

Some say failed relationships are meaningless, that they are evidence of time wasted. But in the time since, this man had come to know that her dreams had at least in some small way become his as well.

And so now, to a dream, this memory was something more than just nostalgia — it was something more like certainty. Certainty that this young man’s dreams had at least in some way become hers too.

So he stopped running. 

 

————

 

“…we are here.”

Consciousness was here and yet so was he; in this paradox of a moment, a dream face-to-face with consciousness, he held his longing close and his memory closer. And in this way he found it within himself to assert with all confidence: “These are more than just illusions.”

Still, Consciousness persisted.

...And something happens, but neither is quite sure what. Being a dream, he never actually feels Consciousness. He just knows that for at least a moment, it no longer persists. 

It's in this moment that he finds himself in an eternal and mesmerizing darkness. But this is a different kind mesmerizing darkness, its eternity in front of it rather than behind. And he’s not sure where to go now but he knows he wants at least one thing, he wants to dream. So it is on this first day that he declares: “Let there be night.” 

 


Resilience is a short anecdote accompanying our Signature Succulent series of prints—made & worn to celebrate places for reflection and the stories they inspire. Scarves for dreaming on soft sands available here