As I sit down, a small brown stone catches my eye and I pick it up. It sits in my palm like a little leaden weight, pressing down – solid, sure, real. I roll it around in my fingers and move it from hand to hand, feeling its substance.
It makes me sigh. I wish that I could feel so dependably real. Instead, I feel as if I drift in and out, wavering in my sense of self, in my very grasp of reality. I seek a solid place within myself and come up empty.
Someone joins me on the log. I’ve been staring the stone, so I did not see them approach, did not even see them sit down. It’s just that, eventually, I notice another presence here. “Hello.” I venture.
“Hello.” I answer. It is me I sit beside. I reach over to put my hand on my knee, but it goes straight through to the log. ‘See,’ I think to myself, ‘No substance. No certitude.’
“Silly one, the other me chides in response to my efforts to touch. You never really will be outside yourself. Accept it. You cannot see yourself quite so objectively. There is no one else you will know so well or so little; no one else so difficult to influence, yet no one else that you can really change. Life is just a quandary… but a pleasant one if you can release your fears and dread and jump into the adventure.”
“Trust a bit. Run a bit. Let yourself be yourself without so minute a self-inspection. You need room to breathe. Let go the self-inspection for a bit and just be.”
I look at me and smile. I’m right, you know. “Okay. Race you to that well,” I say, pointing to it in the distance. I take off running down the hill, trying to get a head start.
We run, faster and faster down the hill, almost falling into each step, oblivious to that threat, trusting that even a fall would take us closer. It is quite a race.
Of course, we would.