Like a golden coin glinting under the sun, hidden amidst swishing blades of grass, he appeared to me as though a midsummer night’s dream one late morning at the end of June.
I was being carted off — There is something about routine and contracts that turn you against yourself, that make you wake up in spite of the sleepiness assailing you, the feeling of being yanked back into dark unconsciousness as though knocked out by a gloved hand, emerging only because of sheer duty…fear? And yet, I chose, choose everyday to do this. Not a day goes by that is not my choice. It is not obligation that wakes me. Not the idea of losing a job that fuels my fear—it is dreams, growth, the many small, wonderful things that can happen during the day. I am not repulsed by this routine because I am not trapped in it. I am not caught in the stream of everydays, submerged by the currents of norms and expectations, struggling to break through and ultimately resigned to be taken wherever the waters will. No : I choose. I choose everyday to do what I do.
And so, I was carting myself off to work in a shuttle that seemed to be going both slow and fast, as though someone was playing with the fast-forward and rewind buttons in a film. Some moments passed in a blur, evaporated from my consciousness as though they had never existed. Others were so startling, so vivid I could almost touch them through the glass of the window.
We were going through what, next to the glittering shore and the tunnel of trees bent over the road, is turning out to be one of my favourite passing-places. Going through there feels like exploring a painting. Or better yet, like the mental image of the artist painting it. We were navigating rows upon rows of fields that stretched on beyond what the eye could see. Layers of rich, tilled soil gleamed under the sun, and the soft greenery of saplings covered the slopes and dips of the scenery as though a coat of light snow. Shimmering, the tender pink of crop-flowers bent with the wind, spreading a delicate scent of wildness about.
And in the middle of all this, the dwarfed bus puttered on in the motorway that had never, before that moment, seemed so narrow, so modest.
There were grass-cutters about, busying themselves as though ants in a great wilderness. The smell of freshly-cut grass sliced through the thickness of glass windows, filling my nostrils, memories of an old garden rushing back lightning-fast.
And there he was, liminal, someplace in between the fields and the motorway.
A midsummer night’s vision that appeared one late morning in the month of June—lying in a roadside ditch.
There where the strange trees grow, the ones with the large gaps in their foliage that let sunlight stream through as though through a sieve. There, where the grass stops just shy of growing, where, a few centimetres away, gravel crunches underneath your foot. There, right there in the softness of the earth, he lay. And looked at indescribable things some ways beyond the interstices in the yellow-green leaves. A thousand little suns danced in his vision, kaleidoscopic and infinite as his arms crossed behind his head. His legs were sprawled out, his feet pillowed by a mattress of grass and roadside flowers. He looked as though he had been dropped from the sky, and his first instinct was to lay down and contemplate the worlds around him.
All around, the grass-cutters and their scythe-like machines buzzed on, sending grass flying up and down and sideways, over his head. But with a thousand little suns shining on brightly all around him, he simply did not belong to the same stratosphere.
The way the bus whooshed past, I could not have seen him for more than 3 seconds.
And yet, one late morning at the end of June, as I was carting myself off to work, I saw a man lying in a roadside ditch, a midsummer night’s vision, an image of freedom seared into my mind. And oh, the choice he embodied, to be lying under the trees one late morning, to be swimming in the lights of otherworlds….He was…ethereal, superlunary. It was his choice to be. For a split second, I envied him but I knew he had made his choice and I, mine.
But the light of a thousand little suns, even through a bus window, even for 3 seconds’ time is not something that you can forget.
Not even now. In my head, it is the same as that day. A thousand suns burn bright, infinite.