It was amazing.
The adrenalin rush, the hypnotic lull, all at once! I was riding the passionate rivers, meandering through cities, towns and forests. It was the race of a lifetime. While I was swimming, others were on hover boats, rafts…anything that could brave the unknown surprise of these dangerous yet beckoning waters. We all had one thing in common, we wanted to experience the primal force. The ever giving, ever healing, ever inspiring source of unbridled joy- the ‘River’.
Once in every one hundred years the City let humanity experience this marvel of nature. So yes, for me it was a chance of a lifetime, when I could feel the touch of this ancient force.
The world was drying. The cities had to conserve every drop they could, and the earth was dotted with metallic reservoir tanks, holding millions of gallons of water, from all possible sources. It was survival. It was our last breath.
My eye’s almost lost in a dizzy of exhilaration, I swam the river as if it would be my last swim. Reveling in the sensations of nature, of wilderness, of purity. I could have died at that moment, and not have regretted it.
In the midst of this stormy burst of sensations, I heard a loud banging sound, and in one heart stopping moment we were all sitting on a dry bed of pebbles. The river vanished. The race was over. All magic gone. Our bodies became motionless as did our thoughts.
This was all the City could afford. I soaked in every millisecond, locking the memory in the subconscious, where only seconds ago the memory was a reality, alive and bubbling. I could see the young faces of all the children who were observing us intently from their assigned look out posts- confused and disappointed that their short lived adventure was over. In another hundred years, they will hopefully get their chance to take this journey. I sincerely pray they get to experience the purity and wild caress of the river. I will not be around to see their bewilderment, their enchantment and the splendor of the experience.
I had my chance today, and this was enough to carry me into the next world. I was at peace now, or was I?
Hurriedly we gathered our gear, and started heading towards the transport capsules located on the riverbanks, that would take us back to the city. Life returns to normal, but not our souls. They have been altered by a single humbling yet overpowering touch of Mother Nature. This transformational event could have saved us.
Alas, how soon does mankind forget!
As I headed towards the tunnel leading to the transport capsules, I heard an imperceptible voice. A pencil outline of a door appeared on the side of tunnel. Hesitating, yet curious, I moved towards the vision of a door. Within the realms of the other side of the door, I saw a shadowy translucent figure that beckoned me to follow. Paralyzed with horror, I knew that this was insanity, anyone else would have run for their life, but curiosity is a brave thing, so I followed this watery shape shifting figure in fluid trance- as inhuman as it looked, it emanated a sense of familiarity, and nobleness.
How quickly does the human mind pass judgment out of ignorance and fear. If one were to give tangible features to nobleness, it would be in the form of this watery figure.
I think I have died and this is my Angel of Death, which is carrying me into the next world. I followed this glistening ghost through endless cold, dark and damp tunnels.
It seemed a lifetime until we reached our final destination, if one can call it that. Bright glowing vividness within a web of misty shades, colors never imaged or seen by any living creature, waterfalls suspended from the clouds, vines climbing into nowhere, and sparkling gems floating in mid air. The landscape was surreal, magnificent, a painting that knows no canvas, and was never touched by a brush- it felt like the womb of a mother. It was silent, and the space was filled with circles of liquid comfort. An alien though relaxing feeling. A feeling you have always known existed, yet never believed it to be true. A natural conflict.
Alien yet relaxing. That’s how it felt.
Lost in this orbit of phantasmagoria, time had no meaning anymore. It was only the perception of multiple dimensions, and a feeling of final calm. Strange as it may sound I was not the visitant anymore, rather an inhabitant, that had left this place eons ago, only to return with what I had learned on my journey. Little did I know, that my previous journey was foetal compared to what I would learn from this ephemeral vision.
The watery figure dressed in moss like robes, asked me to follow once again. I did. After walking for a long time along what seemed like ancient rivers, the figure halted and pointed down towards the ethereal waters. The water was teeming with snowflake-like beings. Planktonic amorphic globular beings, that shimmered with inconceivable polychromatic light that defied all laws. Suspended in complete thoughtful animation, they exuded a feeling of ultimate compassion.
Alien yet relaxing.
The figure and these water snowflake creatures began to communicate. I could understand every word. It was like being in the middle of a telepathic marathon. Their mutual tone was that of concern, and pity. The creatures then spoke to me in the same telepathic tongue. They told me that I must now observe everything that is to come and not lose sight of my watery companion as we embark on a winding journey along the rivers and streams. Once I reach the end, they will continue their conversation.
I did just that. Winding our way through this luminescent soulscape, I noticed an array of mystical wildlife, in complete harmony with the surroundings. Candy colored dragonflies flitted about me, as if giving me company. The waters became bluer and bluer and the snowflake creatures multiplied in numbers. The river was now a flowing stream of snowflakes. The air was humming some unheard tune. Somehow it was known to me, some ancient lullaby. I continued my walk and soon realized that I became one with the ‘spirit’ of nature- it was pre-conception, the ultimate of joy in purity.
If only joy could last forever.
The water slowly became darker, murkier, sluggish and slimy. My watery friend, now a dried shell of a thing, motioned me to stop. The snowflake creatures told us that this was where my journey ended. The waters were dying. They told me that there had been a race of beings that was responsible for this heinous act. Their cruelty, recklessness, and extreme lack of responsibility had killed the river and all things belonging to it. A wave of mourning struck me. The air hummed no more. Instead of the magical mist, plumes of smog floated down and lingered above the sad murky remnants of the river. The smog morphed into human faces, and mortified, I knew that my end was near.
The gentle snowflake creatures warned me that if this was to continue, my world will die. They revealed to me that for billions of years they had been guardians of the ‘Water’. Tirelessly devoting their life to maintaining the rivers of the world. Unyielding was their love for regeneration, purification and ecological stability. Feelings of gloom overtook me, and my soul was weeping.
I knew about this cruel and reckless race they spoke of. They were called humans.
This intelligent race was originally created to be the true caretakers of the planet, the lovers of life, and the keepers of Nature and all creatures great and small. This was their ONLY duty. They failed. They turned against the very same planet that sustained them, fed them, and gave them life.
The snowflake creatures glowed with a red hue…and vanished.
I was standing in a glassy tunnel, surrounded by my fellow thrill seekers, waiting in line to board the transport capsules.
I wonder if they understood what had happened to our Mother Earth? If they understood that every drop of water they drink from their plastic bottles is more precious than life itself? Do they know that without water, life will be extinct? How did we accomplish this task? Every single human being is responsible for committing this final crime. Final, because after this, our race will only be a memory in the annals of cosmic history. We will leave behind a legacy of dishonor. We are traitors of ‘life’.
My heart was drying, just like rivers. The room of my conscience was filled with doom.
I too was a perpetrator and therefore in my simple head, I had to write down the vision I had and leave it in a plastic bottle for future races (if any) to read and be warned. Perhaps this note might become my redemption.
At least I tried.