It was amazing.
The adrenalin rush, the hypnotic lull, the mesmerizing splendor, all at once I was thrown into the vortex of Nature!
I was riding the passionate rivers, meandering through cities, small villages and virgin forests. It was the race of a lifetime. While I was swimming against time, others were on hover boats, rafts…anything that could let them 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 evolving, the ever giving,and theever 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. It was the only chance I had. I did not waste any time and swam as if the spirit of the Salmon had possessed me.
The world was drying out. The soul of the Earth was parched and the mantle crackled and moaned. The cities had to conserve every drop of water they could.The Earth was dotted with metallic reservoir tanks holding billions of gallons of waterthat had been sourced from the last remaining rivers, lakes and oceans. It was survival. It was our last breath. The metallic tanks were also our meditation spots. When we pined for the cool hues of the water, we would gather around these tanks and meditate for hours, imagining the ocean waves caressing and easing our weary thoughts.
My eyes were lost in a dizzy of emotionsas I swam the river, because I knew that this would be my last swim. Reveling in the sensations of Nature, of wilderness, of purity, for one delirious split second, I lost myself. I could have died at that very 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 bed of pebbles. The river had vanished. The race was over. All traces of magic were 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 a subconscious bubble of joy, where only seconds ago the memory was a reality, alive and throbbing. I could see the young faces of 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 bliss on their faces.
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 irrevocably by a single humbling and overpowering touch of Mother Nature. In hindsight, this transformational emotion could have saved us from destruction.
Alas, how soon does mankind forget!
Alas, how much we take for granted.
As I headed towards the tunnel leading to the landing of the transport capsules, I heard an imperceptible whisper. A pencil outline of a door appeared on the side wall of the tunnel. Burning with curiosity, I moved towards the papery thin door. Within the misty realms on 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, completely entranced.I was startled and frightened, but the watery figureemanated 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 that I have died and this is my Angel of Death which is carrying me into the next world. I followed this glistening noblephantom through endless, cold, dark and damp tunnels on the other side of the papery door.
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 imagined 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 that has never been 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 overcame my senses. A feeling you have always known existed, yet never believed it to be true.
Alien yet relaxing. That’s how it felt.
Lost in this orbit of phantasmagoria time had no meaning anymore. There 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 to a place that was always mine.
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 cells that shimmered and shone with polychromatic light that defied all lawsof physics. Suspended in complete thoughtful animation, they exuded a feeling of ultimate compassion.
Alien yet relaxing.
The watery figure and these 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. They added that once my journey was complete, they will resume their conversation.
I heeded their advice and followed my watery companion. Winding our way through this luminescent landscape, 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 unknown tune. Somehow it was known to me, an 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 born of purity.
If only joy could last forever.
The water slowly became darker, murkier, slimier and sluggish. 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 utter 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. Mortified, I knew that my end was near.
The gentle snowflake creatures warned me that if this was to continue my present world will perish. They revealed to me that for billions of years they had been the 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 uncontrollably.
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, the keepers of Mother 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 once again in a glassy man-made tunnel surrounded by my fellow thrill seekers, all waiting in line to board the transport capsules.
I wonder if they understood what had happened to our Mother Earth? Did they understand that every drop of water they thoughtlesslydrank 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 the 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 pen down this vision or premonition 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.
‘The Plastic Bottle’