Short Story

April 23, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography

When I was tiny, kindergarten and before, I was fascinated by dinosaurs.  My infatuation lasted many years, at least until I was 12.  I would look at my little “guys” and wonder at how one species evolved into the next, estimating which ones were the closest relatives.  My love of these replicas of ancient reptiles led me to an adoration of science in general.  The “how” of things had captured by imagination.  My bedroom was filled with science toys:  a mechanical solar system with a crank, invisible man and women, chemistry set, geology display, water rockets, crystal radio….

When I was in sixth grade, my mother was diagnosed with manic depression and was institutionalized.  This first time was for two years.  “How” things worked suddenly became not relevant.  I wanted to know “why” things were the way they were.  The scientist stepped back and the artist stepped forward.  In junior high, I began exploring religion, spirituality and psychic phenomena, which bridged over to high school explorations of Sartre, Camus, Jung, Freud and, of course, Darwin.

Tiny, I wanted to know the mechanics of the world.  Older, I wanted to know why people broke and how to make them whole again.  I wanted to feel whole again.

Entering college, it was difficult for me to accept the stories told to me of how the world worked.  The world did not work.  It was broken.  I wanted to know how it really worked.  Subscribing to the hippie ethic, I attended Left political events.  I was desperate to find out how the world really worked.  I wanted to not feel frightened anymore.

I was blessed to be broken in a way that suggested where the wholeness was hidden.  I so wanted to not be frightened anymore that I would risk more terror to have it end.  End it did.  Finally, I risked love.

I was almost forty years old.  For almost a year I’d been in love.  I’d never been in love before.  I did not know I could be in love.  At 39, I became astonished at my newly discovered ability to understand what popular music lyrics were communicating.  Having never been in love, I had always found their meaning to be opaque.

Still, the relationship was over.  I was filled with grief.  I was filled with remorse.  I was filled with loss.  Most of all, I was filled with a deep certainty that I’d been through it before.  I knew, deep down before memory, that I’d lived in union, lost the union, and survived.  Week after week, this deep deja vu body memory persisted.

I remembered, before memory began, that I was loved.  Then the dreams began.  They lasted almost a year.

“How” and “Why” combined.  Science, art and spirituality began to play.  Dinosaurs danced with existentialists and saints.  Of course, everything is connected.  Societal transformation, biological evolution, individual ontogeny.  They are all the same thing.  They begin with love.


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