The strangest thought keeps coming to mind.
(Physical sustenance is no longer necessary.)
The mouth sputters a chuckle, “Hah.” The mind not knowing whether it had been mocked, or revered.
“Mocked,” says the mouth.
The eyes wander out, focusing externally, pushing through thought’s hazy distraction. The forest remaining calm, as it always does. Hemlocks and dougs dripping with moss at every limb. The green stringy things coating every damp and shady nook and cranny like some old mythical grandmother who had knitted every tree its own protective layer.
(Her name would be Myrtle, like the shrub.)
Ah yes. The Pacific Wax Myrtle. Fond of full sunny days and the salty winds of coastal regions. Evergreen foliage. A slight, but pungent spicy odor.
By now, the mind has fully accustomed to hearing discorporate wisdom beamed into it from the ethereal realms. It’s what happens when you get lost in the head. It’s what happens when you lose your mind.
Attention is placed upon the body. Its oscillating field of electromagnetic frequencies perking up instantaneously. This is done to counteract the spaced out feel of abstract thinking. In this oxygen saturated space, breath is a double-shot of pure invigoration. Eyes burst open, senses fully attuned. The nose can nearly smell the photosynthetic gusto of solar and cellular interaction. And there’s that cool demeanor of dense greenery. Patience, serenity, slowing the mind to the growth rate of an oak. Then more feelings come to awareness. Deeper complexities within the body and without the mind. An immediate equalization of body temperature. An osmosis of emotional consistency. An infusion of ancient Pteridophytic wisdom, thanks to a fern brushing up against my forearm.
<Love> sends the fern.
(Agreed) the heart responds.
The young sprig of the fern’s spring growth had risen up, pressing itself into the air. At its end, a perfect spiral. The plant resonates with this human contact, sending light information from its DNA. Biophotonic emissions; subtle, but knowable vibrations. The light, a pure and absolute green, received by the pupil. From the pupil it travels through the optic nerve, then nerve to brain, and finally, by an increase in frequency and a lessening in density, the information is passed through the physical-mental barrier. The brain to mind transmission.
Mind remembers this same tone, this same texture, this same spiral from long ago. It reaches for a memory; childhood. Grade school in a small town. A boy tracing the outline of that familiar green frond. Squeaky desks. Boisterous chatter. The I begins to reconstitute itself. The old feeling of being attached to a personality returns. Voices and thoughts crowd the mind.
The head twitches. The body senses an intrusion. Oddly familiar, but origination unknown.
<Do not let conscious attention slip completely away from the body. Do not place much focus into the events. If your subtle body is projected into the akashic record, and you choose to influence what is previous, be mindful that many fall back to the self-imploding cycle of ego reenactment. You have expanded your awareness rapidly, and with rapid expansion, comes instability. A temporal lapse in consciousness could mean a close ended loop of contraction. A loop of infinite regress.>
Contraction: the process of becoming smaller. Tighter. Constricted. Restricted. Regress: to return to a previous and/or undeveloped state.
<And ultimately, a repeating of your past karmic cycle.>
The voice retracts from the mind as a tentacle recedes its grip on a lower form of life. The body’s energy normalizes. The gap is filled, the hole in Timespace in which the entity came forth. A sucking sound, then a pop. The body feels a rebound effect, a jolt that rocks back and forth, down through the head, spinal channel, then finally recycling back into the earth via my feet.
Massive Déjà vu. Nauseating Déjà vu. Then nothingness. Calm again.
(Whatever that was, it knew something ahead of this time.)
Awareness is lowered to the root, the legs and feet, anchoring this ethereal body into the mossy forest now. A red glow tinges the visual landscape. A primal force, the gravity of our Mother, pulls me down. Ready this body will ever be. The mind is given allowance to act as a window for this conscious entity as it prepares to recontemplate times past.
(Skye. That was your name).
It was only a name, much less something that this conscious entity could ever own. But delve we will into a bit of history for the sake of self-reflection.
(Give me some slack here, let me wander).
And just as if a fisherman were casting a line, the mind is sent out on a rare and momentary glimpse into a moment that is not now, a moment that was now. Twenty-nine years earlier.
A pencil lounged in between my fingers. Lackadaisically, it outlined the green fan of foliage. The silhouette composed of rows of fingers, compounded, increasingly longer towards the base. A single piece of stark white paper supplied the background. A friendly presence approached.
“Oh hey Skye. Cool, looks really nice,” said Ronnie.
“Thanks. It’s ok I guess,” I said.
(Compensate for lack of self-esteem)
I paused for a moment, looking up and around as if hearing something odd. Nothing more came. The right hand urged me to draw, waiting on standby with the pencil in its grip. I became slightly confused because I thought it was my hand, but then, it seemed to have its own intent for a second.
(Weird,) I thought. (It should have a name. Butler. Sam Butler. No, just Butler actually. Butler, because it does my bidding.)
So with my other hand, I drew a face. The black felt pen stained my white skin with wide and dilated eyeballs, with purple and green irises. Even some eyelashes. A wavy blue tongue, sticking out. And then a nose. But not just any nose. A nose with boogers. Big yucky ones.
(No, that’s too gross. Mrs. Katterly will make me wash it off. A regular nose is fine.)
“I thought we were supposed to be drawing plants. Its Earth day or something,” Ronnie reminds me.
“Oh huh,” I said, half-caring.
And then my hand spasmed for a second, hopping itself back onto the paper. My eyebrows slightly raised, what-the-hell-just-happened smeared across my face; it started doodling. Autonomously. My fingers became fleshy antennae taking in and sending out messages from another world.
(Just draw. Don’t think about it.)
It started with what looked like nothing. A random blob of curves and divets, some more pronounced than others. The pen thickened certain parts of the line. Depth unfolded. Out of this purely two-dimensional surface, a hint of organic familiarity, a dynamism that was indescribable to the rational mind the same way a Rorschach test is never just one thing. Texture was piled on. Little half circles smattered about to give the impression of thick and dry skin, perhaps reptilian. Black squares of various dimension fitted together one after the other. Shapes of unknown origin found coherence in the chaos of unencumbered creation. But beyond the irrationality of it all, something about it made sense. It felt sensical, in a nonsensical way. If that makes any sense.
“What is that supposed to be,” asked Ronnie, peeking over my shoulder.
“I don’t know, I’m not the one drawing it,” I responded. I was surprised to hear myself say this. The words coming out of my mouth somehow making solid the conceptual riff-raff in my head. It was now official. My hand had done the drawing, not I.
“What? Of course you’re drawing it. I just watched you do it.”
“No, well yeah,” I hesitated, scratching my head. “It’s like, I didn’t even try, I didn’t
want to draw. It was, you know, when your stomach is hungry, it sends you a message. Same
thing with this, it was something that was necessary.”
Ronnie laughed, well-intentioned. “Man, you’re weird.”
(At least I’m not normal, that would be worse.)
Again, I peer behind me, beside me, nothing. It seemed as though it was a thought, but it had so much more, presence.
“Alright everybody, time’s up.” The instructor, Mrs. Katterly, collected herself at the front of the room. She held her palms together in front of her heart, a smile edging on her face. “Time to show all of your classmates how much of an artist you are!”
Earlier we had gone on a field trip. By field trip I mean walked to the edge of the baseball field. A wall of cedar trees embraced the perimeter, cut at straight lines so man could have his neat, angular playing fields. Mrs. Katterly kept us corralled near the edge. We were to find a leaf, a seedhead, or some other biological knick-knack. Then, as Earth Day demanded, we were to use our forest-scraps to inspire a piece of art. A drawing. A painting. Watercolors and acrylics. Markers and stencils. I had found the fern, stout and strong, holding the ground in its explosive hand-like array. There was no choice. A frond had to be removed. Quite roughly, it was.
After we had finished our Earth Day art pieces, we thumb tacked them all to the cork-board. I looked at mine. It seemed to be the center of attention. But that was only true for me. Somebody else could be relishing their own piece and believe the same thing. In both cases, it would be true.
“Oh kids, this is fantastic!” Mrs. Katterly really enjoyed her job. She made sure to give positive feedback to every single piece. Every one of them. The red slash of a crayon could be lauded as ‘vigorous and bold’. The adding of a silly cartoon face to the outline of a maple leaf, brilliant. An inadvertent smear of lead, a ‘happy accident.’
“Great job on the Foxglove Patricia, so colorful!”
“Oh wow Brent, this one really speaks to me.”
“Kevin! I did not realize how well you could draw straight lines!”
And then she came to mine. She didn’t say anything for a moment. “Who is Butler?”
My hand raised itself.
“No. Butler did it.” I pointed to my right hand with my left like it was possessed. “Give him the credit.”
“Oh Skye,” she smiled, “you’re too cute.”
I wasn’t sure what was so cute. “Really though. I wasn’t controlling it, it was crazy.”
I got a few looks for that one. You know, the look. An immediate distinction was made. I become separate. Foreign. An immigrant that intruded upon their scene of social rules. Groups. Labels. Boundaries.
“It doesn’t look like a plant to me,” said a girl. Arms crossed. Chin up.
“Well Kaitlynn,” Mrs. Katterly spoke carefully, “everyone has their own way of interpreting the world, however…abstractly. Now Skye, I love this piece, it is quite unique, but next time, I would ask that you stick to the assignment.”
“Ok.” I muttered.
A whisper of “cheater” taunted me from behind. Then “Spaz.” Poor word usage, but it didn’t have to make sense, it was meant to hurt. A paper airplane glided into the side of my head. A round of laughter.
“Hey! Enough of that.” Mrs. Katterly warned. “Skye may have a different…viewpoint, but that doesn’t make him any less of a human being. Get back to your desks. We’re going to do some cursive.”
My cheeks became warm; I never liked being singled out. It was always discomforting. My eyes lowered to the floor. Indignant frustration set in. My vision flickered.
(I wish I wasn’t here. I wish I was at home. Why don’t they shut up? Leave me alone. I wish I wasn’t here. At least my drawing has some skill.)
The explicit mind surfaced. Worries, fears, insecurities. Where they mine? Sensory input was bogged down. The world became internal. Colors dimmed. Faces blurred. I found myself waking from the same thoughts. Then falling back into them. Believing my mind for a minute, then questioning its legitimacy for a second. A tornado that was forever spinning. Never letting go of its debris, always holding on.
(Compensate for lack of self-esteem.)
My head jolted to the left as if it would find the thought, peeking at me from behind a corner. Instead, I met the eyes of Mrs, Katterly. The class had left. I didn’t remember hearing the bell.
(It doesn’t look like a plant to me. It doesn’t look like a plant to me. It doesn’t look like a plant to me. It doesn’t look like…drawing has some skill. Skye may have. Skye may have. Skye may have a different…viewpoint.)
Echoes of thoughts, rippling through my mindspace. Pebbles hitting water, whispers turning into waves, tsunamis. My mental state about as stable as a teepee in a hurricane.
“Are you alright Skye?” Her hand rested on my shoulder.
“I don’t know.” My own response instigating a feeling of fear after the fact. “I can’t stop thinking.” My breath became short. Heart rate: jumping.
(It doesn’t look like a plant to me. It doesn’t look…)
I didn’t care about what the others said anymore. It didn’t matter. I just wanted to stop thinking.
“Well…” slightly confused she was. “You shouldn’t be trying to stop thinking. We all think Skye. It’s a way of life.” Her eyes examined mine; scattered, unfocused. She felt the sweat on my forehead. Her legs took her over to the sink. She brought me a disposable cup of water. “Drink this.”
I took it and chugged, coughing. Water trickled down my collar.
“I hope I didn’t upset you earlier. I want you to know I really enjoyed your drawing.”
“Butler’s drawing,” I corrected. “But thanks.”
“It doesn’t really matter what the other kids think.”
(Cheater. Spaz. Lunatic.) The names echoed through my head again.
I held my skull. The tension welled up inside. A feeling of hot liquid poured over the crown of my scalp, dripping downwards like there were no physical obstructions, no grey matter. It rested behind my eyes.
(Compensate for lack of self-esteem. Why don’t they shut up. At least my drawing had skill.)
The liquid condensed. Magma, drilling, pulsing.
Mrs. Katterly saw the pain on my face, and sensed it was much deeper than outside appearances.
“My thoughts,” I tried describing, as useless as it was. “These thoughts. I don’t even know…who’s. They’re just, everywhere. They won’t go away.” And that’s the best I could muster. Each thought had a heaviness, a tempting allure to engage. It wanted power, it wanted recognition. It wanted control over the mind I thought was mine. But how could it be if I couldn’t even think the thoughts I wanted to think?
I hadn’t been breathing, focusing too much on my mind. The chest ballooned, the throat opened. The body jolted with new breath, and I woke for a brief second.
“Yeah…take deep breaths Skye. Hold on.”
Mrs. Katterly ran, as best she could in her heals, to her desk. Pulling open a drawer, she rifled through and withdrew the emergency contact list. Her fingers punched a series of digits that corresponded to my mother.
“Hi, Luanne?” Perplexion in Mrs. Katterly’s normally strong voice.
“This is Sarah Katterly at West Hills Elementary. Your son Skye, does he have any mental disorders I should know about?”