It sits in a flagstone courtyard in the middle of a manicured field – a shallow, bronze bowl, filled with clear water. Concentric circles ripple outward from the bowl’s center to its smooth sides. Together we work, he and I, to keep the bowl filled. We each lug buckets, paths intersecting back and forth.
I cross the field’s shorn grass. Water sloshes in the bucket I carry, but maintains its level. And no sooner do my steps touch the flagstones, than he is headed away to refill his own bucket. When I arrive at the courtyard’s center, I pour a quantity of water into the gleaming bowl – far more than it should reasonably contain. Though neither he nor I have spilled a drop, though the surrounding flagstones are dry as bone, the water’s level continues to leach away. No time to linger. He is back now, ready to pour another dousing, and I must hurry. Replenish, pour, repeat.
Each time I approach with a new contribution, I can see more clearly the shimmering pattern that radiates outward from beneath the bowl. A pattern that arches out across the flagstones and over the field; the arms of an infant galaxy that spiral, stretch, and extend. Ethereal, as if superimposed over flags and field, this other, liminal dimension must lie just beneath our own – beside, over, within. Here, the bowl is firmly centered on muted flagstones over that glittering system’s heart. All the water we collect and carry and pour into the bronze bowl nourishes this emerging galaxy.
Again, we cross paths; his bucket emptied, mine brimming. Our feet tread flagstones – slate blue, gray, brown; they chart the lengthening, strengthening spiral arms – cosmic motes of purple and silver. We skip lightly over stardust, our paths crisscrossing again. And I wonder, as I empty my bucket, as I pour a steady stream of water into the bowl’s void – when the new system has grown, when it has enveloped and reformed our world (as it will and must) will I remember all of this? Any of this? Will we?
Cool grass beneath my cheek, pressed into my hand and arm. I awake in a close-cropped field. Blinking eyes open, I see a world of green spreading in all directions and wide blue sky tilting above. Before I can press myself upright, I also see, resting in the grass nearby like a small planet settled within this lush green universe, a smooth stone…
Ahhhh…. I remember.