I began immersed in fluid, floating freely, encased in the universe of beginning. Nothing was required of me there, no consciousness, no choice, no understanding. Slowly my universe contracted and I grew beyond its borders. Without understanding, I knew narrowness was coming and I would be thrust into a cold, bright dryness, a perilous hero’s journey to a land I did not know.
At 10, I rejoiced in water. I ran into the waves, waded into deep streams, floated in muddy ponds with no fear of leeches or rusty metal. Perhaps I still remembered the sensation of endless waters, the universe of beginnings, the promise of lands yet to be seen.
At 20, I began to underestimate the depth of the streams. I was caught in undertow, slammed into the sand. I struggled against the current, swimming furiously toward goals that were not mine.
At 30 I gave up struggling and floated, driftwood in someone else’s sea, waiting and hoping the waves would drop me on the shore. I prayed for an anchor, a purpose, a sign that I had reached that land I did not know.
At 40 there were children. I had crossed into a land I did not know, but not the land I had been searching for. I learned to swim furiously again, but now I needed to save others and still did not know how to save myself.
At 60 I watched my children drift away in their own ships, and prayed that the seas would be calm and the winds always at their backs.
At 70 my life is again encased in the fluid universe of beginning. But now there is consciousness, choice, and understanding. Slowly my universe is contracting and I am growing beyond its borders. The stream is shallow, flowing gently and singing promises of peace. I know that narrowness is coming again and I will end my hero’s journey in a land that I will finally know.