I think I’m one of the handful of our species who still carry a few Neanderthal genes in their DNA (another fantasy, or it could be truth?) I withdraw to my inner cave for comfort, also when frightened by the antics of my universe.
The entrance to my cave is narrow, if not hidden, and its roof everpresent, overhead and revealed by the spirits of the night. Inside I most often experience protection and shelter, but then unpredictably, for no reason, the sky is rent and the displeasure of the spirits falls through. In 1971, without warning, joy morphed into fear as my precious wombling appeared, both mongoloid and terminal. Fear had pelted from my sky, so long protecting.
The sins of the fathers, surely not mine? I watched the rent in the sky, distrusting its false reassurance. .
Years passed, propitiation helping maintain the fabric of the sky, until the sky was rent again and again and the size of my haven shrank. After years of succor by the cave spirits, fear moved in, and the floor of my cave became unstable. Retribution was upon both me and the few family and clan mates who also had sought succor.
Expatiation for what? As we look on, age, disease and a mysterious silence fills the cave. A shepherd’s crook reaches down and snuffs out its own. Finally, overhead, rocks begin to fall from the sky of my refuge and we crawl out to discover a frighteningly similar world.
The scene in this sprawling land of mountain crags of cautious and fearful humans creeping out from their places of temporary refuge feels somehow archetypal. I look up and wonder, is this a new day or a new night?
If a jumping spider can hear through the hair on his legs, why can’t people have an esp receptor somewhere on their body? My readings on consciousness for a book I’ll probably never write are pushing me closer to the agnostic category, rather than the atheist.
I used to say with the rest of them that an atheist is just an honest agnostic, but I’m beginning to slide to the other way around.
On my fifth birthday, riding on the swinging garage doors, I wondered about life. I wondered about the essence of awareness of conscious existence. Why was there no connection between my awareness and that of others? What did existing entail? My first five years had only served to confuse.
I saw two sets of worlds: the world of myself as against all others, and the world of children as against adults. I never believed I would grow up. Not really. One thing worried me especially: would I essentially change as I grew up, or would the me of myself remain constant?
That afternoon by the garage on my fifth birthday I resolved to keep in contact with myself. From birthday to birthday. I promised myself on my fifth birthday. I promised myself to keep in touch with myself on every proceeding birthday. More times than not, I keep the faith. I re-familiarize myself with the five year old and touch base.
Not long ago I came across a letter written five years after that fifth birthday. It was addressed to the me of the future. It read:
Hello, How are you? What do you think? Have you changed?
Of course I’ve changed, and for the worse, as do all people growing up. Childhood is the age of innocence and wonder and faith in the infallibility of adults. Since my childhood my innocence has been tainted by knowledge, my wonder has been dulled by complacency, and my faith in mankind has been demoralized by observation. I can still remember the jarring shock I received when I saw an adult act in childish temper.
I feel somehow guilty that I have changed. It seems I should have kept the girl of five alive to a greater extent than I have. I make compensation to some degree on my birthdays, when I remember.