Last week I stood on the rim of a desert mountain valley, tanning myself in the ultraviolet radiance of a salt lake pan, the existence of which I had allowed myself the luxury of forgetting. This forgetting is either conceit or folly, I know not which for certain. Perhaps the surprise its discovery creates is a product of willfulness, slag and dross generated by a desire to avoid the unknown irrational roots that anchor a soul to the world.
Queries will be met with neither-confirm-nor-deny. Yes, it is there, people know it by its present absence. This is how I myself know it. Explanation is futile. How does the heart describe the strange machines seen at distance, the enigmatic materials moving under darkness, dissections of mythical extraterrestrials? Who would believe it? Who wants to try, for fear of being branded a flake at best?
I cannot answer in confidence. I look at the dry lake in my heart and marvel at its strangeness. My mouth strains towards words to vocalize what my inward eyes are seeing. My hands trace glyphs in the air and I interrogate myself in my sleep. The dreams. I want to understand why I dream what I dream. There is this underlying belief that my dreams would make sense if only my heart had the vocabulary to parse them.
It does not. Not yet, or perhaps more accurately, my mind does not yet understand the language being spoken. So I wander. No, damn it, not I, it is my mind that wanders. The trail it breaks veers from pampas to forest to lush jungles, yet is always taken aback by the sudden bursting into the arid flatness of a lake gone dry so long ago that the vanishing is lost from memory.
Yet, it is there. It is in the diamond core of my heart, like the grain of sand in the center of a pearl. It is good fortune to laminate life with the bright and the shiny. Mirrors and polish presented to the world in the hope that there will be no misunderstanding or misinterpretation by the world around us. By world, read those we love and humanity in general.
But that is the ideal. Too many strange things happen in this heart-that-is-and-is-not. Phenomena occur that I cannot explain to myself, much less to those around me. It becomes a race between what my heart shows to the world and what the world, in its information vacuum, makes up about my heart. Whispers behind hands, looks of concern or affectionate bemusement, irritated impatience: these are the usual currency of emotional trade when discussing my own personal theater of classified operations.
So last week, I stood once again on the shore of that dry lake bed, the one in my heart, and baked in the sun. Black machines moved in the shimmer, far away across the plain. I wondered if there might be aliens here. I pondered the existence of emotional programs so secret that even my own mind would be at a loss to explain why they are or what they do. Officially, this place doesn't exist.
Unofficially, it does. It is vital to my existence, even if there is no way to describe why. I do not ask questions of it as much as in the past, and that is a good thing, I think. The heart has to learn to accept its own terrain even if that spot on the map is marked 'Unknown', and trust the things that spring from it.