At first glance, it appears to be a dead land, bleached dry, hollowed under ages of unrelenting sun. The white sand and rocks crunch under foot; they could be the crushed bones of what once lived and is now long forgotten; even the ones who forgot lie here. The bushes and trees are grey, sprawled out on the ground, exposing their ashen insides to the white heat of numberless long days.
But something moves. Out of the corner of the eye, a black flash across the sand. A mouse dashes past into a hole before a joshua tree. Despite everything, the mouse is buzzing with life, and so is the tree, though before it seemed to be dead. It is dead, and it lives, all at once, decomposing even as it continues to grow and throw open a flower to the sun.
After some time, we find ourselves at the foot of a mountain. It is cracked and broken, in a way less a mountain now than an enormous pile of boulders. It, too, is decaying, falling back to the ground from which it sprang. The ground spirals down around the base into a valley, boulders paused in mid-tumble from the heights towards an unseen center below.
There is a tree here. Its branches are bare, but it stands tall, pointing bony fingers down and up and around the valley as if pointing to its roots and the sky and the path of irresistable gravity that leads here. The shrubs in the valley are green, and the ground is red. Bats flutter through the air, and birds call out to each other. A mosquito buzzes in my ear, “There is water here! This is the heart of the desert.”
I sit down on a rock and close my eyes, overcome with the simple wonder of the inexplicable. The bats’ flapping wings and bird song is heard, but there is something else that speaks here, from the overwhelming silence beneath it all. The tone is soft and kind, warm and inviting, and I feel that it is drawing me into itself. I want nothing else but to follow.
The silence grows, and joy with it, but there is something inside that resists. The mosquito is back, buzzing incessantly in my ear, and there is an impulse to swat it. A strong wind has begun to blow, but the mosquito holds fast to its course. The buzz in my ear comes and goes and comes again, and in it I begin to hear an incredible determination. For the mosquito, this body is a chance at another day alive. Who am I to deny it that? I submit.
Green and red forms split and merge in space, devouring each other and giving birth in the same movement. They are all connected by golden threads that branch out in intricate webs, pulling everything to and fro, orchestrating an unending play. At this moment, the thought arises, “Who am I in this dance?” The silence answers, “you ARE the dance.”
At this moment, the silence is complete. Time and mind are nowhere to be seen. There is only Love, and its will, and we are That.