It was Wednesday morning, two weeks ago. The throng of the thousand things I had to accomplish that day had already begun to crowd into my conscious thought, trampling the new tendrils of creativity that had finally begun to take root. So, as always, I took the path of least resistance and let the events of the day plot my course, holding on to the hope that at the end of the day I might recapture some time to nurture my imagination. But first, I thought, I do have time to go for a quick run, so I clamped on the earbuds and turned on the Eagles’ Hotel California, and off I went.
I don’t know when I finally noticed it. Maybe the realization slowly dawned, or perhaps it happened suddenly. I just know that I was intensely aware. The air around me buzzed and swirled, yet there was nothing there. Like a thousand tiny red flags, the hairs on the back of my neck bristled, but I brushed it aside. There were, as always, places to go, things to do, people to see. There was simply no time to stop and pay attention to something that was most likely my overactive imagination … or was it?
All at once though, daylight became green neon, a whiff of acrid air conjured from my distant memory, the antiseptic pall of an operating room, and the edges of my world took an alarming pitch. And just as suddenly, a feathery boyance enveloped my innards as they seemed to rise, heedless of the rest of my leaden being, at an incredible speed – straight up.
When I could finally drag my eyelids open against the silvery fist of fear that instinctively slammed them shut, I found that a vast expanse of stainless steel had replaced the pavement, and seemed to blend and become both horizon and sky. The colorless buzzing and swirling I had felt earlier continued, but was now somehow more muted and almost soothing.
As I let my vision adjust to the soft liquid shimmering around me, I sensed, rather than saw a comforting presence which conveyed to me that I was safe and my wellbeing would be assured. The presence I felt, seemed to be not a singular one, but multiple, and they were able to communicate with me on an intellegent, but more primitive level. It was as if my senses were piano keys and they were trying out the chords.
Over the space of many days it seemed, I walked the landscape of my own mind, accompanied by the benevolent presence I had come to think of as a council of celtic gnomes. As we travelled, the ideas for stories I had set aside, took form and mingled with childhood memories and half remembered dreams. Ideas took on shape and personality. Each manifestation vied for my attention, but was kept at bay by the gnomes who had protectively formed a circle around me. I neither slept, nor ate, but was not tired or hungry, and so my journey continued. Until, up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light, my head grew heavy and my sight grew dim, and I felt the earth tilt once more as the air around me changed to an electrically charged green flurry.
This time, when I opened my eyes I saw sidewalks and trees and melting snow. My breath puffed out in measured clouds, and Hotel California was still pounding out the rhythm for my running feet, as I turned into my own driveway.