Memory: An Age of Dust

So I dunno. A lot of people believe in past lives and talk about how blurry they are. How dream-like they are. How they can’t remember really detailed things except in specific cases.

For me… my past lives are crystal flipping clear. They come in so clearly that I remember them about as well as I do my current life here. Whether it’s my mind filling stuff in or it’s actually real, they’re there, they’re powerful, and they are all lifetimes and lifetimes and LIFETIMES of stories. To that end, I’ve decided to start sharing some of them.

The streets are empty. The houses are deserted. The whole town- if you could even call the run-down shacks here part of a town- is filled with dust and age. I don’t remember who I am.

I don’t remember where I came from or what my name was. I don’t remember anything except that I don’t need to eat, sleep or drink. As far as I know, there isn’t anything to eat, there’s nothing to drink, and though there are ‘beds’, they’re ancient and fragile.

It sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. It sounds like the end of the world. But it’s real. I feel the dust between my toes, I look at my hands and down at my feet and can still feel the heat of it.

The town itself is filled with nothing but run down shacks. I remember walking into a few of them. I never speak, just walk in here and there. I’m not afraid, even when the sun is below the horizon and it gets dark. There’s simply nothing for miles and miles and miles.

It’s eerily peaceful. I pass the days doing not much of anything. The ground is dust, there aren’t any streets. I draw in it with sticks or with my fingers. I sit or stand around staring at nothing.  The sun beats down on me, but I’m never too hot or too cold. I poke myself on a nail once, while exploring a shack, but I’m not wearing any clothing to use as a bandage, so I favor my right foot instead and don’t think much of it. It bleeds green for a while. Something sticky, like sap.

I don’t know anything about it, though. I don’t know what it means or what it is. It’s just what I bleed. It surprises me the first time it happens, but after that I don’t care so much. I’d barely even felt the nail, just been aware of it poking through my skin.

After a while- I don’t know how much time passes, I don’t have a precise day count- I feel an unfamiliar sensation, like… like I’m dry around the edges. Withered, I guess. I don’t know where to go, if there were maps in the shacks I wouldn’t know how to read them. Since the whole town is empty of water or liquid of any kind, I decide to walk in a straight line until I find some. I don’t know what direction I chose. If this world is like the one we’re on, I was going towards the sun during morning hours.

I couldn’t smell anything. I could taste the dust, sort of (dry and gritty, like sand). I didn’t have a mouth, or at least, something that I could open and close. I seemed to taste things with my feet. My eyes were pretty good. I could see things around me well. There weren’t any artificial lights that in retrospect I could understand, so the night sky was always ablaze with stars and the moon, making it easy to see and to find my way.

It was just dull, at first, walking. I never got tired, though I could never go beyond a fast walk- whatever my muscles were made of wouldn’t allow it. A few days passed like that. Three I think, counting the times the sun came out and went down again. I always felt at my best during the day.

The fourth day I got lucky. Thoughts like this felt a little blurry and had been getting a little blurrier by the day. But I reached a stream, after a time, a small expanse of water trickling quite slowly. I went to stand next to the bank, where a few reeds were growing. Instinctively I felt they might interfere, so I bent down and pulled them up. They were weird, like the seeds along their tips had a natural adhesive. In retrospect it might have been a survival mechanism. In any case, I pulled them up and away out of the ground, roots and all, and set them aside. Then I dug my feet into the muddy dust near the bank of the river and waited. My body seemed to know what to do. My brain itself was having trouble thinking during this time.

I remember being aware of the sun coming up, and the sun going down. It happened a few times but I didn’t count how many.  In that time, I felt something soothing, like the water was flowing against my toes. I could feel how they’d burrowed into the ground and dug into the side of the river.

I suppose I felt happy, then, to know that I’d succeeded, and, taking a moment to look to either side of me, I saw that there were other large plants rising, towering up into the sky. I remember feeling a vague longing, and hopefulness that one day I might be as tall.

There, along that river, I remember coming back alive while being still, feeling the witheredness fade, replaced by life. There, along the river, I remember I just stood, thinking about all sorts of things, but mostly just living.

Just being alive, luxuriating in it, in the feel of the water against my roots and the peaceful days ahead. No strife or war or worries. Sun, water, the dusty earth. Moon, stars, the pleasant cool of the night. Whether I was the only one of my kind or not, I felt at peace there. I don’t know my story or where I came from, but without the pressure of others like me, my curiosity stayed right where it was.

There’s more to this life than that, but it was just a few moments I wanted to share.



©2012 Eris (Sam Oliver)

Sometimes that memory comes back to tease me, on days that are particularly stressful. Most of the time I think it helps me have a laid-back, peaceful outlook on life, and gives me the strength I need to know that I can sit… and sit… and wait… and never feel like it’s dull or wrong. I can live in each moment and take it for what it is. That’s the gift I took away from that life. It’s just one of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands I could share. Ones I remember, no better than stories here, no better than myths or legends. But they are mine, all of them, mine and part of my mind, part of who I am. So I’ll take them, cherish them, hold them and try to understand them.

And I’ll share them with you all, if you like. I hope they bring peace or feeling of some kind, the way they do for me.