The World Above Me


Up above my head, lines of all shapes and sizes bob and wave, nodding greetings and salutations as they travel past one another. Their interactions are brief yet cyclic, eternal journeys that continually bring them back into the presence of their neighbors. At their fingertips, pointed ovals—also of all shapes and sizes—briefly share companionship. I can hear their voices if I stand still. I wish I could understand their conversations. If I could, would they let me join their dance? But I know I will never be a part of that world, so I am content to simply stay down here and observe them go about their daily lives.

the dance

My world is filled with too much hustle and bustle. Voices constantly surround me—those of people, cars, construction, all in a never-ending cacophonous roar. Everywhere I turn, forms rush past me, or I rush past them. A riot of colors and shapes in flux inundate my eyes. I am lucky when it simmers down to a murmur.

At times like these, I like to take a break by aiming my eyes upward. The wide sky never fails to greet my tired eyes. It doesn’t matter if the weather is balmy blue, blindingly white, heavy gray, or a strange blend of all three, with patterns snaking their away across the vast expanse. I get lost in the enveloping embrace, a luxurious spread of cloth that gently wraps around me.

Sometimes the regal lines of the trees weave across the fabric. They stand proud, reach higher than I ever could, but rooted in the same ground that I stand upon. At that distance, color loses its identity. So, too, does dimensionality. In their place, a simple patchwork of shadow puppets stages a play for me, momentarily letting me lose myself in another world—one left untouched by humans. One day I see a village bustling at a market, each individual warmly greeting the other as they engage ins a commerce of unknown forms. When my eyes blink, the scene suddenly changes to two formless creatures battling gracefully, circling each other, extending long limbs of entanglement, dodging pointed attacks. The other day, I saw a family standing tall, gathered together in a still, wordless conversation that went far beyond speech. An audience, equally still and silent, respectfully watched the proceedings.

a play

It astonishes me, sometimes, how easily I forget that this world exists in the canopies above my head. When I do remember them, I’m only capturing the briefest snippets. But those snippets are enough to captivate my attention. If I looked up more often, how much more would I understand about those lives? Would I be able to gain some of that peace and wisdom for my own noisy, chaotic life?

It’s worth a try.

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