I was staring at some lichen on an old apple tree when the world dissolved and I was never the same again.
Lichen is not an organism on its own. It’s made up of algae (or bacteria) and fungus. The two come together and make something new, neither algae nor fungus. If one of the two is missing, lichen can’t exist.
As I stood in the orchard I contemplated how one thing relies on something else, how nothing is sufficient on its own.
Then my sight went fuzzy and I cried for the best part of a day.
I was—briefly—out of my mind and out of my self.
I was on my way home.
We grow up thinking we’re a meat skeleton, with two eyes looking out of our skulls. We’re “me” and everything else is “other”. So we fight on with ever-hardening egos, clawing and trampling our way through life, dreading the moment of death when everything we know ceases.
We ought to know better. We’re outnumbered by a gutful of bacteria. We breathe oxygen trees make. We eat food from sun and soil.
What if we’re not so special after all?
What if we’re a wave in the ocean or a peak in a mountain range? What if our dusty bones will become the vital flesh of something else?
What if we’re a part of all that is? What if we are all that is?
What if we stare into the eyes of a squirrel, find the squirrel staring back and see the world looking at itself…in love?