Abigail Bysie

Needing a jacket in late June freaks me out, but I stay so freaked-out anyway that it’s not much of change. For instance, I was outside digging a foundation for a deck just now, and I suddenly thought:

“Wait a minute; this isn’t right. What happened to 1955? I’m six-years-old and living with my parents, my Granny, and my year-old-sister in an unpainted shack in the south Mississippi heat.” “But, no,” I thought, “that’s not right either. This is a different century; I’m growing old; I live in Eugene, Oregon; my parents and Granny are dead, and I haven’t spoken to my sister in 19 years. What's more, I’m cold, and being cold scares me, especially in summer.”

When old people used to tell me that life would seem shorter and shorter, and time would move faster and faster the older I got; they weren’t kidding. Life not only seems short; it seems like it didn’t happen. Like last night when I couldn’t tell if I was lying in bed awake, or if I was dreaming that I was lying in bed awake. Who am I? Where am I? What am I doing here? I used to think I knew, but now I think that maybe I wasn’t asking the questions deeply enough because the more deeply I am able to ask them, the more it seems to me that our lives are built upon so little that that little is indistinguishable from nothing, yet it is this that we stand upon. I expected the opposite. I expected that a prolonged contemplation of life would lead to a certainty that would become solider and solider until I found myself atop an unshakable foundation, but no, my certainty is that nothing is solid. We live within the abyss and the abyss lives within us and all else is illusion.

Would I prefer an optimistic outlook? No! I want to know the truth, and I think I do. Maybe an unyielding desire for truth represents a threat to my species’ survival, but if my species needs lies to survive, why should it? What good are we anyway?

The fish is the abyss; its mouth is death; its teeth are time; and its light is illusion. The abyss is our common destiny whether we accept or deny the illusion.