There was no wind. No movement no stirring. His boat, without sail or other means of propulsion floated in a liquid void. No contact or sign of life No means of propulsion. The water stretched out before him. To be beautiful, he had discovered, it must also be familiar or have some echo and so it did at the beginning, but gradually the silence and isolation had eaten into his will and moved him beyond the edge of bewilderment.. There was nothing here but alien : unsupportive of emotion or awareness, and offering no response to the question “What shall I do. What can I do”.
He peered as hard as he could until the full meaning of the word indifference entered his heart and soul. He had arrived at Nowhere, and become Nobody. His mind thrashed around him in spasms.followed by periods of exhaustion but that did not move or help him. There was no aid. or faith or beauty, or anything which makes our life proportional: bearable. He was beyond the range of caring, adrift in a wilderness: no voice or movement stirred him. Here, at last, he was confronted with the spectre of his profound insignificance. The immutable lack of concern with which nature viewed his survival.
All in one moment, and without explanation he fell to his knees and prayed. He seemed thrown there by instinct. A last spasm of identity.He begged for forgiveness and asked to be saved. He was not religious and was moved by some urge; primal in origination. There was no other emotion left. He prayed blindly. Because there was nothing else. He poured his heart into his thoughts and waited, incredulous and weary for some echo, response or sign of ‘otherness’. He raised his clasped hands to his face, and felt his nails dig into the palms of his hand. At last he felt the tears fall down his cheeks. The final cry of a desolate, exhausted soul. He looked at his hands, now wet from his own moisture and paused. Without reason he licked the moisture from his palm and felt the saltiness on his tongue. His own water. His own life. A vision rose within him
His looked at his hands, each wrinkle now a memory,and smiled. Of course, he said. “I am the miracle. That in this desolate and infinite wilderness should live a sentient being. That I can feel is the miracle. That amidst this sea of indifference awareness can exist”. For no reason, he reached forward over the bows and began to paddle. Faith requires no reason to act.
Some of us face implacable indifference in our daily lives, though most are spared that experience. For all of us,one day, in about a billion years the cooling sun will swell and devour the earth we sit upon, absorbing all artefacts, masterpieces, thoughts and creations in its path. Perhaps in that time a few of us will have learnt to survive on some artificial planet somewhere in another solar system but for the majority of us, and all that we call home, extinction is an absolute. Facing it is not.