exercise in reality
He saw it suddenly; a pale and frightened ocean, stabbed with verdant daggers from above. It was the biggest thing he’d ever seen, but it had never been this big before, when he walked across the field smashing the thistles and hoping to flush quail from under some patch of crumpled weed. Only now, lying on the tractor seat, grasping leather with sweaty hands, head flung wildly backwards, could he see the bigness of the sky. It seemed that he saw it with eyes that weren’t his own, with a mind he didn’t know; the vision rushed into his body like an undiscovered galaxy into a black hole of open-mouthed surprise. And it made a new universe inside him. Lying upside down, red in the face and hair like hay sticking down through cracks in the loft, he forbade his eyes to blink. He opened his mouth to breathe the sight. The black hole filled and turned supernova. BAM, he knew. He saw and he saved the sight. Up he bounced like a thunderclap all magnificent. The tractor lurched when he jumped off the seat. And he ran, ran, panting, saying to the world, “I know you. You hid from me but I found you!” And the hills ran under him. At the foot of a tree his feet stopped pounding, but the explosion inside him reverberated like the stroke of midnight. Grasping hardy trunk with shaking hands, he climbed the old wizard until he reached the hollow where he stowed bullet shells and petrified wood like a magpie. Frantic with excitement and drunk with discovery he twisted and tossed his head backwards and tossed the world off its feet. Grass grew the ceiling, sky ate the floor. He clung desperately to the branches lest he fall through leafy under-canopy and fall forever. For a long moment he allowed himself to be deliciously frightened with a fear that was very real and yet called him master. And then he was up again, climbing down and running again, hearing his new world calling. He went to flush it from the bushes like the quail. He rushed to uncork all the wine in cellars he once thought were ceilings. He raced to unearth the earth. He ran to turn the world upside down.