I Need to Look Up More Often
I was in a hammock under the trees looking up at the sky and this thought occurred to me …
I don’t look up enough.
I look down to keep from falling. I look around to see what other people are doing. I look away to avoid conflict. I look into things to identify my options. I look from side to side before crossing a street.
But I don’t look up nearly enough.
Looking up is a unique experience. It provides a broader view of, well, everything. It makes me feel smaller but that seems to put things into perspective.
I’m no longer the center of the universe.
What a relief! When I look up, I mean while flat on my back and for more than a minute, I can feel a transformation starting to take place in my brain. Something shifts. I feel insignificant but relieved, like the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders.
I’m just a teeny, tiny speck in the universe. The world was here before my arrival and will still be here after I pass away.
A gaggle of geese in perfect formation pass overhead calling to one another. For a moment, I’m them and they’re me. We are connected. None of us asked to be here but here we find ourselves, programmed to do what we do. Different but the same. Neither of us with little to no true free will. We have no idea where we came from or where we’re headed, and no control over what happens to us.
We’re here but we don’t know why. Suddenly I don’t even care.
It’s no longer my responsibility to explain the whys of being alive. I’m here and that’s enough. I’m not a fallen creature, just another creature. I don’t need to apologize for being or prove anything. I just need to stay alive for however long I can manage to stay alive —or not.
I feel free, almost as though I, too, could fly.
My stream of consciousness comes to a halt, all the trivial thoughts suspended while I enter a pure meditative state. I’m not thinking at all. I’m merely feeling, absorbing, mingling with the cosmos.
Clouds pass overhead.
Huge cumulus clouds with dark bottoms preparing to do what clouds do, drop water on anyone and anything in their path. I feel the first drop on my forehead and then another and another. The tree branches bend with the wind.
I must look down.
I stand up. I look down. Then, I run for the door. Once inside, I look out the window before resuming my normal activities. The sky is still there, but it looks different from this angle. I see my neighbor’s roof and their flag pole with a flag waving in the air. I see the horizon.
The spell is broken.
I’m starting to think again, about normal stuff like time and dinner and calling my son. I can feel myself returning to my body, losing that connection with something bigger than me. It’s almost gone. In fact, I can barely remember it as duty calls and a honking horn reminds me that I have things to do. I walk away from the window thinking …
I must look up more often. If I can remember to do it, I will.
Teresa Roberts is a retired educator, author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.