I was walking along a narrow path deep within a forest. The path was carpeted with pine needles that padded my footsteps and smelled of Christmas. I could hear birds chirping above me in the branches of the trees, their rich green leaves filtering the soft sunlight, making dappled patterns on the delicate plants and tiny flowers that covered the ground. Overhead were soft, cumulus clouds forming shapes that defied imagination: an eagle feather, a jack-in-the-box, a marshmallow bunny, a sesame seed bagel. There was a light scent of jasmine dancing on the warmth of a breeze. Coming from what seemed a great distance, I could just barely hear the kind of music that makes you want to close your eyes and feel the life force flowing through your skin and into your bones and muscle and out again, back into the endless energy of the universe.
As I followed a curve in the path that skirted a large gray rock flecked with gold that glinted in the sunlight, I emerged into a small clearing. At its center stood a shining pink unicorn nibbling on some yellow buttercups. At the sound of my step, she looked up, tossed her long white mane and tilted her silver horn in greeting. I reached out and gently stroked her delicate muzzle, felt the curve of bone in her powerful jaw, gave her a light scratch between her twitching ears and drew the tips of my fingers along her magnificent brow. She winked at me, as if to say, “Yes. This is real. I am real. You have found nirvana.”
And then I woke up. There was no unicorn, no gentle sunlight, no breeze, no birds, no buttercups. It was cold in the room and still raining as it has been, off and on, for the past three months. The only sound I could hear was the shriek of a motorcycle tearing apart the neighborhood’s peaceful Sunday evening silence. And I still felt just as awful as I had when I fell asleep.
Then I looked down at my hand and saw, resting on my fingertip, one sparkling pink eyelash. I smiled and then I sneezed. When I opened my eyes, it was gone. But I choose to believe it was there, just as I choose to believe in nirvana and I choose to believe that it will someday stop raining and I choose to believe a lot of things I can’t really put into words but carry around with me, some version of hope, a tendril of faith in the power of elves and fairies, a knowing in my soul that there are some universal truths and I just have to find the strength to see them.
The sun will rise again tomorrow and I will open my eyes to see it. For now, that’s enough.