I slept for a long, long, long time, and as I slept I dreamed. It was all one dream, an epic, a dream that felt more real than most of the rest of my life.
I found myself on a winding path under bright moonlight, the lights of the city behind me, the darkness of the mountains ahead of me. How did I know which was ahead and which was behind? I just knew, with the unquestioned certainty of dream logic.
I climbed and I climbed up a slope of black rock bleached gray by the moon. It was a long way up, but I was tireless, and eventually I reached the top and stood looking back at the city below. I thought of all the people there, the drama, the competition, the endless scrambling for survival and advantage. Then I turned my back and began making my way down the other side of the mountain.
Dawn was beginning to lighten the sky as I descended into the valley below. At the bottom was a stream where I stopped to quench my thirst. The water was cool, clear, and indescribably delicious. This, I thought, is how the water in the Garden of Eden must have tasted.
On the other side of the stream a forest began, and I wandered into it heedless of where I was going or how I was going to get back. The first rays of sunlight were rippling through the canopy of trees and I gulped the air like it was food, rich and thick and chlorophylled. There was life all around but nothing was moving, nothing made a sound. It was like I’d walked into prehistory, before the first animal had opened its eyes. Had a tree ever fallen in this forest, with no one there to see it? Or was this before the advent of time, of decay, of death?
Eventually I came to a clearing and stood for a moment with my eyes closed, feeling the warm sunlight on my face. I couldn’t remember when something so simple had felt so good. A quick flash of my former life shot through my head—I was sitting in traffic on a rainy day, going nowhere, seething with pointless impatience and hatred for everything around me—but it all seemed very far away, with no relevance to to my current existence. I breathed in slowly, breathed out, opened my eyes. It was a beautiful day. There was a carpet of thick, deep green grass under my feet, and I was seized with the impulse to take my clothes off and lay in it for awhile. So I did.