In my mind I see a sculpture of a giant ball of twine. It’s huge and made of concrete, and it sits there sturdy and unmoving, like a menace, yet comforting.
Day passes over the sculpture, and it remains fixed as the light morphs all around it. Shadows stretch and then slim again, and then stretch the other way. It’s a dream image. It feels really far away, like I’m watching a movie. This is how the future appears: vivid for a moment, flickering faster than my eye can see, and seeming so real, but feeling hollow. Like I’m left out here alone to watch it, as it gazes back at me from behind a secret mirror, and I don’t know if it’s just watching, or judging, or laughing as I stumble along towards it.
Every day, as I walk along, I pass the end of a string lying on the ground. It dips down into a drainage ditch, and I can’t see where it goes. I’m pretty sure if I were to pick up the end of the string and start to gather it into a ball, following wherever it leads, eventually, I’d have in my grasp the elusive image of the giant ball of twine. Yet day after day, I walk by, and I don’t pick up the end of the string. It looks so insignificant, lying there by the ditch. In my arrogance, I think it is beneath me, and I look down my nose at it.
I like to gauge the string, decide I know better than it what will take me to the dream sculpture, and leave it there, pulsing at me like a warning light glowing on a control panel, just out of my direct line of vision. I keep walking and the image of the concrete twine ball flickers in and out, always out of reach. I tell myself the vision awaits, and I devalue the little string. I know I should just pick it up. But my ego clings to a far-flung fantasy.
The fantasy keeps me moving down the street, it keeps me busy, it keeps me seeking. In a twisted circle of fate, the fantasy helps me escape the reality of humbling myself to bend and lift, with just a bit of effort, the small beginnings of a new direction. But in escaping humility, I am also, in fact, escaping the dream taking form. Every time I escape, it flickers.
Perhaps if I could will myself to stop and take the end of that string, the image would cease to flicker and snap quickly into reality. I could have the full, solid realization stand before me, steady in the morphing light. I could know its strength and permanence, as if traits of my own.
Is it actually humbling myself that is so scary? Or is the knowledge that I could find something huge and permanent and real inside me more than I think I can bare? If it’s the latter, I can console myself in that the task is really quite simple. Anyone could pick up the end of a string and just see where it goes. Today, I keep walking. Maybe I will stop and pick it up tomorrow.