“i was a servant of the transition” by Joshua Scammell

Fiction, Short Stories

we started at this pond in rockcliffe. there were other people around, some of them swimming, others just enjoying the sun. i arrived first and started meditating. we were talking about our past lives when we dropped. we tried these hand gestures that were supposed to open your heart chakra, and make you more receptive. she explained that the hands extend the heart whereas feet are like roots, it made a lot of intuitive sense and i realized that i have very sensitive hands. i changed into my bathing suit under a towel. it felt weird to hide my genitals. swimming felt was amazing. i felt at home in the water. she said i was probably atlantian in a past life, but i couldn’t stop thinking about my past life as an otter. we found a dragonfly head that seemed way bigger than normal floating in the pond scum and i remember thinking “show me insects.” i started pushing my hands forward underwater, creating these currents that i could direct towards her, which disturbed the surface of the water only slightly. i remember thinking, “i wish i could do this with the wind” and then realized i probably could if i tried, but i didn’t try. i started to shiver and felt everything slow down. i realized i was transitioning from one type of consciousness into another, in the same way that the world itself is transitioning from one type of consciousness into another. i was half in the water and half out of the water when this idea of “the transition” started to gain a lot of significance in my mind. someone at the pond said “where is my servant?” as a joke, and the phrase “i was a servant of the transition” kept popping into my head. i was convinced that if i was sensitive to the world around me, i could see into the past, but i didn’t try any rituals to become more sensitive. we left the pond and the space around us started to expand and contract depending on how much attention we gave it. the effect was doubled if we both focused our attention on the same thing. i became more sensitive to the moods of the trees around us, and felt a strong kinship with the wind. we got on our bikes and went through the east end of the city, which was very busy with traffic. this was when we really started to trip. my body was moving so effortlessly and smoothly. the bike felt like an extension of myself, and i knew exactly how to negotiate the traffic, biking alongside cars. the city was intensely stimulating, so i just focused on myself. this was a part of the city i’m not familiar with, but a lot of the places were familiar. i could remember two specific dreams i had that looked identical to the areas we were biking through. everything felt like it was on a bridge, very close to the sky. then we hit the river and the energy totally changed. the air coming off the river felt way healthier and cooler and full of love. i started to think about how easy it is to send out love on the air. i started dancing with my hands as i biked, feeling myself flow with the wind. inhaling and exhaling was part of the dance. the phrase “i take from the whole, so that i can give back to it” echoed in my head, and i didn’t wonder whose voice it was. as we got into the forest i started to see trails of physical bodies, like visual echoes. i started to see auras, like the wavy air that rises off hot objects, hovering around people. i also saw these auras hovering around nothing, what i called sprites; these little flying points of energy darting through the forest. i remember thinking, if we find a dangerous animal like a bear, we can just open our hearts and send the bear love and it won’t hurt us. we took a break when we got to the gatineau hills. there was a little spot with bathrooms and picnic tables on the grass. we watched the clouds for a while, and i realized clouds are conscious, but their experience of time is way more diluted than ours. i tried slowing my own consciousness and silencing my thoughts, so that i had a mind like a cloud. that’s when i made my wasp friend. i realized he was inside my helmet the whole time. he started crawling on my hand and my first instinct was fear, but the fear didn’t feel natural. he was covered in my sweat, and moving slowly, and if he wanted to sting me, he already would have. i did the gesture to open my heart chakra and sent him love and i could tell he received it. he looked me square in the face and crawled all over my head. i felt a really intense bond with the little guy. he stayed on my glasses as i walked to the bathroom and just hung out with us for a while. then i had these vivid flashbacks to camping last weekend at sandbanks, where a dragonfly landed on my hand by the fire. this whole time, she was lying on top of the picnic table and i pressed my thumb against her third eye and then all these really bright neon patterns started flowing across both of our skins. they were like moving tattoos that covered our entire bodies. we biked on further up the mountain, through a deep part of the woods. i inhaled the clean energy from the forest, feeling that energy turn into fresh ideas in my mind, and then exhaled love back into the forest, it was like an exchange: we traded love for ideas. then we biked up this really intense mountain and i remember thinking how i don’t “have” power but i am made of it, i am power manifest, my existence is itself a monument to my will to exist, and pushing against gravity was so easy. i didn’t actually feel like we were going uphill–there was no up or down–it just got harder to pedal. i remember thinking the trees are way older than me, they carry more spirits, and more wisdom, but i’m still young and innocent. right then, when the word innocent crossed my mind, we went downhill and i biked with no hands and so much wind rushed by my face and it was such a rush of bliss, innocent. then we got to the lake and locked our bikes and climbed up these rocks. i remember thinking, “how does this rock want to be filmed?” and i let the rock show me how. i started filming the lake, letting the water tell me the right composition. we found a spot really high up, where we lay down and watched the lake move with the wind. i could see sprites flying all over the water, moving the wind, but i knew our energy contributed something to the wind’s movements. the frogs were singing for us. a really cute yellow beetle fell in love with me. she was staring up at my face for a long time and then climbed on my cheek and stayed there for a long time. ants were tickling me everywhere, then a spider crawled on me. he was so funny, he danced for me with all eight legs. he strung a web around my head and then swung away from my glasses to the nearest tree and back. he was a pleasantly chaotic character. i’m pretty sure there was a UFO or something, some crazy unreal sounds came out of the sky really suddenly, and the clouds shifted really suddenly, but we didn’t see anything directly. it sounded like music composed of thunder, and then shortly afterwards, the sounds turned into regular airplane sounds. i was very confused about that but didn’t dwell on it. i had all kinds of realizations that i managed to remember and write down. got ideas about film theory, and meditation, and yoga, and all kindsa stuff. we ate a cliff bar and i remember thinking this is how people should do it, exercise a lot, and then eat very little, it actually feels awesome. then we meditated for a bit together and left. the way back was mostly downhill so we rode so gosh darn fast and the wind was so intense and so invigorating and i cried a little. i felt like nature wanted me to succeed in life and was giving me all the energy that it could, and i kept thinking thank you, thank you, thank you. on the way back we crossed this really old train bridge from the quebec side back to the city. it was rusty and beautiful and covered in graffiti that looked to me like the same neon colours i saw floating on our skins, except this was actual graffiti, not hallucinations, which was confusing in the most delightful way. we passed some friendly teenagers who were drinking and smoking pot and they said some things as we passed by, we couldn’t really hear them, and we said something back, i can’t remember what. as we got into the city, you could feel the energy change entirely–it was way less integrated, way more chaotic, but it wasn’t evil or dark necessarily. just confusing. we biked past the locks at the end of the canal, and we had a bittersweet farewell, because we hadn’t kissed or even hugged this whole time, and it felt for some reason like a “farewell” rather than a “see you later,” and we parted ways, and i biked through downtown alone, feeling the chaotic energy around me, but not letting it enter me, farewell. all these images of a beautiful future were bouncing around inside my head and i started to cry, like really cry. when i got home, i just wept and couldn’t stop weeping because everything was so beautiful, the future was so beautiful, and i knew exactly what to do.

JOSHUA SCAMMELL was born in Ottawa, where he learned to read and write. He then lived in Los Angeles, where he forgot to read and write. He now resides on Vancouver Island, where he is remembering how to read and write.

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