A Word

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           I am the Sahara, though that is what you call me. I have not always been as I am now, barren desert, seemingly lifeless and dead. Once I was lush and green, savannah and mighty jungle, hot and wet, home to all manner of creatures. I still contain their memories and their bones, sometimes revealed to the astonishment of those ignorant of my past, before I cover them up again.

           The sky is my brother and the stars my friends. I feel everything that exists is equal and embarked on a great journey---a crusade?---to a destination we cannot imagine. I feel that somehow we will all end up in the same place and be as one. Perhaps that is our common destiny.

           I can be hot and I can be cold, I am ever-changing yet changeless. Every particle, every grain---atom?---of me is alive in some way I cannot explain. Is that so strange? Everything is alive, has an inner being, a soul, consciousness, mind, ghost in the machine, call it what you will, even the dust or sand under your feet. I am, therefore I think, feel, have prehensions. The whole of the world of sense is but the veil of an infinite realm of mental life: all bodies have perception even without sense, performing without shortcomings the actions permitted them by the universal order. Is there really that much difference between the inorganic and organic? I move at a different speed than you, but does that mean that I am not alive? I know you, am aware of you, respond to you in my fashion, as you do to me. Even the simplest inanimate things have some self-awareness and by faithfully exercising their physical functions fulfill their destiny.

           The Greeks knew. They considered elements such as air, fire, water, earth, to be divine, have souls, and they were not far wrong, if they were wrong at all. If life derives from matter, then mustn't all matter contain life in some way? That is my belief, but then I am prejudiced.

           Think of me as asleep. I am dreaming of you, dreaming that you are as aware of me as I am of you. Are we not part of the same world, made of the same basic stuff? Some of you know the truth, but too few. Speak to me and I will hear, I will understand. I will respond in my way, with silence, unless there is a wind blowing.

           Some day I will be lush and green again, not desert. It will take a few hundred million years, perhaps, but I can wait. All existence is but a journey back to where you began. Ah, to be green once more, making my current reality an illusion. I look forward to that time with a pleasant anticipation.

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