One of the final short pieces in my latest book, Beyond Identity, is titled Puddle Sprayed. It is a fun essay that speaks to being sprayed by the business end of a seagull after exiting a grocery store. At its essence, the piece is a reflection on reaction.
I was entering the same store this morning, passing the exact spot where the gull nailed me on the head and shoulders 15 months earlier, when I was struck by deja vu. A sudden rush of air a second later and, sure enough, a massive load of wet bird poop rained down, halting my forward advance in a splattering semi-circle on the asphalt.
I was amazed (and pleased) to find myself completely unscathed. I thought back to Puddle Sprayed and nearly doubled over with laughter. A lot has happened since I wrote that opening piece of what is shaping up to be an ongoing saga. On the world stage, there has been a pandemic. Personally, there has been knee surgery followed by a rapid progression of Parkinson’s symptoms. Still, overall, life is good.
Why was I so “lucky” entering the grocery store this time compared to my first crossing of the parking lot’s imaginary bullseye? I never saw the offending bird in either instance until it was too late. Then it occurred to me how presumptuousness I was being—maybe the bird didn’t see me either or even know I was there.
We are trained by society to consider life from an individual perspective, enculturated to disregard the untold possibilities surrounding us. Physics theorizes at least ten total dimensions (and perhaps as many as 26) that either share the space of our universe or are too small for humans to sense or act in another mysterious manner that hides them from our view. Our three-dimensional world (four including time) is probably a tiny piece of a complex multidimensional puzzle.
Maybe the reason meaning eludes us is that we catch but a glimpse of relative reality, with unimaginable events taking place in the same space just beyond our vision. Perhaps I was not the sea gull’s target at all. Maybe to view the universe’s inner workings in totality, we must first shed the blinders of hubris that separate us from the natural world, barring us from experiencing naked truth in all its beauty.