Nighttime. The city lights roar with a flickering glee unlike the current backdrop of the pandemic, a myriad of sporadic energies blinking throughout the town. Busy roads shrink into black and the inhabitants hush to a whisper. Can you remember what life was like before it was taken by the Earth and flipped upside down?
I watch from my window. During the day, sound travels from the ground floor and nine stories up; the occasional hoot from anxious taxis buzzing past the deserted street and the ramblings of youthful students shouting to each other through their masked cages. At night, however, the sudden shift from excitement to silence below unveils an eerie peace. As the moon looms over the disaster-stricken land, it casts a silver smile across the homes bowing beneath it. Stillness. Nothing but the creek of the insects of Summer and the low hum of human life. An occasional car passes: I wonder if they will be stopped and questioned. It was way past curfew. Curfew: a word once, to Millennials and Gen Z, associated with parents and late-night adventures, now a nationwide safety net attempting to redeem.
The breath of the night lingers in my hair and on my face. Breathe in. Breathe out. My heart now a steady beat of butterfly flutters. Blood and oxygen. Life. Close your eyes, listen to that beat, you have it too. With each passing second, the full magic of existence flows through you, yet we are often untuned. Disconnected. Connected to the wrong things at the wrong time and to the wrong people, wedged between our love for working ourselves sick and wanting the time-off to recharge. So we knuckle down, bond more strings from our minds to our hearts to our wearying roster, until we wake up and press repeat. City lights become the furniture of everyday routine and the moon an old distant coin in the same sky we have lived under our whole lives.
Listen to that beat, you have it too. Each minute, the radiant source of life emanates from you, yet we shut it off, reach for the device, scroll down, tap tap. Disconnected but so connected, our lights dimmed by the glow of the outside world, often too distracted by it to look inwardly at our own glimmering soul. Too concerned with the other shiny humans around us, like moths to a bulb, we gravitate outward, mistaking our light for nothing but a flickering candle in an already bright room. Too small to make a difference. Too small to have a voice. We get swayed by a widely held opinion that the value of human life can be crowned to a superior set of phenomena, knacks, and genetics as if we were not all birthed from the same earthly soil, as if we were not all fashioned with thought and principle, and as if we were not all cut from the same fabric of that which orchestrated the heavens and everything below it.
Do you hear that? That voice inside asking you to stop. To look? To take in the city lights and feel the wind’s breath in your lungs? In an inexplicable language and with a heartbeat of its own, not limited by time and space, the soul hears what the mind refuses to acknowledge. Are you listening?