I’d try to explain this in new words, but my old ones do just fine.
I write from a plane above the Caribbean somewhere- from the look of it, we just flew over Cuba, but I could be wrong. I love planes because of how small they make you feel- but that also comes with an emotional caveat. Looking from an airplane, it is so easy to think, “There is no way to serve a world this large and different, so diverse, I might as well go home and live my life consuming and pleasing myself only because I cannot possibly affect change on such a scale.” It is easy, too, to feel discouraged. “That would be selfish and I still insist upon the world, but it is simply so large! How can I be of any effect to its change?” And then the impending sense of total insignificance, which always comes eventually. “But I am not important and no one is and really what’s the point, after all?”
But then I remember the hopes and dreams of those I know. I remember everyone’s smiles. I remember eating akee and salt fish, banana dumplings and kalaloo, and all my friends, my beautiful friends, all of the love, and I know that the truth is that we are all at once the most important and not important at all.
(we’re beginning to descend and these puffy clouds look like white cotton candy hors d’oeurves)
You know, though, as many flaws as I saw, just the academic, intellectual atmosphere was beautiful. People thinking together in an effort to be a collective catalyst for change was beautiful.
Humanity is so beautiful, just like clouds. They are so happy, they are so hopeful, so unextenguishable… despite every reason to be the contrary. People left this conference feeling as if they had made a change and were the change and could be the instrument to inspire and cultivate change… and in the end, isn’t it that which will change the world? A flawed research plan or presentation skills or other negative aspects… all of that amalgamated still doesn’t exceed and negate the benefit of believing that you are part of and can produce change agents.
And then the clouds! God, the clouds! I am determined to remain ignorant of their mechanics so that one form of magic might remain to me in this world I understand all too well and yet which I understand not at all. It’s another world, above the cloudblanket, the duvet of the sky not purchased at IKEA, such that on cloudy, gloomy days (which are beautiful in their painfully depressing way) there is a world above that is always blue, always crystalline, always perfect in so many different ways.
But ach! How painful for that sky always to be blue, to be perfectly beautiful, to never experience a storm or gloomy day? What must that feel like, poor lonely perfect skyabovetheworld, whose carpet is clouds? Whose furniture is fluff? Who needs no hammocks because what could be more perfect than taking a slumber on a golden cumulonimbus? Except does she know she’s beautiful, if she’s just always been that way, and has nothing to compare herself too, my dear skyabovetheworld?
The world glitters, you know… descending back home in the sunset, the world glowing artificially, streetlights flickering, it glitters, yes, like a thousand crystals on a Swarovski globe, golden arteries crawling and clotted with lives who can’t see themselves from above, lives that can’t contextualize from the sky like I can how important and unimportant they are all at once, cannot see themselves as a fleck of glitter on a larger masterpiece, and that without them it would still glitter, but it would glitter just a little less…