Driving through the dark windy forested roads of rural Redmond, through the part of the eastside that looks like more like countryside with its numerous farms and pastures and horse-dominated fields, some part of my brain takes over and starts to imagine the impossible.
The road is unlit, save by the headlights of my car. It’s late, so the forest is only visible when I speed through a curve and the beams shine onto trees and yellow arrows. Beside that, it’s darkness.
As I drive through a straight segment of road, when it’s just the asphalt, I think that on the right is a steep cliff, a drop-off toward the Pacific, while on the left is a mountain. Swerve one way or the other and I’m a dead man.
Or there is a dragon, its eye at the level of the car and just about the same size, following my progress, watching me and ready to spit fire at this unwelcome mote in its kingdom.
Then there’s a turn in the road and reality of the forest comes crashing through and suddenly the cliffs of NoCal and the hidden dragon are gone. Then I’m through the turn and my mind is once again free to imagine what is clearly untrue about the surroundings.
Ideas swirl around, running laps through the gray matter, one outburst igniting another, then slowly ebbing away, in its wake a set of concepts minimally connected to their parent, now rippling through the brain on their own, spawning and dying and spawning and dying.
A tsunami wave encircling a globe covered entirely in water. The surface is mobile, rearranging itself by the microsecond into strange and unique patterns. Unique in their arrangement, though the shapes of the waves are of course familiar. The subsurface of the world is what defines the patterns. Entire continents etched in the tectonic plates of the planet, covered in water, a hundred meters or a dozen kilometers in depth, the pressure oscillating with the tides and remnants of the splash of energy that the meteorite of inspiration dropped onto the blue globe.
Waves, be they waves in water or the compression and expansion of mattress springs or an idea lighting up the neurons of the brain in infinitely complex but familiar patterns, they carry energy and information with them.
Stand on a beach and observe the tides for a few hours, drive on a floating bridge and try to look away from the road, toward the too-close horizon and consider the frothing lake just a dozen feet away.