The thing about the world is that it is only as big as you make it.
Flip to a random page in the papers and you’re bound to see stories of devastation, of loss, of tragedy. Stories of catastrophic natural disasters, borderline famous people unexpectedly dying, and yet another tragic high school massacre are all par for the course these days. We mourn, we pity, and then we move on. We think that the chances of that happening to us are so slim, we might as well burn a few dollars on lottery tickets instead. Out of the billions of people on the planet, we believe that only the events and lives that hold any significance are the ones that we personally experience.
When I first moved in, I used to lay awake at night listening to the ambulance sirens wail their warbling cry, announcing to anyone who cared to listen that yet another precious human life was on the brink of demise. On nights when I was feeling particularly despondent, I would sit in a corner of the Lee Barker emergency room and watch the procession of dying people pass me by. Sometimes loved ones would hurry in after them, faces scrunched in anxiety and fear. More often than not, they didn’t. We all die alone in the end.
Blood. Where was it coming from? I could almost feel the cloyingly rusty, coppery scent of it filling my nose.
Something wet and sticky beneath me. Did I knock over a glass of juice when I was startled? No matter, it’s comfortingly warm.
The scarlet is quite striking in the grayness before dawn. Startlingly bright, really. I think I’ll just rest my eyes for a bit and enjoy that image. Besides, the tile doesn’t seem quite so cold anymore now that I’ve pressed my cheek against it for a while.
Your world is as big as you make it
I know, for I used to abide
In the narrowest nest in a corner
My wings pressing close to my side
But I sighted the distant horizon
Where the sky-line encircled the sea
And I throbbed with a burning desire
To travel this immensity.
I battered the cordons around me
And cradled my wings on the breeze
Then soared to the uttermost reaches
With rapture, with power, with ease!
- Georgia Douglas Johnson, “Your World,” Share My World