Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Four Worlds in One Planet

I swam recklessly, swiftly dodging schools of large, gray fish moving at a leisurely pace. Every time I brushed against one's slippery skin, he would exclaim in annoyance, and irately attempt to fend me off. My feelings mirroring theirs, I sighed in relief once I returned to familiar waters.
The sight of my locality was comforting, yet I could feel disappointment welling up inside me. My life was but a... routine, a routine to be strictly adhered to. There was a noticeable lack of adventure, and a gaping paucity of exhilarating memories to refer back to. No accumulation of experiences to proudly recite to the coming generation. 
So, this was my philosophy: If adventure didn't come looking for me, I would have to go looking for adventure.
I hope you can comprehend the inevitability of my decision, and the present situation.
Certainly, there are realms laden with thrill. Not far from my neighborhood, exists a conspicuous grotto, much too dark to become a dwelling. Few sea creatures go within a mile of it, for it is rumored to be the dominion of a cackling sorcerer. Others sagely say that it forms a tunnel that leads to an ancient land. The second theory excites me, but the chances of gathering ample courage to even think of the prospect of exploring there, is very slight.
Coming back, I navigated my path through the crystal clear waters, critically eyeing the vividly flashing anemones, the coral-hued starfish, the alluring caves and caverns, darting shoals of minuscule fish, the tilting, drooping seaweed, and... my sister, Kara.
The view was enticing, yet the familiarity of the backdrop intellectually repelled me. The rich, radiant coloration had lost its pure beauty, and the passage of time had dwindled down to a mere cliche. 
Kara, probably sensing my hazy thoughts, swam up to me playfully. Putting it simply, she is the exact opposite of me- extreme emotions and explosive reactions.
I waved away her arrival indifferently. Just as I was on the verge of departing in the opposite direction, she motioned her fin vertically, pointing at the blue waters fellow fish call too 'treacherous to venture'. This dialogue had been repeated to me so continually, it became more of a rule than an acceptance. 
But now, when I was longing for adventure, it seemed a flawless opportunity. Curiosity aroused, I followed her without complaint.

Swimming vertically was an alien sensation. I had never swum in a direction not tracing the current. I could feel the water pushing against me in all possible directions. I could feel the pressure building up inside me, though Kara seemed unperturbed. As we swam higher, I could identify distinct alterations in my surroundings. The water turned into a pale, warm shade of blue, and the texture felt more... viscous. My heart pumped wildly, and I was debating on doubling back.
No wonder adventure shyed away from me.  
After a while, I could see it quite clearly-  the air-water interphase, the peak of doom, or in other words, the surface. I halted for a moment, and lingered hesitantly. Kara, sensing my unease, swam over to me, her voice heavy with chagrin.
Are you coming or not?
Irritation was etched on her disdainful face, while fear seeped through mine. Her expression turned kinder.
It's perfectly safe. I've been here countless times.
Her tone was reminiscent, as though recalling all the times she had spent here.
It was enough to reassure me.

As my head broke the surface, I instantly felt like I was being bombarded by ceaseless, gelid icicles. Every part of my body- skin, scales and eyes- felt incredibly vulnerable. My eyes strained under the persistent glare of light. Itching to escape the unfamiliarity of the second, I plunged back into the deliciously warm water, with torrents of bubbles rising above me. Deeply inhaling the blissful, restless water, I rejoined my sister at the surface.
My eyes could then slowly adjust, as could the rest of myself. I spun around, taking in the scene. The water, which was so calm and soothing in its watery depths, was frothy and churning at its tip. Harsh waves crashed down upon me, and the illumination stung my eyes.
The waves, on the other hand, seemed to luxuriate in the glow of the sun. Rays of light glinted off their crests, transforming them into dancing sparkles of gold. The sound was hypnotic. Few words could express its majestic beauty.
I turned to my sister, wondering if her opinions paralleled mine. But when I saw her, I gasped. She no longer looked like a fish. She looked like... a jewel- a flashing, amber jewel, against a lapping, blue setting. She looked like the sun in the sky... on land.
I realized that this was how I must appear to her.
I then focused my gaze to a narrow, white stretch in the distance. I could catch thin, blurry figures moving along its length. Behind them were... I had learnt about them... trees. Bright, green, healthy trees, with a sturdy bark and thick undergrowth. I could identify the colors of red and magenta dotted on their branches.
Overhead, I could see winged creatures- birds- soaring gracefully. Whether it was a flock of seagulls, or a mighty, solitary eagle, they spent a majority of their time in air.
Then it struck me- I operated in water, birds operated in air, and those vague figures... humans, I think...operated on land.
Three spheres of life.
Could there be... another one? One I've never heard of, or dreamed of, or will hear about? Could there be life on the flames of fire, or on a vast, gleaming expanse of metal?
The possibilities are endless.
And, some part of me intuitively knew- there is a fourth sphere of life on the Earth.
Kara nudged me. Surprised?
Very. But I neglect to tell her that I had never known existence could sustain on a domain other than water.
Or maybe she already knows.
Either way, hopefully if I go looking for adventure, adventure will come looking for me.
Four spheres of life.
I relish the thought.
And I know exactly where to begin looking.
As I turned to leave the surface, only one phrase was embedded in my mind.
Four worlds in one planet.

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