An experience at age five left me with a very clear understanding about life and the universe. At the time I was very sick and ached so much it hurt to move. Because of the polio epidemic my mother was really worried and a doctor actually came to our house. I remember my mother crying when he told her that I did not have polio. I remember that illness as different because I felt so sick and also because normal sounds were sometimes very loud and other times quite distant. And at some point I found myself flying around in our neighborhood. It was so amazing to be up in the air: I looked down on the rooftops of nearby homes so familiar to me; I saw the trees from above and looked down into the backyards. I was quite surprised to see that a couple down the street had a shiny new car. The flying was a wonderful experience but at the time did not seem extraordinary; it was just something that happened. When I told my mother about the new car she said I was dreaming. But awhile later, she returned and was furious. “The neighbors do have a new car! Why were you outside? I’ve been so worried about you! You are still sick–and now you’re going outside?” She was good at both guilt and anger. I still felt awful and certainly had not been out of bed! Even at five, I already knew not to argue with her.
What I learned is that life is more than what we think: we are not just our bodies. I became intrigued with how different things are from a new angle, even things so familiar as my house or favorite tree. And I was left full of wonder and awe, full of more questions than answers, and very curious about the world, about what we see and what is possible. Perhaps nothing is only what it seems.
— Pat M.