Four bodies had lined up in the sky. It was just four-thirty. And I had forgotten in the news that southeast this morning the moon, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter would be appearing. In my dreams I had been at a quiet party, and was wondering how the effect of the drops of acid I had taken were on me, if any. I was roaming around the halls, and thinking to take a naked swim outside in the ocean. When I woke, I realized that throughout my dream the LSD had made me loving and happy. That, my friends, was the trip. That was the mind’s expansion. No surprise then through the trees by accident out my front door, through some blackened branches, I caught a remembered glimpse of eternity.
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Everyone loves a sunset. The ribbons of lavender, peach, orange, and purple in the eyes. It could be off the coast of Costa Rica. It could be seen across the Promenade of Brooklyn Heights. It could be remembered caught along a little, pleasant street in Hammam-Lif. It could have been St. Petersberg, Tallinn, Brno, New Delhi, or Kalamazoo. It doesn’t matter where, or from what mountaintop we have seen them. Over chemical wastelands or the most poetic climes of England, sunsets are beautiful. They restore the daylong soul and bring the tiring body a welcome touch of sightful peace. As for the moon, the moon, I’m afraid, is full of heartbreak. Its borrowed rays scatter across the darkened water like frightened fish. The fuller the face the deeper the woe. In the middle of night, like the saddest dream I ever dreamt, I wandered out upon an empty golf course one time to see the shining full moon myself. I was with a lovely young lady who did not love me an inch back. But to have been with her there this once, stranded in the middle of those acres of softly groomed grass, I could only imagine that—were we seen from afar standing so close in the sweet radiant vacancy of Earth by that all-seeing midnight moon herself—she would have exclaimed, “Look! A human treasure to behold!”
The first time the boy was completely amazed by the cosmos he was reading a Golden Book guidebook to the stars and constellations. In it were two small pictures, illustrations: one, of the Milky Way now, and one of the Milky Way in 4.5 billion years. In the former, the well-recognized ladle formed by its seven stars (two of them pointing far away to locate elsewhere the North Star) was as easily recognizable as it was shiningly self-evident in the clear, summer, Canadian sky at night where, in the middle of a lake in a small, aluminum-hulled boat with the puttering outboard motor turned off, he watched the Perseid meteor shower in August with his father and brother. In the latter, however, the form was completely distorted. It was not merely twisted out of shape, like the handle of a spoon that has been bent between two strong hands. It was no longer the thing it was. This sad fact had struck him particularly then, beyond the undoing of innocent understanding of stars as static points in space. Everything was adrift. The principles of the Universe itself were subject to undoing. Nothing was permanent. Not even outer space and the things in it would stay the same, and everything we knew, he saw, would be gone. Everything, he saw, would eventually be lost.