I wake up, and like most other mornings, remember that I am not in my own bed, not in my own house, not anywhere remotely familiar. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t really tell you where I am exactly. All I know is, one day I’m sailing the Atlantic, and the next thing I know, I’m in the heart of a storm and it’s pulled me way off my charter. I black out, and awake washed up here… but as I already said, I’m not entirely sure where here is.
The day begins with me doing all of the same things I’d otherwise be doing on a given morning at sea. I make my bed (a sheet of bamboo covered in giant leaves the size of my body) and brew a pot of ‘coffee’, although the beans come from an unidentified plant and taste more like a double shot of espresso rather than a smooth cup of drip coffee. For breakfast, I have eggs – although they don’t come from a chicken, but from the ‘wabber-woks’ – at least that’s what I call them—little duck-like creatures that have two webbed feet and no wings at all, instead they have fins and slick blue and white-spotted blubber bodies. The taste of the wabber-wok eggs is comparable to a chicken or duck egg, however.
After breakfast, I listen to BBC’s one-minute news on the solar powered radio that happened to survive the shipwreck and learn that they, not surprisingly, are still searching for my ship which disappeared several days ago somewhere off the coast of Puerto Rico. The news caster says that the coastguard is not hopeful about the chances of my ship being found, but they will continue to search for my remains. I flip off the depressing broadcast and decide to go for a walk outside my cave.
The air is cool and weightless and I admire the autumn ‘bush trees’ that remind me of something out of a Dr. Suess book – one is a mustard yellow, another burnt orange, another blue-ish gray. I cuddle with the pod of ‘fluffer-nauts’ that crowd around my ankles. The little rabbit-like creatures had been first to greet me after I’d washed up on the sandy beaches of this undiscovered island, nuzzling me with their whiskered noses to wake me up. Each of them has a giant cottonball tail and long hind legs that they sometimes like to stand up on, revealing a tiny kangaroo pouch on the stomach. I stroke the tuft of hair that sits like a dollop of cotton candy on their heads between their little cat ears. They follow me for a bit until I walk too far from their rock-hole dwellings and they turn back, leaving me to journey on my own.
I find the entrance to a cave and float along the water running through it as I admire the green crystals sparkling against the glowing waters below. Something catches my eye and I see a tunnel beneath my floating feet. Wondering where it leads, I dive beneath the surface to swim through it. There are squid-like creatures there of alarming size, but their faces are kind. One reaches out its tentacle arm and touches my ankle gently. I smile at it and wonder what it wants to say to me. Squibble-do, I think. That’s what I’ll call you. Nearly out of air, I begrudgingly leave my new friend and swim quickly to the surface on the other side of the tunnel. The water has taken me out of the cave and I sit on the sandy shore of a lagoon for a long time, imagining that I’m in Never-Never land and at any moment, mermaids will appear. I wish my family could be here to see all of this. Perhaps one day when I am rescued — if I am rescued — I can bring them here.
Once the sun has dried me completely, I climb into a giant ‘claw-tree’ which looks like an open palm with giant branches for fingers. I sit inside it and share some heart-fruit with the ‘mogo-bobs’, who have long furry arms of orangutans but are cuddly as sloths and come in pastel shades of pink, blue, green, and purple. After lunch is finished, we play a game of “keep away” with the pit from my heart-fruit, swinging on vines like ropes. They are much faster than me and we are deep into the forest before I’ve realized it. Exhausted, I finally drop down into a thick bed of leaves and stare up at the starry sky through an opening in the forest canopy. I imagine that I am in the forest of an old story book from my childhood, “Where the Wild Things Are” and wouldn’t be a bit surprised if I saw the yellow eyed beasts from the story appear at any moment. The forest is quiet, however, as night falls and I find myself staring at the most incredible display of stars I’ve ever seen.
What is it about staring up at the stars that causes us to always contemplate the deeper things in life? Lying here, I am reminded of the words from a beautiful verse I heard in church once. Something like, The heavens declare the glory of God… and the firmament shows his handiwork… I think it was in the book of poetry, Psalms. When I look at the stars, I have to agree, it certainly looks like someone hung them there. But then, so many people in the world say this is ridiculous to believe. Not more ridiculous, I think, than to believe that they are a result of spontaneous combustion. Okay, maybe I could buy the story that some beautiful balls of fire came from some collision of atoms, but then, where did the atoms come from? In this life, I’ve never seen anything come from nothing, so then why should I believe that I did? These thoughts carry me off into a sleep as the blurry stars begin to fade from view. Will I ever see my family again? The world I lived in for so many years, already seems like lifetimes ago, perhaps a dream even, something made up in my subconscious. I might have despaired were it not for the hope I felt so clearly inside me, almost like a voice telling me not to fear the night. With the last ounce of energy I have left, I lift open one eye, just enough to see the moon, full and yellow looking after me, much in the way a father looks down upon his sleeping child.
“Goodnight, moon,” I say.
And the moon doesn’t respond but simply sits there, glowing in the night, with its enormous presence hovering over me, and it is enough.