Some time ago, I came to the decision that all of life’s greatest epiphanies occur either in the shower or on some form of public transportation. Whether or not this conclusion is accurate, it applies very much to me and my own epiphanies, big and small.
The most recent of these occurred on my way home from work, in the back-left corner of the bus (the seat I have silently claimed after countless commutes). If these aha moments had a soundtrack, it would most certainly be Goldmund’s album Corduroy Road, followed by the score of American Beauty, or Cinematic Orchestra’s To Build a Home. This evening it was a combination of Goldmund, the 5 o’clock spitting rain, and an aimless day at work that led me to breathe deeply and, on my shopping list for lemons and cotton-balls, scribble the following: “Tonight I am shell-shocked by the never-ending bigness and the simultaneous minuteness of the world.”
I got off the bus, slipped quietly into my empty apartment so as to not wake the sleeping plants, removed my shoes, and curled into bed, forehead pressed lovingly against the wall. In that second I felt no more important or consequential than a fruit fly. At the same time, the steady and unbroken universe of tumultuous emotions and desires within me felt like the single most powerful thing a body could experience.
I could not comprehend how a stranger walking past my blue-doored building at that split second would not stop in their tracks, drop their groceries, and clutch their chest at the overwhelming emotion emanating from Apartment #662. Neither could I comprehend that within each person, there very likely was a similar endless infinity of worries, wants, minute concerns and vast capacities for love and hate.
This realization comes and goes, perpetually stunted by the small, irritating requirements of everyday life and brought back again by equally insignificant details, like an extended second of eye contact with a stranger, or overhearing a heartbreaking conversation, or noticing that the sunglassed lady across the bus has tears creeping down her cheeks like gentle, beautiful blooms of ivy. And it is in these moments that I’m compelled to record the occurrence, be it on a receipt, a shopping list, or my palm, if only to be later reminded that not everything is petty and life is not all spiteful.
My other inclination is to stand up, hands shaking and heart bursting, and take your face in my hands and remind you – you’re an intricate universe of coiled ferns and bleeding hearts and silver lining. This millisecond will be broken by every other spectrum of being alive – remembering you’re late to dinner, spraining your ankle, waking up to your alarm. But while it lasts, gaze at it with eyes open, trembling, and awash with wonder.