By: Kyle Jacobson
The humidity is what kills you. The jungle wheezes, yet, all about it, life thrives with ease. Unseen primates ooh and ah at my presence. The dense moist air pounds me into a state of lukewarm sweat and exhaustion. I press forward. Oversized leaf slabs slap my face as I delve into the jungle’s heart. I must be heading in the right direction to find the one of oneness.
My clothes are soppingly sticky; they try to coerce me to my knees. Thorny bushes cut my ankles with scratching hemp teeth. My burning ankles keep me from submitting to the steam’s torture. I don’t know how much longer I can do this. The ease of admitting failure beckons. I could tell others I tried, and they would praise my efforts for far outweighing their own. Easy enough, I’m done. I quit. I look up.
I’m here? I knew I would find it. Before me sits a fortress of stone and mossy overgrowth. Vines twist and climb to the top of the staired pyramid. It would tower over most animals in this place. Lizards, insects, and arachnids spend much energy bringing themselves to the summit of the mound. I take only a few steps to find myself at the peak and see him in his chair of twisting twigs and leaves. His camera lens eyes spiral in and out of focus until I am seen clear to him. “I knew you were coming,” The chameleon speaks in my tongue. Perhaps the stories are true. With cautious steps, the lizard assesses me. Once I am deemed harmless, the creature climbs up my leg and perches itself on my head. “Yes I knew it.”
“Oh it’s quite simple really. Your panting and heavy steps were rather disruptive.”
“Oh, so you knew I was coming a few minutes ago, but not, like, years ago.”
“Ah,” The creature climbs down my face, through my shirt, and out my sleeve, “but it was to be that you would be here with me.”
“I guess.” I pick up the lizard between my forefinger and thumb and mean to drop it. The thing clings to my wrist and scampers to the small of my back. I give up after a brief struggle to get a hold of it.
“You guess, but I know. You see we are one with everything. There is only one.”
“Yes, one reality through which we all persist existence. Thus we are all one. It is only our minds which demand we are separate.”
“Wait. So you mean to tell me that you and I are connected?”
“What is between us here my friend?”
“Yes, the shirt.” The lizard snaps the slurping shirt. “It connects us, as had space before.”
“Space doesn’t connect, it separates.”
“Only in the unclear mind.” The chameleon is again on my head. The creature bends his neck down to look into my eyes.
“Listen, I was told you were all wise, but you sound like you’re confused.”
“Confused? Really? I didn’t come looking for you.”
“That’s not what I meant.” I roll my eyes and the lizard smacks my nose with his tongue.
“What did you mean?”
“I meant you don’t seem as wise as I was told you were. You seem confused about the world.”
“Why play these games of semantics with me?”
“I’m not.” I sit down on a particularly mossy patch of stone and the chameleon peels around me until it sits at my feet. “I just don’t understand what you’re saying.”
“Very few do.”
“Make it as easy to understand as you can. What are you trying to say?”
“I’m not trying to say anything. I am saying I see things as they truly are, but it is you who fails in comprehension.”
“Okay, so how are things.”
“They are one.” The lizard stands on his springy tail. “We are all connected via our reality.”
“And what is that? What is our reality?”
“It is beyond everything you see. Where you see a tree with green leaves, I see a tree with infinite green.” The chameleon’s eyes oscillate rapidly.
“What does that mean?”
“I can’t explain it.”
“If you can’t explain it how do you know you’re experiencing it?”
“Because I am.”
“Okay, well how do you know it’s reality and not a simple hallucination?”
“I just know.”
“That’s not an explanation.”
“I don’t need one.” The chameleon snaps out of his obscure trance. “Look, you just don’t understand, but I can help you.”
“What’s to understand?”
Seems the lizard can’t give me a straight answer. He finds himself very clever speaking in riddles, whereas I’m fairly certain I can get the same depth of conversation from a cane toad that has licked itself. It’s not that I don’t understand the idea of this reality being our reality and everything in it being a part of the reality. The lizard takes out two identical stones and tries to convince me that one cannot exist without the other. I take out my machete and use the butt of it to smash one of the rocks. The other is still there. I think the problem is the limited diction of the reptile. What is existence? I bet he hasn’t considered this truly and sufficed himself with an answer of oneness in reality. To settle with an understanding simply because the want to look further is lacking is not an understanding, it’s a defeat. I leave the content lizard with his abundantly arrogant thoughts as I continue my search for understanding. I don’t know where I’ll find it, how I’ll find it, or even if I’ll know when I’ve found it. I am almost certain, however, that I will not find it here. Perhaps the stories of the Sloth Sage are true. I shall journey on. The answers must be out there somewhere.