Kristina Amelong, Contemplative Writing, Extinction

​Is Extinction Really an Option?​

The morning light enters. Blue butterflies flit about the living room. Have they been here all night? It’s a mystery. A shaft of light cuts through the rising dust.

I pull my iPhone out of my back jean pocket.  A YouTube alert comes in from the Quantum Research Laboratory: “Hacking Reality.”

“Let us talk about infinity…”

An email pops across the top of my screen, my thumbs type away on my iPhone, answering an Optimal Health Network client about her torn anus. That’s hard, I write, feeling her suffering in her words while I sink into the meaning of infinity.

I have to be at the center of all of this. It’s me as the sediment of all of this, my insides like butterflies, mysterious. Is this consciousness? The shaft of light. Is this love? Are my quarks attracting quarks in other parts of this multiverse?

I open the front door. A row of red Bee Balm stands erect along the border of the garden. A bumblebee lands, reminding me of leading my first church service yesterday. Two-and-a-half hours. White skin. Black skin. Jews. Protestants. Biracial women. Black men. Gay women. White woman. White men. Black woman. Straight men. Christians. Buddhists. Veterans. We chanted. We walked the room, gazing with each other in turn. We embraced ourselves as a room of human beings, finding each other in the now, free. I felt the pain, too. I had them practice Contemplative Writing for five minutes. The veteran read his contemplative piece aloud. “I want to believe in this country”, he read. People shifted in their seats. The black man read his piece out loud: “I wept when I first heard Beethoven.” A collective sigh arose from the room.

I return to the present and remember the butterflies. I look back inside. There are more. “Pup, pup, pup,” I call out to the four dogs. The four dogs single file out the door. I shut the butterflies inside. I don’t know if they will be here when we return. I open the back car door of the Honda Pilot. My fox red Labrador jumps in the car, then the black and white border collie, then the golden retriever. I pick up the golden shepherd puppy. I set her in the passenger seat. I jump in. I turn the key.

Each morning, no matter what the weather, we go outside for a couple of hours. It is our practice.

We arrive at the dog park. We walk. I write on my iPhone. I throw the orange frisbee. The four dogs run. The wind blows from the north. I lick my lips, a new YouTube video begins, What is Reality?”

“I want to tell you about the universe…” I think about consciousness, love, and the fibonacci spiral.  

A single monarch butterfly flits over the pink and white crown vetch.

How do I know what the universe wants from me?

All I know to do is to follow the flow of the day. It’s job.

I walk in this field, my ability to reach out and love billions of people right in my hand, the power of this iPhone.

A group of men in red Wisconsin Badgers t-shirts and Green Bay Packers baseball hats pass me with three snubbed-nosed boxers. One man throws a yellow tennis ball. I smile, deciding to make warm eye contact.

They look away.

I feel sad. I cough. Another group approaches. “Do you know about the evolution of consciousness?” I want to ask them. I look at my iPhone instead.

We leave the dog park. The dogs hang out the four windows, sniffing wind, smelling for squirrels. I pull into the Mobil station. I turn off my YouTube video just as Klee Irwin, the man heading up the lab working on The Theory of Everything starts talking about how the future informs the past.

Happy teenage boys of color walk past, laughing, looking like they feel safe – I delight in the simple expression of the future I want to continue to see.

I lift up the gas handle, inserting it into my Honda Pilot, stick my credit card into the gas pump, squeezing the handle and securing it open.  I want to live without contributing to this climate crisis: we need a new transportation system.

A redwing blackbird trills atop a young maple tree. White drifts of cottonwood fall like fat snowflakes. I wonder if advanced cockroaches will be burning liquid humans for fuel in the far future. I finish filling my gas tank.

We are home. I open the door. The dogs run into the house. One blue butterfly rises and falls as it leaves the living room.

I feel sad. I want to shut the door. I do not. The butterflies spiral blue, one by one, as I open the door fully. Flying, flap by flap, their sound booms in my ears.

Ah, I admire their life without the weight of language.

I step in the house, turn and look out the door, crying. I see the moon rising in the baby blue of the late morning sky. A new email from a client about his inflamed prostate. I begin typing.

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