One by one they put down their dear devices
and drifted over to gaze out the windows,
as if moved by some strange compulsion
which the screenwriter had dreamed up
to begin a sci-fi suspense movie.
Maybe another Spring had just begun,
or maybe the autumn leaves were falling,
gently descending in slow spiral movements
as if to describe the fate of the universe itself —
its poignant beauty, its inevitable impermanence.
Without the beeping distractions of their electronics,
a sudden silence now filled their rooms, and yet
the more they listened, the more they could hear,
as if for the first time, the actual sound of time
unraveling, coming apart all around them.
It was happening so gradually that,
if one was not paying close attention,
everything would seem normal, and that
is what they most desperately wanted —
for everything to just be normal.
After a while it grew too much to bear —
the silence, and then within the silence itself,
the whispering sound of utter dissolution.
A troubling collective thought occurred:
“What if we are all like those falling leaves,
but there is no bottom, no solid place to land?”
One by one they emerged from their trance,
returned to their chairs, their desks, their couches.
That eerie feeling of falling was now replaced
by the subtle sense of everything settling into place.
It was a safe feeling, a secure atmosphere of normalcy,
and yet things weren’t exactly as they had been before.
Something was seemingly different, but no one
could say in precisely what way, and for once
their formidable devices failed to provide a clue.
Throughout all our lives, whether long or short,
we’re continuously entering in and out of a trance,
and this world which seems so normal, really isn’t,
though we rarely bother to give it a second glance.