I see fire. Red orange blue flames all around me. The heat is intense and unforgiving. It takes everyone and everything in its path. I thought I would resist, scream, perhaps even cry out, but I let it be. I let the flames burn everything that stands in its way while I breathe and remain still. If I move, the flames will take me down. too.
This is no candle flame burning softly and tenderly. This is a forest fire bent on annihilating everything and everyone that dares to resist it. I thought I would mourn the passing of things and people that I held so dearly in my heart for such a long time. But instead, I don’t. I accept that things must pass. That nothing lasts forever.
I neither fear the heat nor resist it. I have faith that everything is as it should be. I close my eyes and breathe. The fire will take me if it must. I breathe and focus on the present moment – abdicating the attempt to control something I simply can’t.
By the time I open my eyes, everything around me has changed. I look down at myself and I’m wearing white. I never wear white. In my culture it is the colour of death. Of mourning. It looks oddly nice on me, but I’m not sure that I like it. I stand up. I am not wearing any shoes. My feet sink into the grey ground. Around me, I see only ash for miles and miles.
Ash is the purest thing that is. It’s what’s left when everything is annihilated. All around me all I see a barren landscape of grey. I survived. But why? Why did I survive? I am not the strongest. Not the smartest. I’m not even a good strategist. I look around to see if anything else has survived, but there’s nobody.
All my enemies are dead. All my friends are nowhere to be found. I thought I would feel sad, but I don’t. I’ve accepted for a long time now that death is an inevitable part of life. I keep walking. Strong and proud even though no one can see me. My feet sinking into the fields of ash that carry on for miles and miles.
In the distance I see a mirage. I see a shadow of a man on a shadow of a horse. I walk towards him. He appears to be neither alive nor dead. He just is. Just as I approach his horse he disappears. Where did he go? I search the empty ash fields for him but there’s no one and nothing for miles. Who was he? Where did he come from? Why is he here?
I look to the ground and there’s a white rose. I kneel on the ground to bask in its beauty. Its petals soft and gentle. Its leaves green and intricate. A thing of utmost purity and beauty in the wake of annihilation. I’m tempted to pluck it out and take it with me, but I decide to leave it there, to multiply in the ash where it was born in the aftermath of death.
With only faith in my heart, I keep walking – basking in the rebirth that can come from death. I can live again. I can breathe again. I can love again.
I thank the fire. I thank the rose. I thank the phantom man on the horse. I thank death. I thank life. And above everything else, I thank rebirth.