The Invisible Tides

After bidding a final farewell to his family and friends, the Ever Receding Man withdrew to a spot by the sea. There, he built a home out of jagged rock, some furniture out of wood. He planted trees for all the fruits and vegetables he would need to sustain him. And once the practical aspects of life were taken care of and he was comfortably settled in, he began to gradually turn blind.

On the day that marked the very end of his eyesight - it had finally reached the point that not even the slightest blur of light could be discerned during the highest noon - he planted an acorn seed directly in front of the main entrance to his house, as he had long since planned to do on this momentous occasion.

Now that he was no longer aware of the coming of day or of night, time seemed practically disabled save for the rhythmic sound of the waves of the sea crashing onto the shore. The acorn seed eventually grew into a magnificent oak that dwarfed the rest of its surroundings. Although he could not see it, somewhere in his perpetual nighttime he was aware of every inch of growth that the tree enjoyed. He could almost feel the water being drawn in through its roots, rising slowly through its trunk, to nurture its many leaves.

The modest home he had constructed while his eyes still possessed their vision had a design which he intuited one day while watching a skylark soar up into the sky. It consisted of many small rooms, all roofless save for the bedroom which stood in the center. One of the walls extended beyond the rooms and curved around the house to serve as the surrounding fence.

Protruding from one corner of the fence was a statue that he had meticulously sculpted out of the same jagged rock that made up the walls. It was of a man with wings holding a staff of golden brass whose upper tip was in the shape of a large circle, roughly one foot wide. He had found this staff in a yard sale while in his early teens, held on to it and cherished it for its sheer simplicity.

One night he had a dream of himself sleeping in his bedroom, which was now circular in shape and was missing its ceiling. From the shining moon above hung a curtain of subtle, silver radiance, which draped around his bed and shifted about ever so gently. Near the foot of the bed, a miniature version of the oak tree grew out of the mattress. Its branches extended and curled about, exploring the space around it thirstily. Finally, one of the branches penetrated through the moon's curtain and out the other side. He awoke with a start.

What must have been months later, he started to discern tiny dots of light in his vision. Was this his inner eye finally gaining the prominence to replace his lost eyesight? No, his vision was definitely returning and it became clearer and clearer over time. He was soon to realize that these dots were the stars in the sky, only they were unusually bright as if he were standing on top of a high mountain on a clear day.

Not all things became visible, however. He could see the vague blueness of the sea, but not the water, the dark earth beneath the missing grass in his fenced yard; he could see the moon, but not the sun - how he longed for the sun - and the occasional clouds and fog provided a discernible fuzz against an absent sky.

His newly gained eyesight did not seem to add any practical advantage to his life. Or so it did not take him long to realize he could see, albeit vaguely, the shifting tides of the sea in the evenings by watching the dancing movement of the stars reflected upon the surface of the invisible water.

Somewhat revelatory was the realization that this was the only visible source of regular movement available to him. Every evening, when the sky was clear enough, he would sit out before the sea and watch the invisible tides. He danced inwardly to their movement and, over time, he externalized the dance to the subtle and slow shifting of his own body. At times, a single "step" took hours to perform - in no apparent way did his movement seem synchronized with that of the waves - other maneuvers were more swift and direct in their expression.

One night, he found his dance to feel especially natural. He felt that his body carried no weight and that it had taken on a life of its own. As he was losing himself more and more to the swaying movement he suddenly realized that his feet no longer touched the ground. He could discern the outline of the water's blue receding and now watched the vague shore from a bird's eye view. The glittering stars remained by his side, however.