Message in a Bottle

By Nameless Therein

“I’ll send an SOS to the world, I hope that someone gets my …” the young man sang beneath his breath, mindful of the watchful air settling between the trees. Daylight had given way to the first signs of dusk as he made his way around the cul-de-sac to a winding path and lake below. There was a calmness and contentment, a long-languished curse relieved, as his methodical footsteps echoed the movement of his thought across the restless asphalt. Neither turning back nor questioning what must be done, the world to him seemed strange this evening. The clear but salient sky spoke in a soothing orange-blue, engrossing his heart with a profound feeling, at once ubiquitous, present, and serene, but utterly beyond his comprehension. And yet, he could hear its language. He had heard it all his life. In the undertow of all desire, he understood. Tears filled his eyes, mirroring the orange-blue. It seemed tonight the sun would set forever.

What he carried in his hands, he carried in his heart: a wish, an offering, desire on the tides of prophecy. His was a secret truth known only in quiet revelation, hidden all around. His left hand clutched a small urn, concealed within his coat pocket. Having once contained the last material remains of his grandfather, it now contained a message. A message in a bottle. As with all loss, the wounds of devotion would see new life from death, unveiled from love.

His mind was somewhere else, but his feet knew the way. He reached the lake, which was as old as it was familiar; he had known it his whole life. The path split and he kept right, walking in rhythm with the emerging shadows. The rhythm was rich with melody as his footsteps colored the sunset’s silence with broken cadence and cesura. Each house along the way stood erect like a living tomb, preparing the past for a monolithic rebirth. The sun began its descent beneath the horizon, circling his movement as he circled the lake. “Time is running out for the planet earth,” he whispered with a sad smile. There wasn’t much further to go.

He arrived. Ahead was an island of small rocks that were large enough to stand on. They were surrounded by a patch of lily pads and sat gently against the edge of the water, which curved into a lightly wooded area. His mind began to wander. As a child, he had fished here with his father. He had seen his grandfather here in a dream after he died, terrified, freezing in the snow, aware of his life reaching its end. And he had seen God in the dream. For the first time in his life, he had seen God.

He approached the edge of the water and stood on the rocks. There was sunlight in his gaze and needles within his eyes. They pinpointed a familiar intensity as the world around him began to dim in his periphery, activating the center of his vision with sharp and energetic illumination. Something within him began to rise, an inner mounting flame of emotion that swelled like a precocious tidal wave, curious and in awe of what was about to take place. “Simple acts of kindness” he said softly, recoiling at the violence with which the world around him seemed to leap ahead of itself, threatening to leave him behind in sacred anticipation. Tears swelled again behind his eyes, signaling the first signs of interior movement locking hands with will and world.

He removed the urn from his pocket and knelt next to the water. There were no candles, no blood, no incense: only silence and his golden watch. He paused for a moment, staring across the water, waiting for the unspoken meaning of this act to extend its welcome and farewell across the locus of his psyche. Here, at the edge of the lake, he crossed the edge of the world. The moment arrived and the world returned. With great care, he placed the urn on the surface of the water, watching its base dip below and rise again like a child being baptized or a mother giving birth. What had been concealed was now revealed, floating across the universe.

Time took its course as this intangible odyssey made its way across the earth. The open lake gave way to a river and then an ocean as it offered its life in a state of continual renewal. Many seasons passed, and the sublunar cycles of terrestrial life repeated their hidden rituals in sacramental dialogue. On the tides of unseen certainty, the urn made its way from one continent to another, carrying within its heart a message to be carried.

The odyssey came to an end beneath a distant winter sky. The orange-blue horizon reflected its glassy light against the weathered surface of the urn, undulating against the shoreline of a land unknown like an invisible breath, relieved and acknowledged. An inquisitive hand, enchanted and intrigued by the reflection of the horizon against the urn’s surface, put an end to the mystery: a young woman. With her right hand, she cradled the urn out of the sand, unscrewing the top as one would a bottle. A flock of birds flew overhead as the urn revealed its contents, laid bare on the shore of eternity. There she found a message. A message in a bottle:

I’ll send an SOS to the world. I hope that someone gets my message in a bottle. To you, the wounded, caressed by eternal doubt, I offer up my soul, in faith and overwhelming confidence in your ability to succeed in all that you do and ever will be, with grace and tremendous faith in your ability to overcome through trial and love. May you carry this sword in faraway lands, untrodden and unseen, awaiting the first act of creation. May the hand of doubt shed its skin as your heart guides you without hesitation. May the pulse of daylight beat for you as time and space prepare your ascent into the Kingdom, where an end to suffering is met with victorious desire as our hearts beat as one. I wait for you there, for your return, and for the coming new year.

Nameless Therein
New Year’s Eve
December 31, 2022