I'm running after the shadows, tracing my hand through their inky substance. The sand is just a crumpled mass of golden grains beneath me. Nothing more, nothing less. It's the shadows that intrigue me, existing despite all this light and laughter. I watch out of the corner of my eyes as the children streak past, chasing after a ball that seems to be attracted to the sea by some strange magnetism. And yet, that sense of sight is... numb. I feel like I'm in an hour-glass, oblivious to the world around me. I don't feel vulnerable anymore, shielded by these glass walls I have somehow managed to erect around myself. Nobody can hurt my dreams here.
I bend down towards the shore, engaged in understanding the science of shadows. Stretching my hand out, I'm surprised to find that my shadow turns to ash - fine, golden ash that swirls around me. I notice as it transforms, but it never completely fades away. The sky is all but a dangling dome above me, cracked with reds and purples and navy blues. I am unaccustomed to such beauty. It's like smoky vines en-wrap themselves around the yolk of a sun, like clinging ivy that someone painted scarlet and gold out of spite. But the whole effect is just so beautiful.
My shadow sees how I'm losing interest in him, but the poor dear doesn't speak. I stare, transfixed, at the glow of the galaxies in the night, all flickering and winking slyly at me like cars on the highway. The stars are all paper threads, holding the moon in place.
The sun has already set, but I don't remember noticing it then. It's a fishbowl, the sun is, and when it fades, it never thinks about waving a cheery goodbye. It just slinks away amid the splendour of the fantastic sky.You just can't help but miss it. It sounds strange, but it's true. Somehow, it's not the neon signs that attract me. They shout out, "I'm here! Look at me! Yoohoo!" And we do. But then we miss out on the other, quieter beauties that are too shy to speak up. And it's these "other things" that have always held a glamour to me; all the sidelines on the silver screen.
I can hear my sister mumbling from her perch beside me, but her voice is like a cool, clear background song. It's numbly inviting, though I can't make out a word she's saying. The world is holding me in its glorious grasp. I am lost, and will remain so until someone drags me away by force.
Then, I'm shaken from my stupor by the shrieking silence. Everything seems to have shut down. It's only the waves that are speaking as they crash against the cliffs. I notice that it's quiet. Very, very quiet. The kids have retreated to their palm-tree fortresses. Everyone's waiting - expectant - staring up into the sky. But, unlike me, they're not staring at the sky just for the sheer thrill of it all. They have a purpose. When the sound rackets in my ears and sends a bubbling ecstasy fizzing through my entire being; crackling and caving until I feel like my ears are a distorted convex mass of nothingness, I see the fireworks. They're artificial, and have that metallic feeling in them as everything else on this world does. But they spar elegantly with the sky, illuminating the stars and the planets to glow brighter, to spin and whizz and come alive. It's like the ozone is a stadium, and the world is a theatre that partakes in all the action. We're amateur actors, all of us, even when we're unaware of the fact.
The people are all huddled together, like the sky is their umbrella, like the atmosphere is their canopy that shields them from the incomprehensible ballet of space. Every face holds an expression of ecstasy; be that ecstatic fear or ecstatic joy. The world is such an interesting muddle. Here we sit, enamoured by it, but we can't understand it. Whatever we see, it's just... matter. And oh, does it matter. But whenever we study the definition of matter, it's always "something that occupies space." The definition never answers the question. What is it? It exists, I know. But what is this "something?" What is it made of? What is it that composes all these atoms and ions, these sparks and flecks of life?
We don't know what it is. We don't know what our souls are, what they're made of. But we know Who made us. We know why we're here, in this beautiful world, this world that will collapse someday. If we dive in deeper, losing ourselves here, we'll never achieve that Purpose. We need to remember who made us, rather than ignore it. We need to hang on the world, yes, but only clutching at the brinks, never losing sight of what lies Beyond.
And that is why I look to the sidelines. We all are sidelines. We will fade away from this world someday, we will die. But we'll come to exist in a far more beautiful world, because it's the sidelines that are ever-present, ever-existing. We look to them, and that is how we find our answers. Nothing is permanent here. We are not permanent. Our bodies are just shells.
But He is Eternal, and He is the Creator of everything, sidelines and main-lines, of all that is significant and even less so. Nothing is insignificant in this world.
I remain deep in thought as the fireworks fade from the sky, as do all the murmurs around me.