Have you ever floated in the middle of a cool lake on a cloudless night? The stars reflect off of the milky, black water and you find yourself lost in space. Water covers your ears and, like space’s vacuum, here too there is no sound. The longer you float, the wider your pupils dilate.  The rods in your retina absorb ever more of the infinite light approaching you, and everything gradually blossoms into a pointillist depth of silver. Streaks continually emerge, rocketing out like the flowers of the salt cedar. The universe appears a thicket of white tamarisk, and you are lost in the thick of it; disappearing in the density of all this light.

You feel cold. Then realize that the perception of temperature is relative. You feel cold because you are warmer than your surroundings, warmer than the unknowable dark matter holding you in place. You flush as you feel your inner heat glowing within, another beacon in the dark.

You rotate longitudinally 180 degrees. Your face now under the water, the depth of field you are able to see reduces greatly. You feel much bigger than you did before. Space seems to have shrunk around you. Still, in the distance you see a light. You dive, swimming towards it. It feels like a slow eternity passes before you reach it. When you are finally close enough, you stretch out your hand and grab it.

It explodes into a sea of stars. An infinity of infinitesimal ignitions spray out into the dark. Where before the blackness was so thick it muted your depth perception and appeared almost two dimensional, now balls of light firework out in all directions shattering the preceding flatness. You gasp. You feel as if you are still floating on the surface, beholding the same sight as before; back in the thick of it. Confused, you have no point of reference. You take a deep breath, yet you do not drown. Again you rotate, and space seems to shrink around you. You glide toward another fleck of light and snatch at it.  It explodes, and again you feel as if you are on the surface; your bearings reset.

Over and over again you repeat this, and no matter which way you turn, which direction you move, which light you grab, you always find yourself back on the surface. Air always fills your lungs. You wonder how this could be. Where is the lake, where is the sky, and where are you? Your vision expands past what you thought it could, and you see a long arc of light, like pearls on a string, each one bigger than the last.

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