My very first recollections are not in any way coherent or verbal. I recall a warmth and a wetness. My body seemed to be weightless or floating. A sound like a drum and various gurglings surround me. I am at a loss to explain it clearly. Like the contemplation of a mystic, words fail to convey the experience or the reflections my soul made in an intuitive fashion. It was as if I was already in sync or communication with the absolute in a direct fashion. Perhaps it was only imagination, but it seemed quite real to me. Indeed, there was no distraction. I was only just barely aware of my body. My world was very small and yet it seemed complete. I was not hungry or thirsty. It may be that I slept but there was no way to determine the boundary between slumber and wakefulness. Did I dream? Everything already seemed like a dream and little did I know that this bliss would not always endure. What was time anyway? A day or month or year seemed merely like always. Sometimes I wonder today if heaven might be like this? At the very first stirrings of consciousness, I was a philosopher. Strangely, most people seem to forget this period of darkness, warmth, and muffled whispers from some place near. There is one voice in particular, alternately singing and crying, that gave me sweet comfort. I could not decipher the meaning of its sounds but longed to hear it and wondered if it might be one and the same with the mystery that had called me into being and watched over me. You probably think I am a liar or that I have deceived myself. But, I assure you that this is not the case. I have many vivid memories going back it seems to the very beginning. I long for that peace and sense of security as a man. Everything was about to change and it would take all my strength as a thinking soul not to forget. I pledged myself to hold on, fearful that if my reflection should dissolve, I might lose myself.
There is light and pressure and tremendous cold. I am grabbed by something unfamiliar and I begin to feel that the gift of life itself might be stripped from me. There is an explosion and I am flying. I sensed pain and in my distress opened my mouth and gasped for air and cried. Later there was more pain; little did I know then about such things as birth and circumcision and washing. My body felt sensations, good and bad. I had left the womb for a world that was larger, and yet, strangely, less complete.
My father told me that I was covered in hair at birth. He joked that he did not know if he had a son or a monkey. The nurse gently shaved me. My skin became deep red and she teased my father that I looked like one of her people, an Indian baby. Indeed, I even had a bit of a cone shape in my skull, a family trait traced back to an almost forgotten native american great grandmother whom no one could visualize. I was premature, under six pounds. My father was in his early forties and mother was just twenty-one. She was of a nervous disposition and one of the doctors said that she would never be able to have children. She eventually carried seven to term and lost only one. My hair was jet black and my father told mother, “See, I promised you a doll baby for Christmas!” So it was, they had anticipated the feast by two days with their own portrayal of the nativity. You would not know it seeing at me now, but they looked at me with wonder and declared me beautiful. It was the season when love became incarnate, and something of this promise is revisited in the birth and likeness of every child.
Written in October of 2006