There’s a shape in the distance. So far off it might as well be an aberration in the horizon line itself. It pulses like the heart of the sun, forcing rays into the pale blue of the sky, almost imperceptible yet impossible to ignore. It throbs like a quiet god. It sways like a cotton-candy willow in a spring breeze. It dances like gorgeous Terpsichore, her head shrouded in clouds, angular yet amorphous, defined yet indistinct. It moves toward you. An entity on a collision course with everything, absorbing all that’s in its path. And you hear it, too. All at once and not at all. It comes in waves, the sound, shifting as the shape before you approaches, its geometry morphing, splintering, reassembling.

You want to sidestep it, dodge this fuzzy form as it looms large before you. It may indeed frighten you, and it should. Is it sinister, malevolent? Will it consume you? Yes, it will, and it does. It pierces your gauzy flesh and lives in you, whether you want it to or not. It very nearly burns. To the point of searing, and you can’t find a way out, because it’s in you … and it’s about to explode. You make ready, for you know it is inevitable. And at the moment you should burst apart, shattering like a supernova into the stratosphere, taking everything with you, there is calm.

A deep, somnolent calm … and you are set adrift … buoyant on a plasmatic sea … aimless and free. Gently pushed this way, softly nudged that way. No tension, all release. And as you are soothed by near silence, you become vaguely aware that you have indeed broken apart, like the colorful flotsam and jetsam of a preternatural shipwreck. In all directions you advance, guided by disembodied voices. The rising music of the entire universe is right there, in your ears, in your head, in your fragmenting body and your disintegrating bloodstream, all of which are now little more than crimson drops bobbing along the surface of a roiling ocean.

The ocean vibrates, electric arteries branch out and down, a recursive bifurcation filling the sea, new neural networks replicating at an incomprehensible pace. You are fully sound and light, you are ever-changing patterns, you are swelling and collapsing rhythms, you are overlapping sequences of numbers. An infinity of possibilities. New languages form. A thousand eyes see. A million hearts beat in sympathetic polyrhythms.

And then there is no you at all. There is only this moment. One endless moment. And this moment is all there ever was. The sound. The light. The consciousness you named Self. The quiet god and the swaying willow. The plasmatic sea. The music of the millennia.

It has always and never been.

It will always and never be.