I had been Dorothy, landing with a thump in OZ, a world of color, suddenly and unwillingly removed from familiar black and white Kansas, where she had belonged.
Nearly twenty years ago I entered into a dreamlike condition that I had not thought of for a long time.
Last week I was walking the warm salt and pepper curve of Loreto Bay. The sand was warm and soft under my bare feet and I zigzagged back and forth from shallow waves to dry sand and back again. I had started out briskly, for the excercize, but
was slowed down by curious shapes ornamenting my path.
I was taken in by a plain grey coral that looks like a misshapen cheerio. I picked it up, blew fragments of sand off of it and wondered what kind of coral it was,why it was shaped like that, and why I liked this shape so very much. It reminded me of something.
It was not shiny, or colorful, or pretty. There are more. They are not symmetrical in the least. They were cork light and some had multiple openings, fantastic amorphus shapes. Again, They remind me of something…a shape I have seen that has a peculiar name.
Days pass. I collect more. I research and can only find a scientific piece about flow and coral growth to explain the shapes. Something about optimal surface area for nutrients. Still no similar images, no coral name.
I walk my barefoot beach again, trying to remember that word. “Golgi apparatus?”. I say the word out loud. A shard from a hundred years ago unearthed from my grey matter, but the wrong shard. No, that is microbiology, a protein. I need cosmology.
Ron goes kayaking with the dog for a full half day. He comes back, hiding under his white tshirt a 4 alarm sunburn,. They had been beachcombing. “I brought treasures for you” he beams. I empty the quartsized ziplock onto the yellow tile. Handfuls of my mysterious coral muse. This may drive me mad. I hand him a tall diet coke, no ice, just the way he likes it.
“I think I saw this shape in one of my physics books,” I say to him later, rolling the dry circle between my thumb and forfinger like a little wheel. I pick up another one. two lopsided circles joined like two cemented links of chain.
I think some more and research google by images. “Was it quantum mechanics? Particle physics? (Close) String theory, (getting very warm). Hah! Kaluza -Klein manifold! And Calabi-Yau! “God, I love Google!” Ron, reclining on the deep dark couch sits upright, startled. I take a strange pleasure in knowing that I hadn’t made it up. I HAD seen those shapes before, and they DID have strange names!
These shapes were named after the theoretical physicists who created them. They represent something very fascinating: Other dimensions! In order to have a unified field theory, or theory of EVERYTHING that explains our microscopic and macroscopic world in one fell swoop, additional dimensions were required. Like the rounded contours of the coral shapes provided maximum surface area for nutrient contact, so the Kaluza Klein shapes warped space time to allow other dimensions. Dimensions that we, with our limited five senses, do not have access to and can hardly imagine.
There was a time that I DID experience other dimensions without the aid of string theory.
The grass was magnified, sharp edged and technicolor. I was on acid or in OZ, a world of color after living a lifetime in black and white. Gazing quickly at a solitary red apple dangling from its leafless tree could suddenly transport me to
another dimension, a world without time. For some reason, being in a store was difficult. The floors in the aisles would buckle like waxed tiled roller coaster between the rows of canned beans and the paperplates and napkins, slowing my pace and making me dizzy. My dreams had a richer texture and were pointed, containing archetypal objects, a clock, a key, a coffin.
My partner took me to the sweatlodge and we took our turns at praying before the glowing grandfather stones, the seven smooth round steaming stones that breathed out fire and smoke into the closed darkness as they had so very long ago. We sang the songs of the ancients and sweated.
I did not drive. It did not feel safe. It barely felt safe when someone ELSE was driving and I would clutch the seat like someone who had only experienced a horse and buggy. The landscape whizzed by so fast I might have been in a rocket.
I had an official psychiactric evaluation to rule out post traumatic stress, depression or whatever. I HAD ten years prior experienced a fair bit of mindbending and hideous surprises in my life, one after another, like a fall down steep stairs, but I was proclaimed resiliant and of sound mental health. I was sent for a blood draw.
Hashimotos thyroiditis. Nothing rare. Interesting to me, was the fact that many years ago, before it had a name and simple cure women were often thought to have lost their minds and were sometimes institutionilized.
My unwilling journey into other dimensions was over.
I like wearing those mysterious multidimensional shapes on a silver band around my neck. They are not shiny or colorful or beautiful. They are not even rare. They just remind me of so many things.