Life was a race. Always rushing to get to the end of things, she felt that if she wasn't moving forward, she was falling behind. She could never keep still, nor contain her self-perpetuating curiosity. Although she ran the same trails day after day, she could always find a breath-taking souvenir with its own tale to tell. At the end of the day, she derived respite through spending time with her friends by the sea. A conditioned athlete, she would hold her breath for extended periods before returning to the surface to catch her friends by surprise. There in its endless depths, she found freedom. Unlike the linearity of the trails she ran day after day, the sea offered to take her in any direction she might dare explore. There, within the depths of its solitude, she knew she could finally deliberate on her decisions. Whenever she desired time alone, far away from the world, she would only need to dive deeper.
Among her friends she was the one which most enjoyed pushing her limits. As she feared she might miss out, she would often rush into things without thinking and never spare danger a second thought. It was to nobody's surprise when, despite the weather warning, she and her friends would carry on with their intentions to go diving amidst the storm. But how could her friends have imagined the dangerous depths to which she would dive before they would find her washed ashore?
Like their friend, humans which pursue athletic endeavors envision the world as a physical boundary to overcome. Leading fast and competitive lives, they often over-attribute the physical and thereby miss out on the intrinsic qualities of what surrounds them. For this reason the intangible aspects of sleep leave them feeling disempowered or disoriented as they struggle to recognize the hidden meanings and significance of their dreams. As is the case of any athlete, navigating a world of abstraction can be a nightmarish ordeal that anybody would need help to escape from.
Their friend finds herself deserted upon the shore. Lest she were to become content and stay where she was, there is nothing but gray sand, no shells nor sea-glass to admire. Alone, the only company she is given is the tide, gasping as though it were alive. Left with no other choice, she resorts to walking along the shore. Just as she begins to wonder how she has come into her situation, she notices her thoughts have been writing themselves in the sand. There, succinctly scribed and properly punctuated, they remain along the shore until the tide carries them away. Just as their words drift off to sea, so does their meaning as she suddenly finds she is unable to recall them. Finding herself washed ashore, stranded alone with only her thoughts for company, it is as though the tide only wishes to carry them away and keep her lonely.
From the shallows, where the tide breaks and leaves foam in its wake, the crab washes ashore. A body with no head, it struggles mindlessly to coordinate its return to the sea. The girl notices this just as it falls into one of her footprints and flips over. As she witnesses it flail helplessly, she can not help but reflect. How strange it would be to be without a head! I would personally rather have a head to think with, even if I had no body to take action with… Her thoughts immerse the crab as they are both carried out to sea by the tide. Resituating its six legs, the sea insect commences its creeping along the shore just beneath the surface, unable to resist becoming ensconced in the girl's thoughts as the tide delivers them. As the chase commences, the girl warily becomes alert to the sudden change in the tide. As she feels it tug at her ankles, she reflects on where her thoughts are leading her, but at this time recollection is beyond her ability. No longer able to recall where she started or how far she has come, she resists the tide and retreats upshore.
Just as she begins to believe the desert will extend endlessly, a mirage emerges upon the horizon. Its verdant canopy in sharp contrast with the torrid turf to which it has been forced to adapt, the tree stands alone. Intrigued by its very existence, she reasons it must be more than what meets the eye. As she makes her way towards it, she can't help but worry about what might become of her. If the tree is just a mirage brought upon by her wishful thinking, she will remain stranded in the sands of time. Just then, a terrible thought arises from the back of her mind, Is the tree the mere remnant of another stranded soul made to wander alone? Terribly shaken, she is finally relieved to come into its company and find herself no longer alone.
From amongst its branches, the kindred spirit drops her a line. Its rope ladder ascends to a treehouse offering her further respite. However as she climbs and enters, she realizes the treehouse betrays her naivety. An ascetic abode, its precarious foundation makes it difficult to trust. From the composition of its constituents she can determine it was built piece-by-piece from goodwill and charity over time. However, its knotted and distorted junctions only afford her a crude window to peer out of...One whose sill is so crooked that one could only hope to rest a half-empty glass upon it.
Despite its austerity, the treehouse would be expected to withstand a nightmarish ordeal. From the tree's highest branches one could observe the course of her journey and further survey the dreamscape. Nothing existed other than an endless expanse of sea and desert. Their only interaction was the coast upon which she had washed ashore. As she had settled into the treehouse, the sea had begun its invasion. The tide rose upon the land and the storm encroached upon the horizon. This treehouse would be her only chance. Lest she succumb to doubt and abandon her protector, I intervened: You washed ashore to find yourself stranded out at sea. Afterward you wandered on, only to find yourself stranded once again in the desert. Trust in how far you have come and never abandon this abode, otherwise you will only find yourself stranded out in the wind and rain, lost forever in the sands of time.
The forewarning carries on the wind before reaching her. Her sense of loneliness having returned, she believes it is the spirit of the tree and this renews her spirit. As the storm proceeds, the rain pools into the window's sill and provides her water. As the tide rises, threatening to drown the tree and leaving behind a flood, she finds herself confined. Then, only able to derive respite by gazing out the window upon from the clouds passing by, she begins to reflect on the past. She reflects back to when, as a child before her decisions were her own to make, she could be found waiting by the window for the rain to pass. Then left waiting on the weather to go outside and play, now she finds herself left waiting on the tide to escape her nightmare and return. As time passes, she spends more time leaning out the window, reminiscing of her childhood in hopes the spirit of the tree will answer her.
At last, she awakens from her past and finds the tide presently subsiding. But upon rediscovering each other, she recoils. A body with no head, the crab struggles mindlessly towards her. Although a sea insect, its six appendages fail their blind attempt to clasp and capture. Then, the futility of their endeavor realized, the crab resolutely recommences its chase and begins to mindlessly encircle beneath her. But by this time, she has retreated, withdrawn far into her thoughts. I would rather have a head to think with, even if I had no body to take action with...even if all life became was seeing the world through a window and never being able to go outside…
Long after the tide returns to the sea, the crab remains in the shallows. The mindless body incessantly continues to trace along the base of the tree, seemingly content to subsist on the water pooled in its trench. Overcome with thirst, she dares emerge. Finding herself by the window once more, she wonders whether she will be found this way, a lost soul stranded in the sands of time. But upon leaning out the window, to her relief she realizes the spirit of the tree has been listening all this time, for far below the crab's sun-bleached shell lies motionless deep in the desert sand. As she dares descend from the branches of her protector, she finds her thoughts scribbled along the sides of her pursuer's enclosure to remain for all of time. The nightmare is done.
Time heals all wounds. Despite the torrential tide, the friends still dared to dive unaware that the storm had raised the tide, tricking them to dive into the shallows. While foretold their friend was fated to fall further into her coma and pass away, she would eventually resurface and surprise them. But upon recovering her consciousness, she would find her body broken. With her friends' support, she would recover in time. But until then, she could be found waiting by the window, taken back to the treehouse from her dream time and time again.
In the meantime, I submit my report to the Menagerie and submerge the fossil once more. As though time in reverse, it returns to life, content to mindlessly circle its enclosure around the clock. Its classification: Cancer.