Michael Sutton (Edge Hill University, UK)
Having exited the park, I was adjusting to the sudden transmogrification of greenery-to-concrete, when I spotted, several feet above my head, the pirouette of a yellowing leaf drifting towards the pavement. Keenly, I observed its performance as it looped into my eyeline and seesawed down and down until, eventually, caressing clean flagstones, it settled on the ground.
I had already walked a fair way into the city—the trees lining the border of Kensington Gardens were far behind—so this leaf must have blown quite a distance through the middling wind to reach my footsteps. The more I thought about it, the more stunned I was by the realisation that this occurrence, this leaf grazing the ground, was one thing in an infinity of things happening in that one moment in time. I thought of all the leaves falling from all trees, all the people sleeping and dreaming, all the atoms of the universe constantly shimmying, and that was just one moment in an infinity of moments. I felt like I was witnessing it all, everything contained in the flicker of a thought. Then it was gone.
I believe I was experiencing what some traditions describe as unity consciousness: a deep connection to the oneness of the universe. Some claim that through disciplined meditation, reflection and spiritual practice, it is possible to reach a perpetual state of unity consciousness. Thanks to the fall of a leaf, I managed to achieve this mode-of-being without any discipline whatsoever, though only for the most fleeting of moments.
Michael Sutton is a writer and poet based in Liverpool. His work has been published in The Gateway Review, The Menteur, The Hellebore and elsewhere. He also writes regular articles and reviews for The State of the Arts. He is the winner of the Rhiannon Evans Poetry Award, and the Streetcake Experimental Writing Prize.