“Once in a lifetime, perhaps, one escapes the actual confines of the flesh. Once in a lifetime, if one is lucky, one so merges with sunlight and air and running water that whole eons, the eons that mountains and deserts know, might pass in a single afternoon without discomfort. The mind has sunk away into its beginnings among old roots and the obscure tricklings and movings that stir inanimate things. Like the charmed fairy circle into which a man once stepped, and upon emergence learned that the whole century had passed in a single night, one can never quite define this secret; but it has something to do, I am sure, with common water. Its substance reaches everywhere; it touches the past and prepares the future; it moves under the poles and wanders thinly in the heights of the air. It can assume forms of exquisite perfection in a snowflake or strip the living to a single shining bone cast up by the sea. “ - Loren Eisley, from The Immense Journey
Naturalist Eisley wrote The Immense Journey in 1957. My 1982 paperback copy is yellowed with age and will soon need a rubberband top hold the pages together. When he talks about the real, it seems almost magical.