Message in a bottle, released into the North Sea in 1904 by the Marine Biological Association, found this past April on a beach in Germany.
A friend has been to a psychic who talks to the dead. She has a place on Lankershim here in the Valley, it’s twenty bucks, you tell her who you want to chat with, my friend thinks we should go. Wait, I say with a note of caution, the Long Island Medium channels whoever happens to be hanging around, what does it mean you get to ask who you want to talk to? This one makes you choose, my friend explains; she doesn’t have time to pick the most interesting or poignant ones, she’s not doing a reality show. Oh I see, I say; like they’re lined up invisible in the ether behind you, waiting, like she’s the pay phone outside the counselor’s cabin at Camp Wanna-Go-Home. Up to you, Mr. Skeptic, my friend says.
Fine, I say; I know plenty of people on the other side, who do I ask for? Who might have something to tell me I need to hear? Some friendly advice, a handy tip, a little helpful guidance? I can’t get the living to return my calls or answer my emails, I tell my friend; what makes me think the dead are any different? But my friend says he had a great chat with his dad, and this with a man who’d hung up on him seven years ago and then abruptly gone and dropped dead without warning, so as you might imagine there was more than a little catching up to do. “It was very healing,” my friend says. “We both got to tell each other how we would have done things differently if we’d known then what we know now.”
I think that’s wonderful, I tell my friend, and I mean it. There are many paths to healing. I’m just not sure who I need to talk to over there. Me, is who I really want to ask for. I want to talk to the me who passed over in some other time and place, another reality, the me who didn’t make it in one of the countless variations on this plane of existence, the me who made different choices, who didn’t move to the Valley, who got someone to read that screenplay, buy that pitch, the me who hung in there, or the me who gave up and threw in the towel sooner than maybe I should have. I wonder what that me would have to say to this me here and now. What could he tell me about how it all works, how our choices matter or don’t matter in the general scheme of things? How the ebb and flow of fear and courage affect our course, and how the currents of time and circumstance end up taking us to distant shores, foreign lands, and whether we like it or not, to where we need to be?
But I don’t know. Talking to the dead, ourselves or others, probably isn’t the easiest way to get answers. Like messages sent in bottles by sea, hardly the most reliable or efficient communication system. Still, it might be worth a try.