Thousands of people. A great plaza of a great city.Brightly colored clothing. Cell phone chatter. The faint incense of cigarette smoke. Sun above, limestone below. Hold this image in your head.

Sometimes, when I was young, I used to lie awake, and wonder why I was born in America, when most of the world was starving and dieing. I still don't have any good answers. Hold this image in your head, hold on to it.

It is the the Year of our Lord 2000, and I am in a rich and contented land. We are in. A rich and contented country.

Stand above, on the freeway overpass. Listen to the humming of the semis as they roll by, bearing many fine things. Watch the shiny cars. Where are they going? Who is in them? Hold this image, hold on to it, treasure it.

I used to run out into the forest for hours on end. I believed that it could reconfigure itself at will, so that one path might take me to the place where the wild onions grew one day, and following it the next day might take me to the place where lightning and dry rot had carved out a figure that looked like a frog in the middle of a leap. I had names for all of those places, but I can't remember them.

It rained all day today, so I just sat home, reading and listening to music and smoking cigarettes. Through the thin walls, I could hear my neighbors talking to each other. They sounded happy. It was a Sunday, so I had the luxury of staying home. Not everybody has that luxury.

Hold onto these images. Hundreds of millions of people all connected together by wires and satellites and undersea cables and a thousand other things. Birds flying in a flock from tree to tree, against a sky of perfect empty blue.

Sometimes I wake from a dream, and it seems so beautiful and true that all I can do is lay in bed for half an hour and remember it. If you see me staring off into space, even a week after that, it might be because I'm remembering one of those dreams. Trying to hold onto it.

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