It’s That Time Again, Again

You’re old or sick. Tired, you close your eyes. A warm darkness descends and within it, you see a soft, dim, orange light. It is a warm, comforting glow, rotating, surrounded by subtle sparkles. It begins to recede. The glow darkens steadily until it has vanished, and all is black. You feel nothing. You hear and see nothing now. And it is blissful.

After a time - you have no idea how long - you hear specks of distant sound. These grow steadily louder. You feel that you are nearing the source, or the source is nearing you. Those sounds, you realise, are coming from people - speech perhaps, or wailing. To your surprise, you have become aware that sounds are coming from somewhere very near. In fact, piercing cries are coming from inside you, you can feel as much as hear them. You can also hear a muffled but steady chatter of voices and you have the sensation of being manhandled, wrenched from a dark safety and silence into harsh light and noise. And now you can see, although you have forgotten who you were when you closed your eyes. A blazing world pours in. Unknown faces stare down at you. You know only that you are new to this and something difficult and risky is about to start, again . . .