She closed her eyes and let the darkness settle in. Is this what death will look like? She wondered. There wouldn’t even be the color black. She felt utterly empty and blank, like the gaze of the turtle carcass in the meadow. She didn’t want to become nothing. She loved being alive so much.
Then she opened her eyes and looked up again at the blackness between the stars. Her tiny speck of life was utterly insignificant in the sweep of space. Its vastness left her feeling dizzy and disoriented. But it also made her feel something else, something surprisingly close to… free. She was completely, utterly free to live her one and only life until she died. Death was as natural and necessary as life, and both were far older and larger than she had imagined. Each breath connected her to the first algae and the last dinosaur. All the animals that had ever lived and died—they were all part of the same precious matter—and so was she. She belonged to it all, from the stars to the soil. She wasn’t nothing. She was everything.
But unless we are creators, we are not fully alive. What do I mean by creators? Not only artists, whose acts of creation are the obvious ones of working with paint or clay or words. Creativity is a way of life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living. Creativity is not limited to the arts.