Arresting though these images may have been, the dreams somehow did not disturb Alma. Instead, they filled her with the most astonishing sensation of synthesis—as though all the most disparate elements of her biography were at last knitting together. All the things that she had ever known or loved in the world were stitching themselves up and becoming one thing. Realizing this made her feel both unburdened and triumphant. She had that feeling again—that feeling she had experienced only once before, in the weeks leading up to her wedding with Ambrose—of being most spectacularly alive. Not mere alive, but outfitted with a mind that was functioning at the uppermost limits of its capacity—a mind that was seeing everything, and understanding everything, as though watching it all from the highest imaginable ridge.
She would awaken, catch her breath, and immediately begin writing again.
“I will tell you why we have these extraordinary minds and souls, Miss Whittaker,” he continued, as though he had not heard her. “We have them because there is a supreme intelligence in the universe, which wishes for communion with us. This supreme intelligence longs to be known. It calls out to us. It draws us close to its mystery, and it grants us these remarkable minds, in order that we try to reach for it. It wants us to find it. It wants union with us, more than anything.”
“You think me naïve,” Wallace said.
“I think you marvelous,” Alma corrected. “I think you are the most marvelous person I have ever met, who is still alive. You make me feel glad that I am still here, to meet somebody like you.”
“Well, you are not alone in this world, Miss Whittaker, even if you have outlived everyone. I believe that we are surrounded by a host of unseen friends and loved ones, now passed away, who exert an influence upon our lives, and who never abandon us.”
–A Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert