The Unfolding by Matthew Ratz






The Unfolding

A flower blooming is the unfolding of all it could have ever been, its insides bellow outward; its potential is birthed under the gaze of the sun, cresting like a newborn. There, suspended between two peaks by a strand of iridescent spider’s web, he dances. Balancing on one foot, he steadies himself like a tight-rope walker. His arms, bent at outrageous angles, sway as he adjusts his gait. Nature labors in symmetry fulfilling a cosmic calculus. All things arrange themselves by fives.

The thread—for it shouldn’t be called a rope—a fine, glistening sinew, not designed for holding the weight of anything, certainly not a robust man of his stature, stretches across a shadowy chasm. In defiance of the laws of physics, he perches like a crane on this thread, suspended above this hole, between the spires of ice. Turning inside-out, wearing his guts outside his skin; being the most vulnerable he’s ever been. All things cycle to equilibrium.

Now he poses like a ballerina, free foot flexed, arms stretched to opposing right angles, his fingers knotted into extreme contortions, all to strike the perfect balance. He is engulfed in a velvet blackness, undulating like ink. The peaks between which he percolates rise from the depths like spires stabbing skyward. A kaleidoscope of jewels bedazzles, casting glistening sparkles to the edges of the world.

Why does he perch thus above this abyss? Elongating the toe box of his shoe to the finest point, he is the epitome of balance. He does not prolong his pose for some uncertain period or for an infinite future; his impulse is forward, and his limbs and digits shift to maintain his architectural poise while also heaving outward. At this moment, he is awash in calmness and peace. The inky blackness embraces him. He fears not the enigma beneath him. Peace effervesces like a mandala, radiating and undulating to find its internal gravity across five dimensions.

None know for how long he must traverse this wire, but he is simultaneously indefatigable and zen. “I can stay here as long as I’d like,” he thinks to himself, “enmeshed in this cloud of velvet, posed like a raptor and fearing nothing.” Knowing full well that despite his pause— this perfectly contorted pose—his momentum is tipping forward. Does the past predict the future, or are the infinite alternate pathways spiraling outwards like streamers and confetti, impossible to prophecy?

Standing still is driving ahead. With a thought, he could spin forward, tumblesaulting from finger to toe along this tightrope. This he knows to the depth of his soul. Sparks of electricity burst between spherical nodes along a conduit, zapping and fizzing like seltzer. Are all things energy? Must we move at all? The blackness encases him, sloshing and foaming about the contours of his body.

All is projection of his mind. For the peaks and webs he has imagined around him are illusions, and he stands upon solid ground, not agonizingly twisted upon a hovering wire. Obstacles peel away upon review, and his eyes open onto a dazzling daytime display. Verdant bushes and vibrating trees protrude against a watercolor sky. Wisps of clouds chase the horizon. Origami fortune tellers flap and unfold, scrolls of untold futures coil like dragons into the unknown.

Behind his eyelids he has lived a million lives. To pause is to breathe, present in the knowledge that all things move with purpose. Stillness is a form of movement. In chaos, he allows the momentum of the nonsense to propel him to his ultimate sanctuary. He cannot fall, for he has already arrived. Emanations of the original survive in each new generation, and thus we thrust ourselves out from within, ever unfolding into all we are meant to be.

With a diverse background spanning Higher Education, nonprofit management, peer support, and advocacy, Matthew Ratz currently holds the position of Executive Director at Passion for Learning, Inc. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to bridging opportunity gaps for low-income students in STEM and College readiness. He is also an adjunct professor of English at Montgomery College, Germantown. Beyond his leadership in education and nonprofit management, Matthew is a prolific author with several nonfiction and children’s books to his name. His poetry has been featured in various anthologies, and he has delivered a TEDx talk available for viewing on YouTube and As a highly sought-after writer, speaker, and performer, Matthew channels his extensive experience and unwavering commitment to inclusivity and equity to make a positive impact on the world.

Image: Angie from Sawara, Chiba-ken, Japan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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