I try to think of myself as a simple man. One filled with Love who communes with nature. But invariably I find myself standing at a place where two points meet and the world then demands my attention. I was a born a ram, an Aries. I was born to firmly stand my ground as the ever looming precipice quietly awaits beneath me. I am not scared that I will fall. What I fear, my only fear, is my desire to jump. As I move through this life both physically and temporaly, I am aware of the ground constantly shifting beneath my feet. As pebbles, rocks and stones give way beneath me, I can’t help wonder which stone may strike a boulder and end it’s trajectory or which precariously entrenched pebble may dislodge an avalanche to the horror of them passing unawares below.
And careful as I am to plant my feet on solid ground with every step I take, I’m always prone to make mistakes. And I’ve caused whole mountain sides to collapse behind me as I wander along my trail.
I am connected to the Earth, the Foundation of my being, but I hold my head up facing ever towards the Firmament. I can feel telluric currents gently nudging the unfolding of events. But every time my actions cause the cliffs I tread upon to collapse, I can’t help wondering where the true fault lies; was it me or circumstance.
I am a hermit but not oblivious of my responsibilities to life. I am no friend of nostalgia, the pain of returning home. But I am and ever will be a sentimentalist.
I try so hard to stay away from situations that could cause harm but they seem to seek me out.
My ex-lover, the love of my life, she sought me out. Poor her. We spent a year or two getting acquainted and she decided to have a baby without informing me. We started fighting in spite of our agreement to bring him full to term. The fights were constant. But our arguments always ended with brutal & persistent silence.
You see. I’m always lonely. I have my novels. I have these pretty words. But I have no story.
So i await the storm. Let it wash away the past. So that I might move on along the slopes and hope it wasn’t my tread which crumpled the cliff in my wake.
Each step I take I focus on the landing. For despite the possible repurcussions of my acts, I must move through this manifest world. To lay down in fear of hurting others is to assume the role of a god. I act when I must act. I go because I must ascend the heights. To reach the summit is not my goal for what lies at the summit besides further vertigo? I must reach the summit because I must go. It’s as simple as that. And if rockfall thunder down the mountain taking trees and homes in it’s wake it has been the will of Brahman, YHWH, Tao, Allah, Krishna, whomever has borne me on this path.
Not to go, to do nothing, would be to defy God’s will and shame will be my burden. And it seems I must tread my trail in solitude – to be sure, quite distinct from isolation. I want a companion to share this mission with, but all quests of the heart must be undertaken alone.
I have been told that on this path no effort is wasted; no gain is ever reversed; and that even a little of this practice will shelter me from great sorrow. Therefore I must go. I seek the Godhead, Theotokos. Not for my own sake but for the sake of my son and family, I go on dutifully. Trembling with every step I take, I defy the Earth to give way beneath me or the sky to come crashing on my head.
It might seem like pride, to continue upward despite the possible -inevitable- consequences of my actions. But to lay down and die? I fear whatever might or, worse, might not await me at the end. To continue is not pride, but courage.
I love my son and I love his mother. But she and I will never forgive each other. And it wrenches my heart both day and night to imagine he might come in time to only think of me as a boulder rolling down into his world or that I may have been the one who dislodged such.
But where will flights of fancy get me? I breathe deep thin air and wonder at the valley below. So many folks going on about their lives, they take no notice of me. Am I conceited? No. I just don’t want my one true love, my only son, to become just another one of them. That… That is what terrifies me most of all. That I will be villified by his kith and kin for my being kept from him so long. That he might not learn how to be independent of others’ judgement.
I keep him with me in my heart and there I have gouged out for him a home. And that is where my emptiness comes from. A ram longs for his kid and it is getting harder to breathe up here alone.
I am ultimately unattached. But is that a good thing? The choice was not my own. He was taken by his mother for her particular reasons. And I endeavor to forgive her. I fought with all my heart to keep hope alive, but passion soon overtook hope, leading me to shameful acts, and now I must learn patience. I still clutch tightly to my dreams. I am conflicted. Unattached, did I say? No: I hold onto hope as if it were a shower curtain and I, a man of no importance, slipping in the tub. I will someday rend the fabric of the universe and make it so that human kind can fly and so avoid these slippery slopes.
If God had wanted us to fly, he would have given us wings, some say. Troglodytes, rooted forever in place. He gave us brains and imagination. Free will to get ourselves in trouble. With which to build airplanes.
I was an addict. That was her principle reason for leaving. If God didn’t want us to feel closer to him he wouldn’t have given us poppies, cannabis, St. John’s Wort, valerian, kava kava, yeast, tea, coffee, coca, psylocybin, tobacco or ephedra. But he gave us these to use as sacrement, not for recreation. And here is where I made my mistake.
We have forgotten that the seed bearing plants and herbs were given us to use for nourishment. Instead we use them to turn a profit or to temporarily escape. Here we are: wretched prisoners draped in clanging chains. Imperceptibly connected to the Earth’s atmosphere by fire and rain. It is an untenable position.
But with faith I reach higher to the summit. I will meet my maker and I will face Him.
There is no peace unless we force it, such a contradiction. It does not simply come.
Their is no justice unless we make it. And mine has just begun. Woe to them in Ivory towers. I shall make the Earth quake with a stomp to send them reeling back to the realm of mortals. Where the masters go on flirting with the cliffside wind and them who sleep on benches are vagrant princes, vagabond kings drowsing on their thrones. The shamed will one day have remuneration against the high priests and magisters who defile God by handing out, as if it were there’s to give, damnation. In a world where accusations are equivalent to condemnation, blessed are them for whom human justice failed, for God in his great wisdom has increased their numbers so as to overwhelm the self-righteous. If only the masses of discouraged had the will to take back their inallienable rights. There is no room for liars in the courts nor for them who bear false witness in the heavens. And for all who’ve passed a beggar whilst feighning deaf and blind, refusing even the generosity of a dime, they shall know shame in time. It will be incumbent upon us, then, to usher them into the flock with loving-kindness.
For it is writ that we must forgive, show mercy, but never were we told we must forget.
There is no shame left in this world today; only arogance: mirth, gossip, greed and anger. Those of us who are still with conscience are seen as malcontents or anarchists. Our failure to conform is seen as an emotional leprosy and so we have been put out to the margins. We see that life has more than only joy in store for us, but our worries are felt by those same troglodytes I mentioned earlier as anachronistic in this land of TV, milk and honey. Envy of the Joneses keeps the lump sum of “civilized” man twittering of jokes and posting only happy telegrams.
Real life comes with real emotions. An examined life, the only life worth living, finds contentment with both decay & growth; ecstacy, depression. But in this modern age we must turn to strangers with whole alphabets following their surnames or else be turned out by friends and family for ever feeling blue; for daring to disturb them with our woes, seeking only consolation. We few who truly live must hide our hearts with gay replies or else be perceived as freaks to pity.
There are so few artists whose works bear weight. Everything enjoyed by the masses is just so much bubblegum. Where are the goddamn songs? And what’s wrong with blue humour and emotion? It is the color of the rivers, lakes and oceans; the shade of the sky in which birds so delight and the average man perceives a glorious day! Indeed what is wrong with darkness? It is the time of sleep, of peace, of dreams and of rejuvenation!
We must learn to cry again, or else fall prey to laughter and forgetting. That’s not to say joy has no intrinsic value, but it must be balanced before it turns to mania. And in the valley they are fond of madmen.
And suddenly, I feel as though I’m no longer treading towards the summit, but balancing on a thread. I fear, here, I must make myself clear; to ready my intention. That is, I don’t wish for folks to suffer, rather just be honest to their deeper being. To go on pretending as we do now, is to wallow in hypocrisy. We have become somehow endentured to the notion that only joy can be sublime. So much so that in hiding our pains and shames from others, we’ve actually reached a stage wherein we deprive ourselves the transfiguration brought by crisis. Short of forging strength in the flames of true passion, we imitate. Or we deny those galvanised by pain the nobility of their tortorous baptism.
Furthermore, in refusing to face our own hurts and humiliations, we begin to fear them who are most honest or, worse yet, pity them and offer silly platitudes and reflexive condolescence. Today, we may see a news piece which for but a moment solicits a meagre and self-indulgent compassion, but tomorrow, if not just minutes later, we will have forgotten that token gesture of sympathy as if it had never cut us to the quick. And so, by denying the darker nature of our inner-selves, we deprive the tormented souls of loved ones courageous enough to ask for help the lifeline of dignity and companionship, throwing instead a gossamer thread of heartfelt but empty words capable of bearing nothing.
As a kid I took great delight in stumbling through the forest at night. The moon would cast her loving gaze upon the crooked dogwoods, and hickories, intricately weaving their shadows into the cloak of my memory as I eagerly sought the place of owls I’d heard, but could not see or the cave from which the bats I saw, but could not hear must have come. I delighted in June with its dancing fireflies so close, so brief, so magic. Even the howls of wolves and chirping dens of young coyotes seemed to me as warm a blanket as the midnight rains and bellowing of bullfros. Crickets played their violins at eventide and all was right. And all was right.
I never felt the crackling of fires, the pops of sap from incinerating greenwoods, the light of camps were meant to keep the darkness at bay, so much as to stake our claim within it. For, ever was there truly darkness? If the moon was new the stars shone that much brighter. And if it stormed the forge of Thor would briefly light the way. The thunder never menaced me any more than Nana’s voice easing me to slumber.
And between the night and full daylight came slowly yawning dawn. Be she in mourning veiled in indigo, adorned in resplendent crimson, awakening from tangerine dreams or rising next to nude from the horizon barely covered in her flaxen gown, the world was yet unchanged.