Archive for April, 2007

Journey’s End – a fable

The road was difficult and my destination far distant.

“What a beautiful meadow,” my soul said as we traveled. “See, there, where the stream cascades over the rocks, how the sunlight glistens on the water, and a bird is singing in that tree. Surely God is an artist. Let us rest here to savor the goodness of his nature.”

“We haven’t the time to waste,” I answered, and trudged valiantly onward.

When we had journeyed for some while, we came through a village. A small child sat upon a doorstep, sobbing. My soul cried, “But, wait, let us stop to comfort this little one.”

“We have far to go still,” I answered. “We haven’t time to stop.”

The road flowed behind us, and behind us, and still behind. The shadows lengthened and the air chilled. “Oh, let us squander just a moment in the shelter of that wall,” my weary soul said. “I am sad and need respite. Can you spare nothing for my sake, at least?”

“Can’t you see, the day is growing short,” I said, impatient. “And if we do not persevere, night will be upon us before we reach our goal. We haven’t the time to spare.”

Then I saw death, in robes of black satin and with silver snakes twining in his hair. He came down the road toward us and, as he grew near, he looked directly at me and smiled in greeting.

“We must pray,” I said, frightened.

“You haven’t the time,” my soul said.

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The Burnt Place

It was just a big old farmhouse that had been burned at some time in the past and never rebuilt. We moved there when I was 6, maybe 7. Eleven of us, plus mother and father. We moved there from The Streetcar. My younger brother (I was number 10) was born in The Streetcar. No, it wasn’t moving. It had been parked on an empty lot, and where the conductor once sat was a sort of stove made of bricks, that served for cooking and heating. There isn’t much room in a streetcar. Elbow to elbow, ego to ego. To stretch, you turned inward. What an enormous space the mind is.

The Burnt Place had lots of space. Outside, the fields and pastures, a creek, a barn and a spring house. Inside, charred beams. Stairs that went nowhere. Rooms without ceilings, one missing two walls. It had ghosts. We are a family of ghost-seers, believers in the intangible, dream pursuers. Book people, too, readers. Bibles and library books and borrowed books and comic books and school books. All those words. “Come play with us,” the laughing words cried, and a delighted little boy took them to his heart, splashed in the creek with them and cavorted in the woods and drowzed in the sunlit pasture, conspiring in their seduction. “There is a place, at the roof of the world,” the honeyed words whispered, “The wind at your back blows down from the high Himalayas and at your feet, in a vast, green valley lies the ancient kingdom of Chin. Come, let us take you there.”

 A writer is born.

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