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Beyond the Vortex.

Monday, January 7, 2008
Fayetteville, Arkansas

I turn over the hourglass. The white grains of sand begin to fall from the Heavenlies onto the Earth.

A fleet of images with symbols in the wake alternately informs and besieges me. The images come at me from all directions....

a crimson phoenix with intimations of dead ash and fiery emergence....

the salty palm and the vine-draped elm....

hammered brass, rounded porcelain, conical glass....

silver scales of justice, out of balance, held aloft by the left hand of an imperious regent....

the whirling vortex in its continuous swirl....

eight twin-edged swords, thrust into the hard soil to form the shape of a cage....

sparkles from a stash of golden coins....

the trumpet at the end of time, sounding from on high, long and loud....

a magic wand held by a wizened hand issuing from a gray cloud....

and a golden goblet, encrusted with gems and filled to the brim with meady elixir. Drink it and you may revive. Drink it and you may sleep forever.

Rocks, Feathers, the Void.

The symbols fly at me, demanding that I make my choices. Some smash like thrown rocks, others flutter like shed feathers onto a battered shield I interpose 'tween my life and the void. It is a long passage, cluttered with obvious error — but I shall serve it if you shall read it, and I shall emerge on some other side of the tomb, wings of the risen bird, the Egyptian Bennu, all that.

The images fall at my feet in a jumble. They are fragments from the collective. I think they were sent my way with a purpose, but the ways of the tribe and the host have become mystery to me. I can't make sense of the whole.

I listen to the rounded notes of the chimes. They race to me on the stout south wind. I wish I could become one, a C-sharp or an F-flat, one part of a natural melody, struck into existence by oak on steel, and sent one after another into the world to be heard. The chimes jingle-jangle from the branch of a tree not too high above a cracked foundation.

Hither 'n Yon into Chaos.

There are whirlwinds about, vast in number and gathering in intensity. They've been tracked and identified by radar to the west. They are coming to widen the cracks in the foundation, to wrench them into breaks, to separate the parts from the whole, to lift up the crafted things and fling them hither 'n yon into Chaos. So the experts warn.

What one human builds, another destroys. What one human creates, another denigrates, or steals. These are conscious acts, born of darkness, and anxious to return to darkness with prey in tow.

I am not about to throw stones, not tonight when redemption is near. Adage tells me that people live in glass houses. Who am I to toss aside the pearls of standard wisdom? I reside in a house with windows of glass. I pull the shades, but they are thin and porous. I suppose the message is clear enough to me, that if I throw stones, I'll break the glass.

It is cold outside — bitterly cold. I don't want the cold to come in. Not here. Not into my refuge. I won't break the glass.

Love. Limits.

I like to believe I love my fellow man. I want my love to show. Even to those others who provoke distress and disharmony in my constricted sphere of reality — even to them I wish no harm. I wish only that they would let me be, that they would go elsewhere, unleash their tumult and disturbance in another neighborhood.

What I do know tonight is that I am not eager to participate in the vast and indifferent world out there — not again, not anymore. The power and striving, the grab and run are becoming too much to bear, too much to overcome.

If my heart is broken by the ways of the world, I presume I am not alone. I presume that the fate of the broken heart is shared by a great throng — and that each of us in the folds of the throng walks the same path toward a place of mending.

The alternatives to the mending are despair, resignation, and death, which surface from the underworld and enter into man as a legion of distinct ailments with diverse manifestations. This is the moaning and groaning of the living hell.

I'll be bold and speak for the throng. I'll claim that most of us prefer to arise and walk.

Brokenness and Dust.

There is no room for pity, no permanent cabin for anger, no accommodation for vengeance. Those who choose to spread the brokenness shall dissipate to un-mourned dust.

I know my fellow man is capable of love, but his burden is equal to or greater than mine — and the both of us bind our outer self to the strictures of boundary and taboo. We become like the quake and the gale, the flood and the firestorm. We leave our love behind until after the deeds are done.

How can one drift into the cold sea so far from the moorings beside the level shore? The drift reveals an absence of purpose, the willingness to allow indifferent forces to determine whatever vague and temporal meaning might arise.

Ahead is the vortex. Beyond its swift whirlpools and fierce undertow is the other side. Safe and secure. The other side.


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