Saturday, January 16, 2010

a Parable, or Pahrahbel?

Once upon a time (which is a short way of saying we can't really say when this occurred) there was a man who lived on a plateau overlooking the ocean. He never left the small, one-room shack where he slept days, and nights spent searching the myriad words of various books.

Except, on rare occasions, the man would leave his shack, and walk. He would walk to the edge of his yard. He would walk around the perimeter of the plateau. He would walk down to the beach, kick his feet in the water. He would walk along the shoreline, for hours and hours. He would walk across the imaginary lines people drew on their maps, crossing boundary after boundary. He would walk until the dusk turned back into dawn. Then he would turn around and walk all the way back to his wooden shack. He would climb into the cot that was his bed, pull the covers up to his chin, and sleep another day away.

The following night he stayed inside.

But the man would always go back out again, some other time. And every next night he would go further -- one mile, two miles, five miles, ten miles, twenty miles. He would trudge until the bleeding of his feet brought the wandering of his mind back, like wind coalesces fog into cloud. Always the man had to go home. He would never leave the shack, but something called to him... and each night was another chance to find the source of his discontent.

Soon his wanderings became habitual, happening night after night after night. He became infected with a wanderlust. Never to be fully satisfied, his walks turned into a dark night of the soul, nocturnal urges coursing his ever-moving body, filling the steps that carried him farther, ever farther from the shack that he dared not fully abandon.

Then, one night, after walking further than he had ever done before, the man collapsed in the sand. Waves lapped at his face as the receding tide threatened to pull him in. The lull between awake and asleep flowed in time to the water's crests on the beach, and in these subtle motions there the paradox was established. Like a dream that defies reality, the man tried to stay, and also to roam.

The man was at heart a wanderer, but in deed a stationary object. What was it he searched for in these long walks? Was it what he read in the books back inside his cramped little shack? Was it adventure, or fortune, or a touch of the restless? In his life he feared the wider world, but his soul he yearned towards open-spaces. How to reconcile these twin desires? Should he stay, or should he go?

Eventually, the questions juxtaposed against each other piled so high the man could not get up. They burdened him down like a ten-ton hammer. He laid there as the water receded, and was carried out to sea.

The man was never seen again...

The End.

Dedicated to: J.O.ster,

Keep up the fight, good sir!


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