It’s so easy to cast the tiniest pebble into the tranquil pond.
Sit and watch the ripples spreading, flowing outwards, touching unknown shores with a smidgen of warmth, a lapping of love.
Reaching out, from the center to the periphery, not knowing where the outreach is going, but knowing that the effort is never in vain if it helps someone’s suffering, reduces their loneliness, brings light to their lives, and relieves their pain.
Bread cast upon the waters, returned in great store, three, five, seven, ten times more than what you cast.
Your spider-web lines thrown inwards and outwards in a gesture of faith, hope, and a charity chest of tenderness to lighten a burden, to remove the dark from another’s heart.
It’s so easy to select a pebble, but who will throw that first stone?
On days like these, the center must hold, but not just hold, it must writhe and strive to live longer, be stronger, to hold together so that the periphery understands that it too is at the center of an extended web of life that contains us all, you and me, past and future generations, in a great chain of being alive and knowing that yes, we are here, we are, at heart, really only one, and totally unique, is spite of the sameness that sometimes surrounds us as time’s spider-web unravels, oh so fast, so slow, and yet still we are here, and still the center holds.
Only the winners write the history of their conquests, only the winners. Am I a winner, then? Of course I am. I’m writing this aren’t I? Therefore, ipso facto, I am a winner. This means that although they trashed and thrashed me, they never broke me nor was I a loser. I survived. And in that world in which I lived, surviving without surrendering was a victory in itself. But this is no tale of a hero, of bloody deeds, of a great victory. It is a survivor’s tale. So, if I won, then they lost, and who knows now how the losers felt, history’s non-winners, their slates wiped clean now, their names anonymous, erased from my story, not carved in stone nor impressed into steel. What’s in a name? The Red Wings, the Black Hawks, the Braves, the Algonquins? Whose heart lies broken and buried at Wounded Knee? Why does the Wolastoq rise in the Notre Dame mountains and flow down through unceded land to the City of Fredericton that noble daughter of the woods, and on to the city of Saint John on Fundy Bay? Why Wolastoq, Notre Dame, Fredericton, Saint John? “Sticks and stones will break my bones, yet names will never hurt me.” But what if I am called Nemo and have no other name? No-name man, no-name woman, no-name child, no language to call my own, no culture, no history, except the one that others wrote and forced me to believe or the innocent who causes me to rebel
“Grandpa,” she says, climbing on my knee. “Tell me a story. Please.” “Once upon a time,” I begin. “There was this little girl …” She wriggles and giggles. “What was her name?” “I don’t know.” “Yes, you do.” “Don’t.” “Do.” “Was it me? Am I that little girl?” “You can be if you want.” “I want. How does my story end?” “I don’t know. You’ve only just started it.”
So, write your poems, write your stories, write your childhood, write your memories, write what you know, invent what you don’t know. You can’t remember your name? Give yourself a new one. You have forgotten your myths? Create new ones. You have forgotten your language? Seek and you will find, and when you have found, learn your language again, a word at a time, phrase by phrase, word-picture by word-picture, until you have renewed your world and your place in it. Let your ancestors stride through your veins again and again to stand in the spotlight that you shine upon them. Restriction, extinction, suppression of the weakest and poorest, survival of the fittest … You, you who are reading this, you who have survived, you can count yourself among the strongest and the bravest. Now name yourself for who and what you are. Pick up your pen and write. Lazarus I name you: step out from your living tomb, step out from your kennel-cave. Pick up your bed and walk and talk, and write your own story. And remember the words of Oscar Wilde, “Tell your own tale, and be yourself, my friend, because everyone else is taken.”
Each of the select will be marked with a seal, ash on the on the chosen one’s forehead signifying all grief and guilt consumed, reduced to the ashes of this burnt-out sign.
Dust to dust and ashes to ashes, for of dust are we made, and though the embers may glow for a little while, that ash will soon grow cold. Words are quick forgotten yet memories linger.
They wander among celestial fields of glory where nimbuses of nebulae crab sideways to claw-crack veiled mysteries in an effort, often vain, to reveal them and lay them bare.
Bird song, far below, flickering fading, luminous confusion of son et lumière, infused with the ineffable joys of paradise and time eternal, successive yet simultaneous.
Birds in the branches of the Tree of Life gather its fruits with multitudinous song.
Forgotten offerings litter the hidden path, trodden by the few wise men who in the world did live. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh may not be accepted. The offerings are we ourselves, for a broken and a contrite heart will not be despised.