The First Step

The First Step

He is a long cool slab of stone sitting on the sandy dirt with long fat soft pliable light brown pine needles all around. His movements are slow and steady. I think he is a praying mantis moving up a leaf or a salamander slipping into the pond. I think he is a marching band in bright stiff primary colors and thick curling white frippery: back straight, chest out, instrument up, legs lifting high. I think he is a humped back armadillo, mastodon, bull, or rhino-like dinosaur. I think he coats the back of dreamland with a soft black ooze.

Pure Love? Sure, love. Another way to sucker you, another way to steal your mind.

But still I sit here in the rounding of the dark skipping stream and pluck at long sharp grassblades, hoping for God, a girl and general spryness. I’m hoping for the ground to rise up and up until it reveals itself to be a loamy flying saucer, dangling roots and dribbling clods and sprays of cool dark dirt. I’m hoping two giant crab eyes will rise up out of the grass on either side of me, look every way, blink in surprise at seeing me, zip back down under the floating earth, and then rise up gradually, angling away from me, trembling a little, and edging back down a bit after every advance, but slowly–like a tail-tittering squirrel overcome by the safety of the park and the lure of the potato chip–rising up to see me, greet me and acknowledge that I too am flying with the craft, have become part of this round, round-edged chunk of flying earth.

I want to be happy? I want to be decent? Why am I here? What is the point of all this getting older? I’m tired now. Pure Love? A love free from all greeds, lusts, prides, meannesses, hopes, fears, platitudes, attitudes, promises, betrayals. A love that is complete joy and complete generosity. And somehow that love should talk to me, help me, be my heart and my soul and the direction of my life. Nice thought. But what about realism? What about toughly braving the hard facts? And yet the accounts of ultimate meaninglessness and of gods that put grandeur over love don’t seem any more plausible to me. They actually just sound like meaningless noise to me. So who is right? Who’s ear is right? I can hear you calling in the night? I will keep your people in my heart? Cheesy church song from some wimpy tradition that can’t even roll the snares of war anymore, can’t fight for anything and so must needs die?

Love as the most fundamental reality: now that would actually be meaningful. But everything else as the fundamental reality: boring, meaningless, inconsequential, half-ass, hopeless, meaningless.

I’ve skipped this stone across this flat black water for long enough now. The rim of the arching concrete dam has held this water up and in for long enough now.

Around and around, pacing over these same steps. Tired and bored.

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