The Exile

Into a garden lost on some wayside, through the paper doors the exile opened the world, bronzed and blackened like smooth pebbles embedded in grouts of cool white clouds. Beyond the paper doors the rain divides the pebbles into respective shapes of charcoal pear and ash persimmon, into six different shades of silence. In that first land the paper doors were holes through which the moths would dance, through which the night time coiled. Like cool green tea the summer set all the fields in a foam of sedge.

The Return

There were many mountain passes on the narrow road that led back to the land before the smoke. Many years had passed since he had last seen the shapes of its flowers and the clothes of its climates. Of days in the lure of clouds he had more images than a mind could hold. A headspace of tripping through mists and curling paper, of golden sawdust and blue ashes. And yet he could not seem to name a single voice from that other land. The closer he drew to its ancient gate, the more it seemed not to exist. And still he clutched in his one hand the one straw.

The Logician

A logician spent years testing word problems, striving with paradoxes and studying all the arcana of mathematics, physics, and philosophy. Through various tests and formulas, he came to the conclusion that there were many logics—some which worked together well, some which contradicted others, and even some which contradicted themselves while remaining valid. There seemed to be no way to unify and map all the logics into one great logic.There were days when logic seemed to darken his mind like the desert sun; there were nights when logic lifted him on the wings of white birds to sail off to the stars. The poor man grew tired and ill. At last, he traveled one day and one night over the desert to an old weathered church, and confessed to his priest: I believe in the faith, I do not believe in logic, but I do not believe in an illogical faith. Worried for his health, the priest blessed him and sent him on a pilgrimage, giving him a map of the exact route to take. On the first segment of the journey, he encounteed the smallest oasis he had ever seen. On the second segment of the journey, he passed through the mountains and watched racing clouds and falling rain. On the third segment of the journey, he arrived at the shore and beheld the sand dunes and the immeasurable sea beyond. As an apostle once said, perhaps mystically or symbolically, everything was made of water and by water. There on the beautiful shore the logician wept, for a saint who weeps is analogous to a saint who walks on water.

[credit to Simone Weil for the last analogy]

The Pilgrim

In the realm of colophons, a young pilgrim became lost. She was making her journey into the great moment, but found herself lost in labyrinths of other momenta. What she found most difficult was the number of crossroads, the mimics among the trees, and the changing weather and seasons. A rainfall of whispers could follow a drought of intonations. There were nonlandscapes that bled through landscapes; quanta and qualia would throw their lights and shadows upon eachother. A tree of ink could dissolve into water. A stone could dissolve into the wind. There were vast wastes littered with fishbones and chariot wheels where there had never been seas or highways. She lost her parasol and blindfolds, her prayer beads and her cup, her coins and bone dice, her compass, astrolabe and telescope, her map and her almanac, and even her horse. It was hard to walk alone among the phantoms, chimaeras and mirages. Once, she stopped to ask for directions. She wanted to know if the orb of hydrogen was shining, or if it was the sun, or if it was a vision of the sun, a lion, a coded replica, a magic lantern trick, or some twisted combination of several or all of those possibilities. The passersby assaulted her skull and left her for dead. Almost naked, she staggered onward, fixing her hair into a classic chignon to remind herself that her body and heart and mind and spirit could still be real and beautiful. Symbols were bleeding from her and leaving tangible bloodstains, like dark burns or holes in the universe, upon the dust of the road. Sometimes she almost fell into them–how vast and bottomless they seemed. Now and then, she encountered other victims whose skulls had been rocked, sucked, cracked, probed, trepanned, hollowed out, stuffed with straw or used for libations. Most were beyond healing. It was often difficult to tell if the others on the road were statues, automatons, shadows, or real bodies, walking the earth, their footsteps almost making the same rhythm as her own. And yet, there were so few footprints in those glorious wastes, so rare that one would wish to kiss them or suck the rainwater from them. Wandering through one spiralling chronotope after another, she fell in love. The man was ancient and youthful. She found him writing in the sand surrounded by a circle of bones. Out of his hands and skull flowed a silent light. She fell facedown in the sand upon seeing him. When she awoke, he was carrying her in his arms. Now and then they rested on the glory of snowed mountains. Though he seemed to be mute, she read his radiant footprints that were mirrors of the world, of his soul and her soul. Whenever he held her head, kissed her, brushed sand from her brow, or held her hand, her skull and heart would fill with purity, and the chronotopes, the planets, the symbols and colophons melted into silence and into light.