An old buddha was sitting under a tree staring into the distance and meditating when a swordsman walked by. Surprised by how overweight the saint had become, the swordsman cried out, You look like a hippopotamus! The old buddha smiled and replied, You look like a blue mountain. The swordsman laughed, realizing this was a type of proverb or parable, and walked away, lost in thought. One only sees one’s own inner reality. The old buddha is filled with beautiful landscapes, whereas I am filled with beasts, he reasoned, feeling slightly ashamed. Meanwhile, the old buddha returned to gazing at the blue mountain in the distance.
There was a corrie of stone and ice where the travelers would gather by the light of certain stars, ambiguous solstices and unthought eclipses to pass through time and space and harvest the good light, the good water, the good wind and the good fire, for with these the sons and daughters of men and women were healed and built into great giant cities of stone and strength. One opened the gate through speaking the old language. One traveler loved the language; he loved and spoke all languages and remembered the times, but the old language was best and was like a fountain within his body and soul. They called him the bear, for bears have big jaws and love rivers. As time went by, the bear noticed that fewer and fewer travelers could speak or revere the old language, and took no precautions as they traveled. They brought illness into the corrie and spoke deplorable words. The gate of stars would often not open. Pilgrims who came to the travelers for guidance and healing became increasingly lost and sick. At times it seemed as if the very stones of the corrie were shifting and crumbling. The travelers still came in the seasons of traveling, but instead of speaking the old language, they forbid others to speak it, and sat around discussing the beauty of their sickness as if it were a gift from heaven. They were dying from their deplorable words and killing others as well. One day, the bear fell sick from an ordinary disease, and wandered into the high peaks to cough and sleep in solitude. While convalescing in the high land, he spoke the old language to himself and found himself traveling high roads through stars and black holes he had not thought possible. In those heights and depths he found great worms of stone, oarfish of mists, and krakens of water. There were silver trees of lightning and golden whirlpools of fire. The earth drew light and strength from the heavens, through his body, and he felt well again. On rising, he surveyed the sad earth from which the old words were vanishing, and knew now that every broken stone and dried up river is a forgotten word, an irreverant grammar, a deplorable sentence, a blasphemy. When he went back down to the corrie, he found that more than half of it had crumbled into a glacier, and the other travelers sat oblivious on a shifting precipice, reading their sores and scabs as if practicing divination, and cursing everything above and below heaven. It was then that the bear realized that he had been transformed into a real bear.
It was the twilight of life. The warrior who had written great tragedies lay on his bed dying slowly in the wake of a dramatic and sorrowful event. One servant whispered to another that it was just too tragic. It was strange to hear the servant use that word as an adjective. The warrior mused on his plight and how his life was thought to reflect tragedies he had written, which were thought to reflect real life. What did real life before tragedies reflect?
One of the last paraloi, a magellan, cruised through the remnant of galaxies at the very edge. The magellan inspected her instruments, gazed through the chronoscopes and chorascopes and made calculations with the logic boxes implanted in her abdomen and skull. Omens seemed to swirl about in the melancholy of the stars she observed and the data she analyzed. The blood orange galaxy atomized in her very face, and it was a miracle that her paralus survived. In another galaxy, a ring of pale blue exoplanets began to smoke and blur and then froze, half-smoking, half-distended, half-iced and still crisply round, but at a dead stop in their orbits, their sun seemingly frozen in amber radiation. She drove hard into the next galaxy to see mauve gas clouds experience a rainstorm of silver phaethons and other particles. Something tempted her to return the way she came. The rainstorm of phaethons went into reverse motion and disappeared. She encountered the blood orange galaxy again, alive and well, where it was not supposed to be in space or time. Lastly, she encountered the pale blue exoplanets, intact, rotating and revolving correctly. Driving on, she saw the blood orange galaxy yet again, once more in tact and in its proper place. The cranioscope registered no imbalances or damage to her neurology or psychology. The chronoscope and chorascope revealed nothing anomalous in time or space. Once again, the blood orange galaxy suddenly burst into flames and vanished. The magellan doubted her own health and the integrity of her machinery. Inside her vessel, she watched television from antiquity. One channel was broadcasting a rerun of a classic film, in which a man tampers with a gaslight to trick his wife into believing she is insane so that he can cover up his crimes. The magellan began to realize what was happening in the universe. She fell asleep and dreamed that she was a tree full of white wolves.
In the other land, in another part of the universe, the prince taught the nature of things and of the divine. What is reality? It is like four days, or ages or moments. It is like a ride in a chariot outside the walls of the other city. On the first day, you see a man who has rusted and worn in the wind of time, ancient and weak. On the second day, you see a man of wounds and sickness, who walks with crutches in the dust of the cemeteries and ash heaps. On the third day, rolling and thundering alongside the circular wall, you pass a man without life, a corpse being eaten by worms, insects, and rats. On the fourth day, you almost run over a man of hunger, meditative and emaciated, his blood turned to lead, his bones almost bursting through his sinews, his spirit wandering in the effervescent transendence. The chariot orbits the outside wall of the other city. The most ancient wooden artifact from our history is a little chariot that has lost its chessboard. One of these facts is tangential. Our first racing chariot is a whirlwind of lightning that rolls and thunders, its wheels and its spokes blur in the cold wind, and the four days are one circle of day, which is an empty evening in the autumn when the golden leaves detach from their branches and sail into the darkness of stars like stringless kites.