The Man Who Walked 

There was once a man who walked into the silence to raid the ineffable. And in the morning, he reasoned with the fishes, but they began to rot. Thus, he walked from the shore and into the hills. Then he whispered to the cedars, and they smoked and turned to ash. Once again he walked through the broken towns of dirt and stone, a man of law in a lawless place. And he argued letters and numbers with the shadows, but the shadows ran away into the darkness. In the silence of the eclipse, the man who walked prayed, as one by one the flown birds were extinguished and became extinct. Who was this mystic? the teacher interrupted in rage. What an inept, shallow novice! Who could he be? And the angel wept, and whispered, The One all mystics seek. 

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The White Cat 

The white cat walked through the silver grass while the philosopher strolled on the gravel. A winding river followed the country road. What are words? the white cat asked. They are running water, said the master. The cat thought about it and stopped to gaze at the midautumn moon. They walked on and strayed from the road to climb a great hill. Below and beyond the other side of the hill, the coastline curved with its smokestacks, breakwaters and steamers. What are thoughts? the cat suddenly asked. They are smoke, the philosopher replied, lighting a cigarette. They strolled down the hill. The moon kept its distance. Back at the old house with steel siding, the philosopher laid out the bedding while the cat watched a late night historical drama full of swordplay on the black and white television encased in an impossibly heavy, wooden box. The master sat on the floor at a low table to smoke one last cigarette and finish his cup of low grade tea. A sound of papery wings rustled within the shade of the ceiling lamp. What are feelings? the cat asked, once the television was turned off. They are just moths. The cat yawned and stretched. The sound of waves and a gentle storm splashed against the old house. What are prayers? the cat whispered softly after the philosopher had crawled under his quilt. They are the wind. The man absent-mindedly stroked the puzzled creature’s head between its ears as he drifted in and out of sleep. The wind made the trees scratch at the sides of the house. What is the good life? the cat asked even more softly. Through a distant dream of long boats, whales and marlins, the philosopher answered. A long walk at night with a white cat. 

The Walker

Through the tangle of the trolley wires, the white-faced clock burned the blue twilight and measured the threshold of the oncoming darkness, beckoning to him from beyond the dark windows. The nightfall threw everything into frost; the world atomized into infinite snowflakes–a dark yet shining blossoming for infinite thoughts wherein he would walk as a strange somnolence awoke. In the stillness of shifting space and snow, down forgotten and nonexistent streets, he walked with his one and only galatea, with the one and only galaxy, in a lonesome glacier of spirit and silence. For only into silence can what is spoken begin; for only within silence must the spoken end.

The Wooden Bear

Once upon a time, there was a wooden bear. At midnight, he would transform into a real bear, and go walking through the snow, smoking cigarettes, drinking cider, eating small creatures and philosophizing to the stars. After three or four hours of such nonsense, he would return to his place before an old shop, and sleep as a wooden statue once again. There was a slightly mad cellist who was wealthy, lonely, cruel and mad. One night, she saw the bear wake up and walk in the wet snow. She had to have the wooden bear as her own possession, and hurried home to make her plans. Within a few days, she had paid off the shopkeeper and some brawny fellows to haul the wooden bear to her home. That very afternoon, she made coffee and pastries, and invited all of her rich friends over to brag about her acquisition. They fawned on her and praised her. She was so pleased, she forgot about the enchantment of the carved statue and her devious, secret plans for it. She went straight to bed and slept well. On the stroke of midnight, the wooden bear came alive and went into a temper when he realized he was not at his home on the street. First, he raided her cellar and drank her cider and ate all of her salmon, whether canned, dried, or frozen. Then he left claw marks and tears on her furniture and her curtains. Lastly, he began to play her cello, and he played it very beautifully, far more beautifully than she or anyone in the town could ever hope to play. Hearing the music and waking from her sleep, the woman went downstairs to investigate. Storming into the parlour and seeing the chaos, the woman screamed in rage at the bear. Had she not paid good money for him? Was this her reward? The bear cited the law, and had her know that he had not been paid a cent to be kidnapped and to become her prisoner, but he would gladly keep her cello if she wished to avoid arrest and a long trial. Then, the wooden bear left and walked home, stopping now and then to play something beautiful to accompany the white snowflakes gently falling in the brilliance of the lampposts on the deserted streets.