“Will they be waiting for us?
It doesn’t look so far, just a few steps, not a big deal,
not as if we had to go on a boat, as some have to.
And there is no island, just a circle of stones…”
Indeed, there are several gates to enter Paradise.
How to fight Evil? Some say, the Goods and the Angels must rise: only the Sword can triumph, in the Name of all that is Holly. I am no longer so sure. Isn’t the Enemy already among us? Can we still recognise the Fallen one, among the Angels? For he’s an expert of disguise, borrowing beauty and charm when it suits his ends: the ever-changing Joker.
Today he’s everywhere, in the sweet songs, and the laments, in the unctuous speeches of the virtuous. One day, the hateful legion, the next Innocence, in all her nakedness. And the fools to applaud.
Yet, we have been victorious before. All it takes is determination, and clarity. In this world, and beyond.
Image: Von Arnold Böcklin – 0wFgMTIQ3kZCpg at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum, Gemeinfrei, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13251755 (Original in Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin)
This year it may have arrived late, but now, it is here. The time of the year when shadows play tricks, shallow shapes appear, as if conjured up by a malicious genie, and then disappear, erased. This lovely vision may not be real, those blond hair, flying in the light wind, are not what they seem: as I got nearer, anxious to see the face, it’s nowhere, it’s just me, and some hidden gnome, invisible, yet present, and I think, laughing silently. The light is low, diffused, under the trees one does not recognise anything, cannot see through the light mist: I see you, but is it you? Or an ancient witch pretending to be you?
The waters of the canal reflect a deep green that doesn’t not come from the sky, but from an elsewhere, a deep, unfathomable to us, humans. We lost the skill to see this light, but was it ever a skill, or rather, a right? Gold and brown, grey and a colour which is undefined, a wavelength our eyes don’t capture. Dark knights ride in the clouds, bearing runes that may signal our end, our dismissal from what is, still, paradise. I feel small, in a world that, for now, and the next few months, no longer smiles at me. Those ghosts are not my friends, they merely remind me that life is short.
And Winter is coming.
What we see, the beauty around us, the clear water, the trees… We do not have words, in your language, to express our admiration, no, our love for your world. Where we come from, but you could not start imagining what it means, there is no such beauty. I should say, there is no longer such beauty. You would understand why we have travelled for so long, so far.
So, we are here now, though you don’t know it yet. But you will, soon. You see, we have longed searched for a world like yours, still full of the marvels of nature. We know you are not worthy of it, and possibly, some of you know it as well. But it does not matter.
Across the universe you are not alone, to spoil the beauty, to destroy every gift you received, in the name of greed. Sheer stupidity. As those old stones, on the ancient bridge, can testify. Blinded by your own delusion, you don’t even sense that your end is nigh.
So, we are here now. Just in time. We will eliminate you, that is so easy, we will clear the damage, restore the earth and the oceans to their pristine state. We will plant trees. For we are small, but immensely strong, we do not need much to live on, and leave no trace. We are the future of this world, and of all its other inhabitants. We are your Nemesis.
Beyond is our world: this is the threshold, how far mortals can trade.
Beyond is where we belong, we, who once lived and haunt these woods.
Beyond you can see us for who we are: the way humans were,
Before the Fall.
There, long ago, when we had space, and the air was pure, there we lived: us, the whole tribe, the children, the very old, the wise and the fools. At night we were safe, the sea protected us. We had many friends, and few enemies. We were poor, and strong.
The cave was our home, where we lived, loved, and died. The world wasn’t ours, but we knew our place, and this place was here, on the threshold. Far beyond was eternity.
velvet, cloud, hippie
Late in the day, emerging from his grass cloud, the ageing hippie saw you, asleep, as you once were, on the velvet pastel of the pool.
“Where,” she thought, “where shall I meet you, where for our next date, my dear, so dear love?”
There is no light, darkness reigns, but she knows a place, deep in her memories, the rose garden, in late Spring, the fragrance of the blooms, the humming of the bees. She remembers, she can evoke the place, the time, his face. She sees the colours, feels the warm air on her skin.
She has to be strong, retrace her steps, and his. The monsters are building hell on earth, but she knows where Paradise lies, deep, deep in her heart. Untouchable, safe, as he will be, when they meet again, in the rose garden.
“It’s a puzzle,” I said as we looked up the victorian wall. “There was something there, before, and the artist…” But I realised my companion was not listening, rather he was looking closely at the colours, and delicately taking small samples of the paint he carefully saved in an envelop. “I wish I could take a picture…” Holmes said finally. “I am sure this has been copied from somewhere.”
Later, at no 221B, as we lit our pipes after dinner, Holmes suddenly declared:
“You were right, Watson, it’s an allegory, and of course you have recognised the pavots, your “artist” is a drug dealer, who advertises his ware locally, and the allegory is about the Nirvana of the opium smoker…”
I sat back, and reflected.
I leave the lutheran bells ringing clear, behind, the sky a dull lead blanket, but soon I see the green shoots: Nature, the knowing lover, is holding them back, in this chilled Sunday morning, as if to moderate our impatience. She knows how to prolong the foreplay, make us wait, nurse our lust, dream of future ecstasies.
The park is silent, even the birds talk in polite, muted voices. A few runners, the dog walkers, I must be the only tramp. The lake lies still, its waters not yet enticing: the beach is deserted, but for a couple of philosophical ducks. An old crucifix stands, alone, reflecting on a better, perhaps even, glorious past. Yesterday’s winds have covered the ground with small, brittle branches, it may rain soon.
The cool bier goes down so well, a not-quite-Spring treat, solitary pleasure. Some youths walk past, so quiet, survivors of some late Saturday’s party. I take my bulk further north, to the limit of the park; on the other side of the motorway lies the airport. The grumble of sparse traffic can be heard, faintly. The sport grounds are busy, with the serious shouts of enthusiastic soccer players. More dogs are entertaining their mistresses, bored, probably wondering about the human mind . The rain has started its cool morning exercise.
There are two small ponds before the street: I am back in Africa now. I follow Afrikanische for a short while, turn left on Transvaal: where else could I walk in a few minutes across thousands of miles? When I cross over Togo, the pavement is shiny with rain. Soon I find Kameruner: I am home. Girls are walking back to their nests, carrying bread.
Back to my space, I carefully recycle the beer bottle. Bless this city, and its inhabitants.
Image: Samuel Araya, via aeszaaesza.tumblr.com