The unmerciful winds of change descend from the unfeeling sky to scour the desert of the ‘real.’ Lightning strikes and thunder shakes the tiny oases of Man….as he huddles in his high tech mud huts, scheming desperately to impose his tiny half formed will above the will of an endless sprawling universe that does not have the time or inclination to acknowledge his hitherto unseen greatness.
So far, no luck.
The now stooped and momentarily humbled barely evolved hairless near ape, once the latest scourging storm has passed, returns to the sodden fields to mightily impose his will there, seeking with hubristic confidence the miracle of potatoes.
Taking what nature offers freely as his own triumph and cursing the gods for not offering as much as his endlessly striving nature… demands of greater nature, nature that generously bore and ceaselessly nourishes him. His hired priest performs invented rites to propitiate the gods as an insurance policy, sacrificing what is undear and easily afforded, unctuously demanding mercy, vainly attempting to lobby forces far beyond the comprehension of such low, yet colorfully dressed, creatures.
That night, when the scudding violet clouds clear, he attempts to own the stars by counting them.
The morning dawns clear and bright, a crescent moon waning as it lowers itself behind the rocky and foreboding peaks that border the world of all men everywhere. Hay is made and formed into bricks with the mud of the swollen river acting as the metaphor for the love that binds the universe, that fact unbeknownst to he who would kill to protect potatoes.
He looks only down, only at the brown, furrowed, seemingly inadequate earth, that earth that he begs for sustenance, even as he curses it. If only he thinks hard enough, he thinks, he can control the yield, produce the surplus, buy the weapons, enlist the men, conquer the valley and move on to the next until he, finally, at long last, through his own wit and cunning and grand intelligence….produces, at long last, enough potatoes.
Lost in his own mind, wandering in the desert of his desire, his ego dressed already in the fine silks and grand armor he so richly deserves and imaging already the ministrations of the slave girls who will surely flock to his feet if only he can produce the sufficient number of more potatoes…he sees neither the green sprouts before him, more than sufficient to feed his family so that they may tend his flocks, nor the horizon, which bears the doom of all his plans. As it, unthinkingly, and uncaringly…. and lacking the concept entirely…unmercifully, grows thick and dour and grey.
The river, lacking the concept entirely, unmercifully swells, unmercifully overflows and unmercifully drowns the perpetually unsatisfied farmer, his family, his goats, and everyone he has ever known.
The next valley, over the dun colored dusty hills, is equally unmercifully spared. A baby cries it’s first breath as it is dumped unceremoniously from its warm and comfortable temporary home into the certainly uncertain world. The eminently assailable limits of it’s certainly uncertain fate already agreed and insisted upon by the eminently assailable wisdom of the village and it’s mother.
It too shall suffer.
Scratching endlessly in the dirt to attempt to produce a sufficiently surplus quantity of potatoes that will afford it a rare and precious moment of leisure in which to ask why.
Or would have, presumably, had she her family not drowned the next year, after huddling in their mud huts, their propitiation’s apparently unheeded, as the river ate their hollow protections away and one by one carried them, and their potatoes, off.
Knowing only what those around her knew, she was afraid, as she floated rather gently, all things considered, downstream to her death.
In between, high in the hills that separated, held apart, divided, and isolated the two valleys, the next years thunder crashed. Eschewing a mud hut for a damp cave, eschewing potatoes and scrabbling in the dirt for lizards instead, eschewing the silks of ego and dressed in a single rag whose overriding purpose was to keep his peepee from being sunburned, and eschewing both the concepts of priest and of offering less than everything….the hermit heard the thunder and crawled from his cave. The first fat drops of rain popped the dust from the sandstone slab as he grinned and laid down, spreading his arms and legs to give the largest target available to the lightning.
Closed his eyes (though he did peek) and gave himself, willingly, to the universe.
The eternal lightning lasted for but a moment, as it separated him from the body that separated him from lightning….and went home.
In the momentary eternity that it took him to return to The Source, he was offered neither potatoes nor a book deal. Eager to continue, to further undo the limits imposed by the fact of his own existence, the very next “day” (as far as he could tell) he was dumped unceremoniously from his warm and comfortable temporary home into the certainly uncertain world. Again.
And again, as his shaking mother held him and a man with feathers and a rattle danced about and around them both….he smiled.
Outside, potatoes roasted in the fire, as it began to rain…..