Sunday, June 03, 2007

Why there is Love

It's very quiet. The swallows flash over the still lake, climb high, topple, and swoop down in stairsteps to skim the surface again. Twilight.

I wander by the huge rough blocks of stone. Just behind me, if I were to turn around, is all the grief of the world. I don't turn around. I walk slowly.

Somewhere, faintly, windchimes.

Why? And to what end? She asked. And so I came here, to the ruins, where I always come in perplexity.

I don't know. Why love? An odd, but characteristic question. It demands a story. Children ask questions like that, and you bring out the oldest, most treasured, most intractable stories of your race in answer.

Once upon a time, there was a flower, and it was all alone.

But my mind goes blank when I try to imagine the void that preceded love. Like trying to imagine the shape of the waters before the Lord divided them with the firmament.

The sun is a small, pale circle beyond the cloud. Perhaps it was the sun, not a flower:

Once upon a time there was the sun, and she was all alone.

You can't even begin a story until there are two characters. Perhaps the real difficulty I have with monotheism is a narrative one.

The sun walked by herself in the fields of the sky, gathering a garland of stars, and as she walked she wept.

Till finally the swallows took pity on her, and wove the moon out of the tears she had dropped, and stretched him like a net in the night sky.

And the net was called the Moon, and he grew in secret, and he was cold, and stars caught in his twining cords. And he wept and starved where he had been splayed, and he dwindled and lessened for fourteen days.

Until the Sun lifted her eyes and was astonished and she said, "who are you? And where do you come from?"

And the Moon was ashamed, because he didn't know, but he was suffused with light and warmth, and for fourteen days he grew.

That's why there is love.

The faint disk of the sun fades into the cloudbank. The swallows have left the water. The last light drains from the rock.

To what end? That, we still don't know.

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