I don't know what you do, when even the plateau feels too confined. What wilderness remains, where a person could lose himself forever?
I am impatient with my stupidity, my torpor. The armies of my soul have been observing a Christmas truce for decades, playing half-hearted soccer from time to time in no man's land. We have held the magic at arm's length while we grow old. But magic will not be held that way. You have to take it or leave it.
These ponds on the clifftops, bordered by reeds that have died down papery white banners -- black water rimmed by bone white -- they reproach me. I pretend not to take the little path down to them because it's conservancy land and I'm uncertain whether the paths are legitimate. But really, if I did walk right down to the muddy shore, and crouched there, what boat might come? What wounded king might be sleeping, with his head on what lap? And would I ever stand again, with my middle-aged knees, if I stopped to wonder as long as a messenger should?
Let's not even play with words about missing the boat, love.
If I don't go down to the lake, no one is going to put sword or talisman into my hand. And a messenger without a message, what is that?
It turns out that there is a lifetime of unraveling to do. I'm cross-gartered, laced up to the thigh with quick-growing, tick-infested weeds. If you're not standing where you're supposed to stand, you will be standing somewhere else. I wasn't paying attention when that particular announcement was read out. But now, I try to step and can't even lift my foot.
A sordid boon, indeed: but it's not clear how I should have avoided it. But let all that go. It's not important now.
Breathe deep. Close your sore eyes a moment, and bow your head. You see? It's not as complicated as all that. And for all your cleverness, you don't really know what's at the water's edge. Stop believing you do.