Saturday, September 19, 2009


Knights ride out in armor, to battle, to war; the dragon flies above the city, burning red; the world is ending faster than it can begin anew. The chosen few, the weak-made-strong and their camaraderie fight against beast and beasts and men who are worse, all beyond what could be known by the ordinary man. All blackhearted, deadly tooth and claw, dripping with acid and breathing poison, the destroyer comes forth. The world is at an end, nothing shall survive, nothing, no one. But the weak-made strong bring it all to an end, so the world can breathe, and things begin to grow, green and pure, for a few moments (days, months, years, centuries) of time until the darkness realizes it is still there. As long as there is light, there is darkness, and the darkness shall rise again.
This is a story we know.
The faces, the names of the weak-made-strong, the chosen ones, are different, perhaps, from time to time. Sometimes they are not so weak, sometimes they are misunderstood, sometimes they are mistaken for the darkness itself, for the balance is so strained within them. But they are, always are, and this is the first part of the story.
In the same way, the darkness has a thousand forms. The dragon, the wizard, the thousand year curse or the broken pieces of Armageddon; it could be any, it could be all. It could be perhaps not so dark after all, but it's light is so scattered, so faceted, that still none can see. It could be. But it is, just as the weak-made-strong is, and this is the second part of the story.
But if all can be different, save light and dark, up and down, what is same? It is not in the hero's quest, or his sword, or the laughter of the darkness or the clatter of war. The knights may be knights, but tomorrow they will be trolls, or forests come to life. The sword may break and be reforged a thousand different ways; it may not even be a sword in the end. Light and Dark, up and down, and even these, sometimes, are not sacred. Sameness is a preciously scarce commodity.
The sameness is not what matters, it seems, but in sameness, in the everyday and ordinary, lies empathy. And without empathy, the hero may slay a thousand dragons and though we would cheer him, we would forget, and he would be lost. Without empathy, he is not human, and we have no reason to remember.
So there must be sameness, the everyday, the ordinary. Something we can recognize, understand, and know. Routines and roles are what we know; from the act of cooking dinner, to raising a family, to burying a loved one; though these things might not be the same from story to story, they are the same as us, and we understand them. We know them. We can empathize. These things are life.

1 comment:

Dana said...

Huh. I must first say that this piece gave me deja vu. I don't know why, but it did.

Beautifully written; your words brought some very good visuals to mind. Brilliant job.