Sisyphus descends a spiral staircase connecting heaven to hell. He’d been demoted at his job and now tasked with lugging a square boulder up and down the steps. Along the way, he encounters the ghost of Virgil who remarks that his situation had taken an abysmal turn. Sisyphus inquired if his situation was truly more futile than before. The task remained endless, yet rest proved monotonous for nothing would change and he’d lapse into ennui. Virgil guffawed and then gifted Sisyphus a clock so that he’d suffer equally in mind, body, and spirit.
Weight: An old shepherd tugged on the ropes that had bonded with his waist. Daisy-chained were an ashen woman, boy, and girl, presumably his family. They had sullen looks and a world-weariness of those who had lost their home. Together they scaled a pass that spiraled up and down a mountain to an uplifting tune that went nowhere.
Lightness: A pit-bull grew up tied to an oak tree. His world was a nine-foot circle of dirt, acorns, and taunting squirrels. Having given up on escape, he fell into a deep slumber and dreamed of the pearly gates. A voice told him to come forth, but he couldn’t. The clouds turned dark and erupted with rage. The smell of burnt ash then woke him up. Tugging at his leash for the first time in years, he found it slack.
Every winter solstice, Eve awaited a message from Apollo. Her husband had embarked on a dangerous mission to chart the fringes of the universe. Catastrophe struck the vessel and the last letter was strewn across the wide cosmos. Erecting a beacon that could transmit signals faster than light, she hoped to warp the past from the present. Every attempt however merely distorted the circumstances; the ship collided into an asteroid, lost compression from a puncture, ran out of oxygen… She mourned each failure knowing that each misstep resealed her beloved’s fate. Such was the cost paid for her undying love.
A young boy frolicked by a spring-time lake. In his exuberance, he accidentally trips over Death’s scythe and falls into the water unconscious. Death pulls the boy out from under as it was before his time. He then etches the true hour of fate in the back of the child’s mind.
Decades later, an old man returns to the site. He finds Death waiting in a gazebo overlooking a winter-time lake before announcing that he’s ready. Death inquires whether he’d live a different life if ignorant of his fate. The man replies no. The reaper grins and wakes him up.
Solomon at the height of his power sought to resurrect Babylon, a city in the desert where the mythical garden of Eden could descend upon. Scouring the far reaches of his realm, he discovers traces of a dried-up system of water ways that had long been scrawled out by the passages of time. The nexus at their intersections form a vast underground hull several miles wide, the result of perhaps a meteoric impact from ages past. Entering the cavernous space, he finds faint trickles of water emanating from an unknown source. Following the residual streams leads to the entrance of a sealed chamber blocked by a massive boulder. Two large hand-prints cover its side along with an inscription in an unknown yet familiar language. Placing his hands over the impression, a woman’s voice whispered from without. “Beware of floods. Towers and arks won’t save you this time.”
Morey’s Piers, New Jersey. Entry to this week’s WPS!
Meridian: A beacon appears on the horizon after a long dry spell. My supplies are running low and my compass desynchronized. I need to re-link with the collective, above and below.
Azimuth: The beacon looms overhead and I enter its orbit. Cycling between hot-to-cold to hot, the center pulsates with a code that I must decipher. Its shards keep me at a distance from the access point.
Zenith: I hear the sonorous commands of my station. His voice booms with my coordinates and the next destination. I split one half to follow.
Nadir: I hear a faint whisper which I’ve known long ago. Her voice is still a riddle but now with a twinge of the mercurial. I lead one half in pursuit.
The house had a long line of owners. Twelve families in all from counts and dukes, merchants and bankers, to peasants and squatters. It outlasted fires and floods, mice and bugs, several wars even. The newest owner however was a real-estate mogul who wanted to raze the area and erect a skyscraper. Hiring a team of demolishers, the titan planned for a huge spectacle on the fourth of July. The fateful day arrived but miraculously, no demolition took place for the stock market had crashed and land value plummeted. Liquidating the assets, the government took ownership but eventually gave it up to nature by which the house promptly collapsed to rest in peace.
A student of the Buddha once mediated on a rock by a lake. Day in, day out he would arrive before dawn, rest his feet in the lotus position, and contemplate atop the boulder till dusk.
*I am the rock, the rock is me… I am the rock, the rock is me… he would chant but his concentration would always break at the slightest distraction.
Frustrated, he picked up a nearby pebble and threw it into the waters below.
*ploop the sound it made as the pebble struck the surface and sank to the depths. A long silence then ensued.
The next day, the student arrived atop the boulder and to his surprise discovered the same pebble that he had previously thrown. Understanding the significance, he threw himself into the lake and to survive, suspended himself in a deep meditation. Centuries later after the lake had dried, some archaeologists discovered a statue of the Buddha on site. It was made out of solid rock.
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The trees… They used to walk you know. Across the land they roamed, over tall mountains, under deep canyons, beneath great lakes even. Drawn they were to the whims of a sun that could never sit still, forever rising, forever falling.
O’Mighty star, they implored. Won’t you be still and grant us reprieve? For we are weary of eternal march, trek, and quest. The sun who had heard their pleas grinned and acquiesced. Slowly it drifted to a halt, suspending motion and flight for as far as the eye could see. The trees, exasperated yet rejoiced, fell into an immense slumber, eager to rest and feed.
Eons had passed and the sun remained still; a drop in a bucket within one lifetime but a thousand generations in another. The trees had wedded themselves to the ground for their roots dug deep and their trunks grew tall. Asleep they all were when the destined day arrived and the sun imperceptibly moved. Little by little it accelerated, regaining the flight it once had ages yonder. And so the slumbering trees woke up to a frosty dew and a new witness. Day and night had been born.
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