Monday, March 22, 2010
A Joy to Sing?
Daven sat with his back to a large tree. Its base was thick and scarred, but its massive boughs, that began as if they could hold the world, ended abruptly with a flurry of thin, young branches growing in all different directions. He tried not to look at those branches. He needed no reminder. He looked instead to the land before him, and the new trees that held no evidence, no remembered shame.
The sun began to set, and it burned through the atmosphere, new and brilliant and freshly scrubbed of all the horror and filth that had filled it for so many years. The hills were lit up, and the flock of granos before him shone momentarily, like so many tiny points of woolly light: red and orange and yellow, then dark.
He lifted a thin, white flute to his mouth and began to play a melody that he pulled partly from his own memory, and partly from the collective memory of the fields that surrounded him. A melody that came straight from the Creator, but was filtered through man's finite capacity to see and hear the Truth. He lowered the flute, and continued with his voice, singing in a language that few people here had ever heard, a deep, sobbing warrior's song.
It spoke of terror, anger, sorrow and then suddenly, peace, and when Daven sang the last note, he felt as if every part of his body and mind cried out to the vast heavens above him. It was the shattered cry of mankind, which had almost killed itself. Torn itself to pieces until only tiny threads of life remained, until the only unifying thought left among the criminal and the innocent was, "Dear God, end it all, end us all!"
And then, suddenly, it had been over, and yet only beginning. Humanity had been allowed no suicide, no ending, only another chance. Survivors stumbled to their feet and found that life remained. Beauty, Love, Truth - though trampled and tortured until they were almost unrecognizable - remained.
For one moment, Daven felt that surely the very ground echoed his pain; the tree behind him reverberated with the anguish of the world and its inhabitants, but all was silent. A song is but a little thing, and when it ends...nothing. So it was as Daven finished, and the sun disappeared over the edge of the horizon. For a moment, there was no sound. No wind, no insect, not even the gentle grunts and lows of the granos. Only the brief emptiness that comes in the wake of beauty.
With the return of sound came the return of responsibility, and Daven stood to his feet, letting the chained flute fall back against his chest. He pulled a massive sword off the ground, and tested it carefully with his fingers. He stared at it, as if at a new, frightening thing. Without the light glinting down the blade, it seemed dark and useless.
He tried to summon the feelings of power and strength that he remembered from the day he earned this sword, but the glory of battle had faded away to a thin shade of the horror of war, and he felt the earth cry out again as he grabbed the pommel and swung the sword through the air. This was not yet a world where beauty could be the master. There was still so much left to do as humanity tried to atone for all that they had already done.
He turned to face the ridge as darkness fell; his senses heightened and his body ready to fight or hide or scream at whatever the night would hold.