Monday, May 07, 2007

To Father Preston- The Long Shadow I See.

Dear Father Preston,

If you see in what I write, the need to make flesh and blood out of a long dead god, it is only because I write to make objective fact out of subjective experience. Do you truly wake to find some external being staring you in the face or do you merely rise daily to the stark awareness of your being, small and self-aware and filled with life and hope by the indifferent sunlight and negligent breezes? I, too, am brought to my knees, Father, by that bare blue arc which doesn’t give a damn, by the radiant color curved over the horizon at sunset and the soft dust of moonlight scattered from such black and distant depths. I stare up into the stars and see something so immense that it cannot be contained in the moment, something which stretches back to years beyond any human life.

Your God and my literature are both acts of human imagination. Imagination is the way we color the universe in the hues of our humanity. Otherwise, it would be too vast, cold and uncaring for us to live in. Science too is an imaginative act. The scientist subjects the facts of nature to the humanizing force of logic. When the angels doubted God’s wisdom in creating man, God silenced their doubts by asking Adam to tell them the names of things that they did not know. This is what human beings do. We name things and because we name the world we own it and can act upon it. And so we have the courage to walk across the face of the earth in the midst of the wild and empty blackness that surrounds it.

I am not afraid of indifference. When I lie awake under the black and starlit sky, I feel that its inhuman face, lacking benevolence, is yet benign. It's like a stranger nodding to you in the street. He does not know you and because he does not wish to know you then you may both go along your ways separate and complete. You do not need him and you need not fear him. But when the trees shake or when small, angry-squawking black birds scatter across the sky in unknown patterns like something broken and flung up by the wind, I feel called to action. Like the universe which does not know me still demands my participation. The air vibrates against my skin, the light which pours over the forms of the earth travels to my eyes and I understand the shapes that obstructed its path. The birds cry and I look up and they swarm above my head as they swoop wildly falling in and out of trees and behind me at the end of the red, dusty road the sky is turning orange. And I, looking down at the street, am also the form that throws the long shadow I see. I am also outside myself. I am also a part of the universe.

In no need of convincing,


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