A Fable

“Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound to be a lover of myths and poetic fables.  Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.”  —  Thomas Aquinas


The Well

“Love is an abyss,” a learned man
once told himself, fearing that he’d fall.
An abyss of monsters, he imagined,
a morass where
sun, moon, and stars
shine no light, their radiance
consumed by memory’s demons,
creatures resembling an ancient mask decorated
with hellish visions.  Yet he wore such a mask,
for he sagaciously convinced himself
that it let him breathe, as falling into the abyss
would certainly suffocate him.

One day, he heard a song playing,
its notes rode on the wind,
and though he wasn’t certain,
it seemed a familiar tune.  If he
removed the mask, he might
hear it better, he might learn if it
were the song he remembered.
Though the mask allowed him to breathe,
he removed it so as to hear the melody,
while certain that the abyss waited steps ahead,
the music compelled him.

He followed the notes to a clear well;
he dipped his hand into its sun dappled surface,
lifted his palm to his lips, and tasted
the water.  As the water trickled down
his throat, light flowed through his body;
the sun above dimmed in the light of
the bright coalescing nebulae that grew in
his chest.  As the star inside his heart grew, the man
began laughing, he laughed at himself, he laughed
at the sun, the moon, and the stars above,
he laughed at the green hills under his feet,
he laughed at everything he thought he knew.
As he laughed he felt his hands lift in the air above his head,
his palms met, and without a second thought he dove into the well.

He dove deep, deeper, deeper, deeper still;
he kept swimming, swimming without the mask that he believed
helped him breathe.  He saw worlds under the well’s waters
that he never knew existed; fantastic creatures with
luminous spirits, incandescent eyes, and iridescent bodies
beckoned him on, guided him further into the deep.
Soon he understood that the well had led him
to a breathable ocean of measureless expanse and depth:
he’d traveled eons in an unfathomable journey of beautiful wonders.

The man smiled; for he now saw
that what he thought was an abyss was
in reality an Eternal well
waiting for his arrival.

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