To read Fool’s Odyssey from the beginning, click here.
Chapter Six: Bread Upon the Water (Continued)
Previously: Having failed to find “the reason,” The Fool flew home to a place where everyone invents their own.
Mourning Becomes Elective
It was early morning the next day in L.A.
and I wanted nothing so much as to just go
and walk in the mountains of California.
I couldn’t bear to go home.
Oh, no, I was no waif in a storm; I had a home.
It was just that I didn’t seem to live anywhere anymore.
So I sat in that ancient airport lounge
watching the planes come in and go out
and the lights blink off and on
until dawn came hesitatingly in
and sat down on the runway.
And then, in deference to its timidity, I gather,
the night gathered up her sleeves
and went off to work in the eastern hemisphere.
It reminded me of a graffito I’d seen on a restroom wall:
“The meek shall inherit the earth
if that’s okay with the rest of you.”
It’s funny, but that’s just the way I felt, meek.
I saw for the first time in my life
that there was no reason to be otherwise.
We were all just interlopers, after all.
Then I began to see that I’d been playing the most awful game:
I’d gone to seek wisdom, understanding, truth.
But, naturally I’d brought with me a set of requirements:
“All auditionees for the role of truth
must first prove themselves
to be consistent with my philosophy.”
Who else, after all, could judge for me
what was true for me?
It seemed irrefutable, or
inevitable, at any rate.
But then I began to see the flaw in it:
I had begun by reluctantly admitting
that I didn’t know the truth—
certainly no one seeks to find a thing he already has—
but now, by insisting that whatever I accepted
must first agree with what I already believed, I was insisting
that nothing but affirmations
of my own familiar thoughts
be allowed to enter in.
What an awful game.
And everyone I knew was playing it.
I finally got up and stuffed my hands in my pockets
(I felt like the cover of an old Bob Dylan album).
I looked at the sky as I got my little car out of hock.
Truly the light is sweet, said the wise man,
and a pleasant thing it is to behold the sun.
Yet if a man live many years and rejoice in them all,
still let him remember the days of darkness,
for they shall be many.
And all that is to come
is vanity as well.
Oh, hell, said the fool.
To read Fool’s Odyssey 24 click here.