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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

An Absence of U & I

When the water leaks from the sky, not everyone feels the need to cry. After all, why let the weather control the ways of the heart? For some, there are comforts to the gray and the melancholy moods of the world. As the theater has both comedy and tragedy, so does the earth have both day and darkness. The former’s yellow rays can grant warmth and comfort, and can move the plants to grow and the flowers to bloom. Nonetheless, thank the heavens for the darkness too. For only after the death of the day can we behold the secret wonders of the stars.

So goes the way of how the world moves. Whenever one act sets forth, somewhere else another gets replaced. Each change always possesses the roots of the old and the seeds of the new. What makes one person happy can therefore be another’s doom. So goes the way of the world. Eastern sages observed and knew of these matters, and they named the way of the world “Tao.” They strove to teach that the people can be effortlessly at peace when they see both aspects of the Tao amongst all that they do. They told people to forget what they’d always seen as good and bad. “The clay may form the bowl,” the sages say, “yet only thanks to the hollow empty space can the food be held at all.”

As for me, the words of the sages seem to echo well between my ears, however, they have yet to reverberate down to my heart. So before each dawn, when the darkness and the cold force teeth to chatter, my alarm goes off. My legs leave the warm safety of my bed and set forth to the hard and careless cement. My body always rebels at the start. Then the rhythm forms. And soon my heart, my head, and my legs are all synched, ready to reach that perfect harmony that the books of the sages always speak of. When that harmony comes, the legs become lost to the earth. The memory becomes lost to the sky. The cadence becomes the sacrament of the pagan god Chronos. By the end there’s no longer a “me,” only a ceremony expressed as a formless self; a symbol made whole by the act of observance.

Down by the ocean, a deep fog often permeates these early pre-dawn escapes. Soon the albatross appear, one by one, as remnant ghosts from the ether. The golem’s trot slows, then stops. He awakens me back to the world. Grayness stretches on as far as the eye can see, and that’s not very far. The splashes and sloshes, the ebb and flow of the shore, these are my only knowledge of the world beyond the dense haze. Another secret wonder of the Tao that’s not yet ready for my gaze. Now aware once more, my tendons start to ache sorely. Now aware once more, my heart starts to ache too.

Perhaps my heart’s lack of peace stems from what the sages called a lack of balance. There’s more darkness there than day, more tragedy than comedy. A clay bowl that hasn’t been molded. My psyche searches for the absent half, and hears one: an ebb and a flow, a break and a crash. The same as that phantom beach, gone and beyond reach. Now only remembered as an echo.

One blog entry later and the fog breaks; yet the grayness at my core stays on. Clearly the weather was never to blame for what was felt there. Clearly the jog was never what made me ache. All along, there was the absence of a harmony, the absence of a reason to stay warm beneath the sheets. All along, there was the absence of u & i.

-Paul Beckwith


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