Tuesday, February 17, 2015

THE BEING AND THE BECOMING-II-1

II

'I' kept running up the hill with a grace and spring never before noticed by me. I had just one last glimpse of him as 'I' skirted a boulder on the sky line and disappeared.

At last 'I' was free, with me on the footpath miles below and away-me, the one person who might be sufficiently interested to question and pester-"Who, what, where, why!"

So, 'I' began singing and even danced a step or two, gaily if awkwardly. The sun was a riot of liquid gold and red ribbons. A violet haze covered the far slopes. Columns of tarry shadows were steadily invading the yellow and green of the near slopes.

'I' stood a while and watched. Paddy birds and crows squeaked, crowed and streaked across the sky. One paddy bird was just fishing for a last bit of luck in the reed fringed pond, while 'I' watched and wondered.

"Hey, you, there, you, paddy-bird" he called out "does the fish ask you for your name while you pick it up? What is your name? What did your parents call you? Take care! You will get thrown out on your tail or get locked up if you don't own up to your right name! Now, now, don't go saying squawk at one time, squeak at another time, or stork or crane at other times. Oh, no, that won't do. You imposter, you will get booked up in triplicate. Don't say I didn't warn you, you silly goose!" 'I' shouted and 'I' screamed with laughter as the thing flew away with a fish in its beak.

'I' was utterly happy with these fellow imposters all around-for a paddy bird calling itself a stork or a crane could easily be swallowing mouthfuls of fish called crabs or eels or worms. Who knows! Hah, hah! Who knows!

And there is that big imposter, that tree. Now it calls itself whoosh, then again rustle, bustle or whistle, hoosh or hush, when it could really be a cedar or pine or palm or walnut or microbe. What a delightful den of imposters! 'I' laughed with joy, and turned a somersault, the first one again after twenty years. 'I' had an after-thought: 'I' forgot to ask these criminals their date of birth, marks of identification and certificates of residence. "Ha, ha, you would be caught out, yet, you wait," he said, though, 'I' hoped they wouldn't.

Darkness was fast setting in. 'I' had not eaten or drunk the whole day. First, 'I' was too busy running away from me, and then 'I' was too wrapped up in the company of the genial imposters all around.

Soon, things began to happen. 'I' wanted to continue singing and dancing and joking-but 'he' wanted to eat, for 'he' had just seen the paddy bird and the fish it took away. 'He' wanted to wade into the pool and take a draught of water, but 'I' thought 'he' would catch guinea-worms or cholera. 'I' wanted to walk on looking at the stars, but 'he' stumbled and landed in a bush. Something slid by hissing like an engine. 'I' wanted to exchange polite banter with this imposter calling himself, "Hiss"; but 'he' took to his heels and ran a furlong. This is how 'I' left me, but found 'Him'. 'I' never suspected company hardly six hours at the threshold of freedom.

Actually. it took quite a time for 'I' to know that there was such a sneaky spy haunting at such close range. 'I' found that whatever 'I' wanted to do or wherever, there was someone poking in. That was getting clearer and clearer every minute. Sometimes it was difficult to let even a glimmer of a want or thought arise without finding 'I' and 'He' at opposite poles.

'I' wanted to walk on and on, but 'he' said it was dark; 'he' was afraid; 'he' was tired; 'he' wanted food properly cooked and water free of germs; and said what a fool 'I' was with wanting to sing and dance, and talk to things from whom it was safer to run. Maybe it was the other way about.

Truly, 'I' was born to be haunted. Just tasting the freedom from an imposed label without which nothing could be done, which imprisoned, 'I' found himself no better. This torment was made worse by the fact that this someone else was quietly calling himself 'I'. Suddenly 'I' realised that an imposter was right inside calling himself 'I'. 'I' wants to be free-'He' wants food. 'I' wants to run, 'He' sits. 'I' wants to sit, 'He' runs. 'I' wants, but 'he' does, and who is master and who slave, the one who wants to the one who does, and who is who?


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