Friday, June 26, 2009


In the times before time had grown into a solid beast lurching blindly in a single direction, people began to be formed. The people were made out of music and, as soon as they danced and writhed and howled, they were expelled from the time before time because it is as natural to enter the time beast now and again as it is to sneeze after smelling pepper. Like a yawn which stops the heart, the people become locked in the time beast and they walked and hunted. They felt cold and hunger, desire and jealousy, strength and fatigue. Then, locked inside the time beast’s belly, they lit fires to warm themselves and they killed flying things and other walking things and ate their meat.
When their most immediate needs were met, they considered their situation and wondered how they might escape the time beast. Sitting by the fires, dreaming and cleaning bones with their teeth, they pondered their existence. They wanted to ask one another; what had happened? When did they become people who walked and hunted? How had they become so small that they could bleed and feel tired?
While they wondered, they worked the earth in their finger tips and made little figures. They traced pictures in the sand and on the walls of the time beast, wondering, imagining, trying to remember who and what they were. The wondering welled up in their hearts and they opened their mouths to let it fly out and it made a sound.
They found that they could make many sounds. They could scream and chant and murmur and whisper and hum. And when they did this together, they felt big again, together again. Sitting by the fires, humming and loving one another until a sing song of moans became silence and the silence became pained screams and the pained screams became the wailing of tiny new people, they carved the bones of the other ones who walked and the other ones who flew into whistles and flutes and pulled their skins taut to make drums. That was how the people began to make the music.
When they made the little music they could hear the big music; the ancient grandfather of the little music that they made. The grandfather came into the belly of the time beast and made bubbles of no time where the people danced and moved as they had before being swallowed. They wriggled and twisted and rolled and moved in the bubble until the time beast burped and set them back to growing older and weaker. For a while they might feel too tired and weak to call the grandfather back. For a while they would rest and practice with their bone flutes and skin drums and hum quietly as they dozed. Then, when the wonder welled up within them again, they would make the music again, invoking the big music with their little music, and when the grandfather was invoked, they were once again as they had always been; they were the music that made the people who made the music.
They were the father who was the son who was the father, the snake that had swallowed its own tail, a circle with no beginning and no end. They were the formed and the unformed, the made and the unmade, something and nothing locked together in a needful embrace. And then, before too long, they would fall out of eternity and find themselves in the belly of the time beast. Then they would toil again; walking and hunting. Then, when the bellies were filled and the flesh was warmed, they would rest. And as they rested, they could wonder again…

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