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Monday, November 9, 2015

The Sign of the Snail and a Forgetful Angel

It was foolish, perhaps-I had been warned- but I insisted upon climbing the Mountains of P’Kaulee for it is only there that the Sign of the Snail could be observed. Ignoring the premonishments, I set out to scale those mystical peaks.

The P’Kaulee Mountains are, as I was once, young, thrust upward in the relatively recent past, well within the boundary of remembered human history. The primitive people who live in their shadow still tell stories of their birth-an event they credit to the capriciousness of their deity. Their young age can be determined by an examination of their still steep slopes and sharp peaks. They have not yet be weathered and beaten down by time or smoothed and blunted by the relentless wearing of wind and rain.  They have not been eroded by the bitterness of reality or succumbed to the irresistible pull of gravity that drags us all earthward eventually.

Local guides assisted me in gathering the necessary provisions and preparing me for my journey, though they refused to lead me all the way to the summit-only as far as the tree line. From there to the peak, I was alone. I had many harrowing adventures during my trek – I could tell you of encounters with wolves and bears, and other creatures more formidable and less earthly, encounters with faceless night-gaunts and hippo-cephalic birds in lofty eyries screeching through moonless nights. I faced privations and dangers of every kind, but endured them all to reach the top of the fabled P’Kaulee Mountains.

And there in the glowing, misted sky, veiled with clouds, I saw it-the Sign of the Snail-a golden spiral above me, moving slowly through the empty space, its slime trail dissolving into fog behind it. I stood, transfixed, and marveled at its beauty, but I did not understand.

Then I turned my face away and prayed, making my confession saying: “I am weak and low, confused. I am alone, unwanted. How can I understand? How can I accept this that is happening?

While I was speaking and praying, confessing and seeking, an angel from the holy hill was dispatched to me in swift flight. She came to me and said to me, “Oh, you… I have come now to give you wisdom and understanding, for you are greatly beloved.”

“Angel of mercy,” I shuddered, “tell me what is happening here.”

But the angel only wept for, though she was kind and gentle, and wished to comfort me, she was a forgetful angel and could remember nothing that would bring me cheer or understanding.

(Forgetful Angel Paul Klee - 1939, pencil)

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Muted Hosannas Muted Hosannas
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