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February 20, 2006

Central Sun


Elijah Scattergood strolled along the prow of the cliff. Not only had he been afflicted with a large and bulbous nose, he had also developed a trait of wandering barefoot in public places. Cosseted in layers of wool and breathable fabrics, other ramblers observed his shorts and t-shirt in quiet bemusement.

He was thinking about his ego; he wondered if perhaps it could be thought of as a planet. He could see it orbiting a luminous central sun, the sun of pure awareness. As he thought about this, he noticed that the cliffs where bright white and sheer, studded with flint and sweeping down gracefully to the pebble beach a hundred feet below him.

As Elijah strolled along the thin, soft padding of turf that rested precariously on the chalk, his eyes caught sight of a clearing in the clouds far out at sea. A curtain of light rained down upon the waves and their ripples shimmered gleefully. Elijah felt great joy for that piece of ocean in the sun. Where he stood was overcast and beautiful as well, but he was experiencing the joy of seeing the sun light upon another's reality.

When the little planet is far from the sun, the sun looks to the planet like a small, bright point in the distance, he thought; perhaps it would appear even smaller than the planet. And on the dark side of the planet, the side facing away from the sun, a long, thin shadow is cast. He considered how he had not even been aware that the negativity that he saw in others was simply a shadow cast by his own ego. He continued to stroll along the bluff, his feet squelching in the cold, spongy sod. He was approaching a river that wound and widened through a valley, before merging into the sea.

Elijah reached some white cottages perched on the cliff and from there he looked out across the estuary at a row of seven undulating hills cross-sectioned by the sea. The sky was clearing and the evening sunlight bathed their chalk faces in a peachy glow. On the water, two tiny figures in wetsuits felt the power of nature under their feet.

He turned a corner and walked back along a farm road. His thoughts continued: As the planet gravitates toward the sun, the sun will fill the field-of-view from the planet ever more greatly; it will appear larger and brighter. And on the dark side of the planet, the shadow cast, though just as dark, will fall shorter and closer to the ego. And the penumbra, the region in partial shadow, will be wider and more finely gradated. Elijah considered how he seemed to increasingly see negativity only in those whom he was very close to and that he was now aware of such a wide gamut of negative traits in himself.

His feet entered a large puddle covering the road and he strolled into it. A dog walker passed, following a wide arc around the puddle. "You're brave," she said, smiling. Elijah replied, "I'm walking on water." He was feeling very happy and was having child-like fun wading through the shallow puddle. "Come on, Tumnus," she called jovially to her dog, which had entered the puddle with Elijah.

Elijah took a path back to the sea. He visualized the planet approaching the sun and then merging with it. As it entered the center of the sun, no more shadows were cast and the view from the center was only of an illumined reality; a reality illuminated by the sun itself. And the shadows of other planets could not be seen, for by their nature they were obscured from the sun.

As he returned to the sea, a man walking his dog pointed to the Northeast, the direction from which he had come, and asked, "Where does that path lead?" Elijah turned and was about to speak when he looked up and saw a bank of clouds filled with cherry and peach and fire. It was a kingdom of light and red sandstone glowing and resting upon a foundation of white. After a moment's pause, he turned back to the man, with tears in his eyes, and replied, "That path takes you to a road, and the road leads to a river. And this path that we are on also leads to the river."

The man said thank you and walked away along the grassy path. Elijah watched him; he had a goatee beard and long grey hair, and his tracksuit bottoms were sagging at the knees and seat. Elijah wondered what this man's story was. He then looked to the Southwest. The sun was near the horizon; wrapped lightly in clouds that had been stained a deep orange. The sky above was clear blue with small wisps of cloud. He looked back and forth at the two sunsets and marveled that there seemed to be no connection between them. And then he strolled, filled with gratitude, back to the warmth of his car.

"I love how you put words together and they make a movie in my mind. Thank you." — Trish


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