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“Fire and Water: The Search for Life”

For some unknown reason (and I absolutely refuse to ask why?), I feel compelled to offer something different today.  I think it’s time to remind myself that I am more than just a philosopher obsessed with Self; I am also a writer of fiction and fun.  With that in mind, I have decided to share one of my short stories with you.  It comes from an unpublished book of mine entitled Speak to Me: Myths, Fables and Fairy Tales for a New Age, begun in September 1995 and completed in December 1997.  Like all misguided writers of the time, I had this book only in hard copy, typewritten (after much arduous and tedious effort), but I only possessed a single copy of it.  Naturally, it disappeared, and was lost for many years…

Through a series of synchronous and miraculous occurrences, the book came back to me this past summer, and I was amazed to find within its pages stories I did not even remember, until I read them once more.  I was so stunned by its reappearance in my life, and that coinciding with the birth of this blog, that I set it safely aside to gather dust on a shelf.  Until today…

Today I opened it once more, and reading the poem that summarized the purpose and content of the book, I realized that perhaps it is finally time to share some of those stories with others.  (Whenever I complete a book, or near completion, I tend to write a poem that highlights the “essence” of the book.  It’s one of the ways I know I’m done with it…)

Because the stories are much longer than the average post, I think I will post them in more digestible sections, dividing them over time.  This is the first story in the book, written in September of 1995…

 

Fire & Water: The Search for Life”

(Part 1)

In the beginning… There were only two elements – Fire and Water. Fire was the masculine principle of creation, the Yang, who blazed through the newly created space of the universe bringing Light, Warmth, Hope and Purpose. Water was the feminine principle of creation, the Yin, who flowed though the universe behind Fire bringing Peace, Compassion, Understanding and Nurturing. Though Fire and Water were deeply attracted to one another (being male and female and all), they avoided each other completely. There were many legitimate reasons for this…

Fire believed he had a mission to accomplish for the Creator of All-That-Is. There was much space in the universe that needed his unique attention. There were dark areas which needed light, and cold spots which needed warmth. There were vast areas of emptiness that needed filling, and Fire was uniquely suited to satisfy those needs. And he knew it… So, full of himself, armed with ambition, confident in his power and authority, Fire set out to conquer and rule this vast new universe. And while Water appeared to him an intriguing diversion, Fire found he had no time to pursue such idle distractions. After all, his was such an important mission and he was such a noble soul; Fire would not allow his petty needs and personal desires to interfere with his reason for being. But he thought of Water as he created, and he burned a little brighter and hotter whenever he thought of Water admiring his work…

Which suited Water just fine, for she had her own mission to accomplish – cleaning up after Fire! She found that wherever Fire had visited, he left a mess behind him. Not that his work wasn’t beautiful, in its own way, just… Messy, I guess, and incomplete. He was in such a hurry to do great deeds, he did not stop to think how his visit might impact an area, leaving hot, arid spaces and lifeless places (for who could live comfortably in the wake of Fire?). So Water followed behind Fire at a slower pace, putting out the little wildfires he left burning carelessly behind him, cooling the too-hot spaces, soothing arid areas, trying to make the universe a place that would welcome and attract life.

And though she found Fire a beautiful and compelling being, she could not be bothered to pursue him. He was so busy, so arrogant, so unfeeling, so…full of himself, she knew she’d never be happy with him; after all, they were just too different, weren’t they? But she liked to watch him from afar and wonder about him… And if she found herself thinking dreamily of what it might be like to be in his arms, she would quickly remind herself of the mess he left that she was forever cleaning up, and the indecent pace he kept, and how he would never settle down to the kind of life that would make her happy. Then she’d turn back to her work contentedly, humming a soft lullaby that no one but she ever heard…

And while the universe quickly took shape, there was no life other than the original elements Fire and Water…

Shaking a head sadly, the Creator of All-That-Is looked upon this vast and vacant universe. “All this I have created. All this I have made possible. Yet there is no Life here.” The Creator mourned this lifeless creation, then called Fire and Water together for a rather stern lecture. “I have created All-That-Is and given it to you. And what have you done with it, my children?”

Fire quickly stepped into the silence. “I have brought light and warmth to this Creation of yours!” he cried. “I have made it a place full of hope and purpose! I have used the gifts you gave me fully to create a fine place for us.” And with that, Fire turned to Water, confidently looking for the warm spark of admiration he knew he would find in her eyes.

Hah!” exclaimed Water, much to Fire’s surprise. “It’s true you lit this place up, but it is I who’ve had to put out the fires you left burning carelessly behind you! It is I who has made this place livable! Who could survive in the unbearable heat you have created? Who could find peace in the reckless pace you have set? You’ve been so caught up in yourself, you can’t see beyond your own immediate presence! I have created a place for Others.” And so she turned to the Creator, sure she would find agreement there…

Yet there is no Life here,” the Creator responded. “There is no Joy in my creation.”

Fire and Water turned to each other. Both pointing sharply at the other, they prepared to tell the Creator just who they each thought was to blame. But before the battle could truly begin, the Creator raised a hand to silence them. And into that sudden Silence rang the commanding voice of Creation. “I hold you both responsible!” the Creator explained. “You have brought much beauty to my creation, but you have brought no joy to me. I long for Life that my Love might find fulfillment… Be done with your petty bickering!”

Chastised and uncertain, Fire and Water turned to the Creator… “But how am I to create Life?” asked Fire. “Of all the gifts you have given me, I can only make heat and light… How can I do more than I have done?”

And I have made this universe a pleasant place, a place to attract Life,” added Water. “But none has come… If Fire cannot create Life, and I cannot attract Life, then how can we give you what you long for?”

Sadly the Creator spoke to them… “I have given you all you need for Life… I am the Creator of All-That-Is. Would I leave you without that which you need to fulfill your being?” When Fire and Water did not respond, the Creator continued. “Stay here then, until you figure it out… Let neither of you leave this place until you have found Life!”

Confronted with confused protests, the Creator added with finality. “You were borne of Love! My love for you has empowered and sustained you, and I have given you the same Love of which you were created. It is the most precious and sacred Gift I have given you. Yet you have not honored it.” And with that, the Creator left them to find their own way home…

And so it was that Fire and Water found themselves alone in a vast, lifeless universe…

In the immediate absence of the Creator, the two turned to each other, suddenly bereft. Seeing the sadness in Water’s eyes, Fire longed to do something that would make her feel better. But he could not imagine what would help, so he turned away from her in shame. Prepared to give voice to his confusion, Fire looked again to Water, only to discover that she had already turned away from him, an even heavier sorrow seeming to weigh upon her. Fearing he could only make things worse for her, or already had, Fire let Water go. Watching her silent retreat a moment longer, Fire turned and sped away, an inexplicable need and emptiness driving him to move more quickly than he ordinarily would have.

Turning back just in time to see his too-hasty retreat, Water gave in to the hopelessness and despair that suddenly swamped her. Unaware that Water had returned, Fire raced away without looking back. And Water’s tears flowed silently, without witness…

********* ********** **********

Eons passed while Fire and Water roamed restlessly though the universe seeking Life. But all they found were loneliness and sorrow. As the millennia slipped by, Fire’s pace began to slow. Finding himself always alone in the vastness of space, he turned his heart toward the Creator. “Why have you left us here alone?! What of the Love you professed for us?… I cannot create Life. Water cannot attract Life. We cannot find Life… Come back and tell us what to do!”

But there was no response from the Creator of All-That-Is…

And in his sorrow, Fire’s thoughts would turn to Water… But he had no time for indulging such thoughts, he would remind himself; there was a great mystery to solve if he was to help them both! And so he would move on, visiting with renewed vigor the places he had visited so many times before. Until his loneliness weighed down on him again…

Water flowed listlessly through the Ages, cleaning up after Fire. But as the years passed, she found her work less and less satisfying, taking pleasure only in the fact that Fire had been there before her. She drifted aimlessly, stopping frequently to admire Fire’s work, lingering so long in places that she became heavy and swollen, the stench of stagnation strong about her. She wept frequently, sorrow and regret for what she had become mingling with the sweet ecstasy of longing, the bitter dredges of loneliness. The soft lullaby she used to hum became a dirge, giving way at last to a heavy silence, broken only by the soft sobs she could not contain. She did not cry out to the Creator, enduring her exile stoically, nurturing deep pools of guilt and shame. And when the pain became too great to bear, Water would pick up her pace, busying herself with futile gestures, running to escape her own emptiness and need…

And still the Creator did not intervene…

********** ********** **********

(to be continued…)

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5 thoughts on ““Fire and Water: The Search for Life”

    • Thanks! I will be posting it tonight, after work. It’s already in draft form, but my typing skills are atrocious, and my space bar often ignores me when I tap it. Add to that the fact that I was typing it up at 3 am, and I suspect it needs a once or twice over for editing… lol! I am really glad you are enjoying it, though! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Drowning… | the otherhood of one

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