A vision of smoke and mirrors

© Alain Lacroix | Dreamstime.com

I opened my eyes and saw a vast plain of people climbing over each other, scratching and clawing and seeking approval and validation, looking for love in all the wrong places, people talking without speaking and hearing without listening, a crowd lost in their loneliness, and a monolith in the middle that they struggled to touch, to worship, to — what’s that word where you follow blindly without realizing you’re following anything? They made a great din of absolute quiet, and I choked back my fear and turned away.

A little while later I could still hear the shouting and braying of donkeys and elephants, nary an eagle nor a lion among them, and the farm animals fattening themselves up to be eaten, but I was walking across a barren field searching for green against the beige. Not the beige of a desert or late autumn, just a plain of dried mud, no moisture, no nourishment to be found — arid and empty and what has become of the land that was made for you and me?

This cacophony of silence, this celebration of despair, and where is this coming from? I know gladness is infectious, I seek hope in all things, I see the light in the darkness, and yet the mob screams nothing and their contagion creeps into the corners of my mind.

Am I some naive gump who sees the trees of knowledge and understanding but misses the forest of desolation around them? Am I in denial, waiting to be angry and bargain before I accept the death of whatever is dying? Is it time to abandon the cause and fall into discouragement and despair and expiration? Is that what’s troubling me, Bunky?

I sweep away a layer of dust, rub my eyes, and see what’s really there — a powerless little creature behind a curtain, turning wheels of fear and thunder and fire but utterly without substance, sending minions to do his bidding with the God-given abilities they always possessed and not telling them the truth until his bidding was done, his foe slaughtered — the truth that they already owned what they were looking for and didn’t need a wizard in the first place.

“Save me!” the crowd shouted, and the answers they sought were already at hand, in their hearts and minds and souls, waiting to be tapped — but the smoke and mirrors confused them, and few saw through the fog, and even fewer looked behind the curtain, and only a little dog even noticed the curtain was there.

But it only took that one brave little soul to scurry over and begin to save the day. Had all this happened in one day and night lost but now found and rescued? If it only was only a day, but today and tomorrow are still full of possibilities, so stop to mourn the past, then seize the day — carpe the diem — strike for the iron is hot — but go in peace, go in peace, act in love, and peel back the curtain.

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