Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Ship and its Maintenance

The ship is afloat upon a buoyant ocean. In a thousand points around it, the sea rises into small sharp peaks with white foamed caps and then falls back suddenly into the dark blue mass that extends endlessly in all directions. The ship is large and elegant, shaped in a style from the eighteen hundreds, with a wooden hull and white sails which are presently full and heaving with the soft wind. In the air is the sound of muted thumping which comes from the subtle beating of the wind on the thick woven canvas. Taught ropes come from every direction, attaching the mizzen to the main mast to the foremast.
There are a few people aboard, a captain and his crew. In the captain’s quarters, there are piles of maps and charts for the stars. He knows his way well and when he talks, one eye is always on the horizon. This ship is afloat, upon the conglomerated mass of fish below the surface, above the worlds of kelp and deep sea canyons and mountains. But the vessel is not resigned to move only upon water, it has the capacity (when the moment is ripe) to sprout tiny wings from the main mast. Then it can venture into the vast atmosphere above, unconstrained by the laws of gravity. The wings have shown themselves only occasionally, seldom enough that some of the travelers often forget their ability to fly. They wait invisibly for the precise conditions to arrive, when every passenger is ready to be transported to another place above the clouds.
For the ship to stay afloat upon the choppy sea and voyage to the intended direction, all parts of it must be in working order. The sails must be patched and free of holes, the hull and the floorboards must be sealed and polished. Before they can fly, they must do the bare minimum and stay afloat and, sometimes, even this is hard for the small crew. This ship requires continuous attention and more so, continuous ambiguity. It sails among pirates and sharks, it moves past hostile lands fearful of foreign voyagers and upon an ocean ready to swallow the vulnerable without a drop of regret.
The crew have figured out a small weapon, a way to remain invisible even though they travel through the day and the night. A simple secret passed down through many generations, they have learned to keep silent. They keep their intentions quiet, they keep their ability to fly hidden, they keep their desired location a secret. Their course and wings depend on their accumulated energy, and as long as they keep their energy aboard the ship, the ship stays afloat. By revealing too much, the ship begins to leak. And with the leak, the ship sinks, ready to be received by an unforgiving sea.
The journey to wakefulness is a seldom navigated path, only the voyager whose skin can grow used to the salty spray and whose heart can learn to flower among the desert of ocean and open sky…only such a person will learn to avoid lustful mermaids with spiraled hair and hungry sharks eager to taste warm flesh. Our partners in this voyage live aboard an invisible ship, a small space between ourselves and no one else, which voyages into realms unknowable by most humans . This constant quest requires the containment of our energy. To preserve our energy, to contain it and mount it, is essential in order to build ourselves so strong that our wings can sprout and move higher than normal bodies usually venture. The easiest, the fastest way to lose energy, is to speak about our work with anyone other than our direct partners. The mermaids will ask and the night sky filled with stars will seem innocuous, but all of these will leak our energy into the normal human world and they will only serve to bring the precious ship down. Through an open leaking hole, dirty ravenous fish may enter, chewing upon the soft interior and bringing the safe dry space further into the dark waters.
We strive for lightness, we work for levity and accumulated energy. Keep silent. Keep your appearance and speech as utterly normal and vague as possible. It will only be the naïvely intuitive that will softly ask permission to enter. By speaking with anyone else, you dilute the power of the shared group, you leak out into a world of hostility and sarcasm and human misunderstanding. Preserve the strength of your will, of your attention, of your group. Keep silent.

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