Friday, April 07, 2006

The fork revisited

Pardon my use of allegories again. I know I haven't been at it for a while now, but there are things that must be spoken in such a manner lest the four winds latch on to the uncoded message and whisper it into the ears of those who would be stirred by its plain meaning. And unrest is the last thing I want to cause in those concerned as a result of my decision to make these thoughts public.

In the account of Sailor versus the Fork, the sailor has this to say in view of the events that have passed and what is yet on his mind:

I am but an ordinary sea-pilgrim in search of the Eternal Harbor. But sometimes the dullest pilgrimage could yield one of the most phenomenal peeks into the miraculous when inspected through mythical lenses. If my hearers remember my close encounter with the three-headed beast who shapeshifted as a forked seaway ahead -- a disguise that nearly perished my vessel -- I shall now proceed to explain the three separate affairs that each of the three sinuous head-routes sought to imitate in order to lure a seaman to his doom. It is hoped that my fellow voyagers will avail their selves of this tale and take heart thereupon.

The first atrocious head took upon itself the likeness of an unfinished Past that still haunts me from time to time.

Once upon a not so distant time in the early days of my pilgrimage I came upon a box crowned with priceless jewels. The jewels were such that I had never behold before that upon first laying eyes on them I intended to claim them as my own. But as fate would normally have it, I soon came to realize that the bejeweled box was the possessions of another man. So with great humiliation I promptly returned the treasure to its rightful owner, and before long thought that was the last I would hear of it. Little did I expect that later in my journey, I stumbled upon a fellow voyager who in the course of our dealings revealed the truth about the lost jewels in my previous albeit brief possession; that insofar as ownership of the jeweled case was concerned, it did not belong to any man prior to me.

The second head of the shapeshifter took upon itself the likeness of a strange incident that occurred to me in present time.

I beheld of late a phoenix of considerable size and majesty nesting atop the mast of my wee vessel. And for days this fiery creature brought about the foulest of weathers and utterly strenuous navigation. Granting that it is superstitious to equate a fearsome fowl with bad weather, the most amazing thing ensued when after days of obstinate roosting, the bird laid a giant egg trailing with strains of hemoglobinous slime as she alighted skyward in a sudden unfurling of her golden wingspan. Not noticing that the persistent storms were calmed immediately after the giant bird's departure, I fixed my eyes on the downfalling egg as it slid down the tall sails and landed in time in my outstretched arms below.

The third head, being the largest and most depraved of all three, took upon itself the likeness of a Future yet unknown.

Once I came upon a fount in the woods en route to the lodge where I stayed for one night to replenish rations before resuming my pilgrimage at sea. Wearied by the walk and the penetrating sunlight, I rested my feet by the fount and started cupping water eagerly from the spout for a drink. A maiden then emerged from behind the gushing spring on the other side of the fount, giving me a mortal scare. Without a ceremony, she acquainted me with her perils under one long, desperate breath. Before I could get to the bottom of it, the maiden dissolved into sunlight and left me without a chance to respond. One night after the incident at the enchanted fount, a vision of the same maiden visited me in my dreams, revealing the significance of our peculiar encounter. To my astonishment I learned that the maiden would be my future helpmate from a certain time on until I drop anchor in Eternal Harbor.

At this point the sailor arrests his report and searches his audience for any question that they might have regarding his testimony so far. He spots one standing up and gestures for him to speak.

"What is the significance of the jewelry case in relation to the Cerberean beast adventure? And for that matter, the egg of the phoenix and the vanished maiden? Why did the beast choose these particular incidents to lure your ship into the Drink?"

The sailor adeptly resumes his story with a continuation that could have done without the question:

It was knowledge of my emotional attachments to these incidents that gave the sea-beast a foothold in its attempt at my life. More specifically -- knowledge of the vision given to me about the maiden by the enchanted fount.

At the time when I received the vision, I was sworn to the maiden’s service and exclusive loyalty even before the vision would come to pass. The sea-beast knew I would greatly fail at keeping to my words, and played on my weakness.

Another in the audience rises and says, "What exactly was your word?"

Embarrassed, the sailor replies:

That I would never entertain or pursue thoughts of others -- save thoughts of Grace Hisself -- in place of her.

Obviously the sailor failed when he valued the treasures above the mysterious maiden, whom he believes would one day become his counterpart. After a long pause, the sailor continues:

It is with the deepest regret and utter humiliation that I stand before you this day a surviving but unavailing example. Though I have fought off the sea-beast for now with sheer grace, I have utterly failed to demonstrate steadfastness in times of tribulation. But take courage, I say! For were not the hands of His Grace at work to deliver me from the sea-beast's belly even as I failed to effect my own deliverance? Even as I doubted, my Deliverer doubts not! Wrestle though I might with His Order to be rid of the burden of my own words, His Grace has set His promise in the future, that I might learn to trust not in my own limited resources but rather look to His limitless promise for hope...

Truth be told, I do not grasp the meaning of the vision given to the sailor concerning a counterpart. But like every good sailor does, he believes there is a lesson inherent in the vision that can be known and must be learned before the vision could come to pass.

Until it does, the pilgrim sails on.


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