Category Archives: Remembering

Confessions on War Day

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

Have you ever had those moments in time when you just can’t get out of your own mind?  It’s like those dreadful days at the corporation they call “stock taking” where the business is literally shut down and everybody is expected to become, if not an accountant, at least a counting machine.  The word “boring” doesn’t even begin to describe it.  Fortunately for some of us, we were the “cutting edge” of techie support, always on call and if Lady Luck was in the mood for granting us a boon, we’d get an emergency call, preferably from some McDonald restaurant with a problem that would take at least a day or so to resolve.  We’d make sure to call in the reserves on that day, make friends all around… I digress…

In the many pigeon holes that make up the mind, there’s one large one, generally and thankfully covered over with cobwebs where we file personal information we’re not so fond of, memories of less than scintillating performances among kin, clan, fellow and fellowette students, co-workers, and drib-drabs of conversations held after mass on the church porch while our priest walked around the disappearing crowd shaking hands and soaking up congrats on his sermon.

Taking a huge leap here: I’m in one of those “stock-taking” phases, so I may as well clear the cobwebs and start pulling out the scrolls, rolls and polls.  If you already know even just a little bit about me, you know I’m inclined to tell stories.  I’ve always been able to do that and convince myself that a well told story passed off as truth isn’t a lie, it’s a skill.  It’s art.  I figure that as long as I’m not using it to suck money from the unsuspecting, no one’s hurt.  Mostly it makes it easier to live with myself, whoever that is, I’m still looking for whomever stands behind the mirror.  I don’t like surprises so I cling to my stories so that I never realize that the character behind my mirror is a crazily grinning rattling skeleton.

Be that as it may, if I have to be honest here, after scanning through some of the memory rolls I have to admit that for about half of my life I was an insufferable egotist.  I enjoyed being “in charge” and calling other people short on their performance.  I’m being truthful now, the stories will resume again later.  For the second part of my life unto this day, well, despite a lot of life changing moves, I remain a driving bitch.  I get an idea, see?  I put it through the meat grinder, observe what’s left and woe unto my immediate world if anything remains that shows it’s a valid thought.  I say what I mean and mean what I say.

I did learn this though, and that is to not impose a “new idea” upon the world until I’ve fully tested it.  If it’s going to blow anyone up, it should after all be me, not some poor unsuspecting victim.  So, you’ll ask with bated (baited?  Nah, let’s stick with the other spelling), what’s the new idea then?

I’m going to close off the memory hole now, having taken stock and looking a bit green, and let’s talk about that new idea.

In keeping with the “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God” here, this isn’t a story.  The new idea isn’t new at all.  I’ve already been bashing all and sundry with for quite some time, and I call it compassion.  “Oh yeah… (yawn) don’t we know it.  All that stuff about compassion being the great idea to save the world, and how it is incompatible with love.  Can’t you talk about something else?”

I suppose I could but remember I said, “No story: the straight goods this time.”  Yes, I am being annoying.  Yes, I am proposing a world-changing concept that people in general will do all in their power to deny, refuse outright or insist on mixing with a whole lot of sugar so it tastes basically the same as any other world changing concept ever presented to be played with and dog-fought over and thankfully amount to nothing more than establishing another money-sucking group or collective with a colourful title and great mission statement.

The sugar in this case is called love.  A cornucopia of beautiful white granules that can be spread over, or melted in, just about any other idea confection to make it palatable or even a delicacy.  Love, man’s greatest of all feel-good drug.  A spoon-full before sex legitimizes a terribly taboo performance and makes it feel even better.  A meal or two of it just before plunging in the battle of the Somme or the Gallipoli campaign.

Yes, of course love is the great sweetener of war.  No one goes to war just to kill an enemy, or just to be killed.  There aren’t that many outright psychopaths out there, or assisted suicide hopefuls.  Of course not.  And we have, at least in the West, November 11 to be reminded that our wars were and remain wars of love.  Love is what made those “fools” rush in where angels would never tread.  Love in defense of the home land and to keep our loved ones safe from a barbaric enemy.  Does it matter if your commanders, your leaders, are themselves obvious psychos and often the real aggressors?  Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do or die.  We do it for love.  Then we die in love, in heaps and heaps of love.  What I don’t understand is, why are these heroes of love mourned when they should be cheered while we do all that we can to ensure we too get to embark upon another warring love adventure and die for love?  Could it be there’s something not quite right with the picture?

My father, for all his faults, was a veteran of WWII.  He participated in the complete defeat of the French army in 1940, was finally captured and sent to a German prisoner of war camp.  There, despite unbelievable conditions and near starvation, he survived, met people from all over the conquered world and interacted also with German soldiers.  Surprise: they were no different than he was, if only better fed and better educated.  He rubbed shoulders with other Third Reich slaves: gypsies, not yet slated for the slaughter, communists, homosexuals, writers, philosophers, any sort the Reich saw as dangerous enemies and would squeeze to death in the war effort.  Dad, being a great communicator, made friends where it mattered and basically talked his way out of the camp and returned to Brittany to work the fields growing food for the German army holding the coast.  From there into the underground (tracer bullets, he said, are really scary shit) and from there to become a landless and penniless recently married family man forced to emigrate to Canada to try and make a living.  Love was in short supply in the real war and post-war world so maybe I learned to function without much of it myself.

So you see, I’m not the one who’s spreading bullshit stories by proposing we give “love” a break, cast it adrift, and look for something a bit more realistic upon which to build a future.  We’ve already spent all the love we could through our endless wars, and we’re expending a whole lot of that sugary nonsense in the Middle East right now.  We’re eager to cover North Korea with war-love sugar and those crazies don’t understand and want none of it.  Can’t they see how well our love has worked to this day?  Can’t they marvel at how our love wars have made the world a wonderful, humane, free, clean, safe, world where no one need ever again worry about waking up starving, to be blown up or on the wrong side of some great big beautiful wall?

Assuming I’m being just a tad sarcastic, do you see why I would propose we look at something else, something other than, something we’ve never, ever tried in its unadulterated state?  It’s so simple.
a) stop defending love as a legitimate form of interrelationship.  Admit it doesn’t work.  Let it go.  Don’t worry, it won’t go far.  It will keep braying at the barn door day after day to be re-admitted and fed in the hope of engendering new conflicts.
b) just think about compassion, nothing else, as the means to change the world.   Define it for yourself without, just this once, throwing a pinch of it in the mixing bowl amongst a heaping pile of sugary love and calling it compassion.  Try it raw, show your mettle.

That’s the challenge from this honest certifiable bitch.

The alternative is simple: find another means of change that can accomplish the same thing without all the bother of self empowerment, detachment and willingness to give to all who ask; or declare that it is preferable to stick with the tried and failed because, well, it’s what you’re used to and it’s comfortable this way.

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The Mob Wars

The Mob Wars
[short story from   ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

What do you think, when you look upon a mob?  Or worse, you encounter one?  That had been the lesson of the day and the cadets in the class, all five of them, 3 girls and 2 boys, could barely restrain their yawns.  They really wanted to laugh at the instructor but there were rules at the Academy, and laughing at an instructor was bad business.  Punishments varied but they weren’t something you wanted to think about.

“A mob is dangerous.” droned on the talking head instructor, a short dark-skinned female who spoke the lingua franca as if she’d learned it from a computer.  Hardly surprising since she had learned it that way.  She wasn’t from the Clayborne worlds but from another galaxy altogether.  Still, she was human and you could relate to her as long as you remained totally mechanical, never betraying any emotion towards her, or her course material.  “A mob has no leader, that’s what makes it dangerous,” she carried on.  “If you see a mob coming towards you, purposefully march in another direction and as soon as you can, find a safe place to hide until it passes by.  Any grouping of ten or more individuals walking together and sharing information, or making loud statements constitute a mob by legal definition.  It is your sworn duty to the Imperium to report any observed mob activity, noting its coordinates and direction.  Anyone who observes a mob formation and does not report it is de-facto part of a conspiracy and liable to a charge of sedition.  The penalty, as you know, is ten years in the mines, the location of the punishment to be determined by the courts but always outside your home worlds.”  

We may be cadets but we weren’t born last night, or even the year before.  The Claybornes, a grouping of three planets orbiting their sun practically equidistantly, thus making each world almost a mirror image of the others climate-wise, were a relatively recent addition to an expanding Imperium.  “Space, the final frontier” boldly claimed a cartoon character from a series of funny little anecdotes that had been transcribed upon holos and would sometimes be available for viewing.  The quaint language and costumes and the posturing would bring out waves of rollicking laughter wherever they happen to be projected.  Final frontier indeed: the abysmal ignorance and hubris of our ancestors makes us wonder that we ever got off the ground of our original world at all. Too quirky.

I was writing about that line, the final frontier.  Even now with everything we’ve discovered and learned, most of it at great cost and unnecessary loss, we still cling to our ancient xenophobia and bigotry.  Once we “know” a thing, we believe that we’ve found the truth, or at the very least, some truth, something we can hang on and build upon.  Our awareness, our ideas, we believe, can be stacked up one upon another, like the modules we fabricate then build living units or space ships with.  It’s as if we choose to forget that no matter how long these modules fit together they must eventually disintegrate, starting with the oldest ones, but we don’t notice the rot and rust, and we keep on building on top.  There comes a point of attrition and entropy and whatever is, soon is no longer.  Simply put, the base collapses.  We accept that but we never see to apply the obvious lesson in it to our interaction with what can only be called the nature of things.

Which brings me back to my story about the mob.  Whatever the Cirillian teacher says about mobs, she really knows nothing at all about them.  But we Clayborners do know about mobs.  Our own societies were basically evolved from a mob mentality.  You see, the Claybornes were chosen by the Imperium as a dumping ground for all sorts of individuals who could not be coerced into the herd mentality, or group-think that serves the Imperium’s aims so well.  We are recent descendants of “deplorables” and “undesirables”  Our grand parents were those who could not be cured.  Many were anarchists.  Some were judged with criminal mentality because they openly defied and called down the Imperium.  And oh yes, we had more than a sprinkling of lower class criminals, the murderers, rapists, bank robbers, psychopaths.  As a fourth generation myself, I say good for them.  It’s here, on our own Clayborne world which we call Armistice, that you can really see the evil that is the Imperium. 

I discovered subsequently that the Imperium had hoped we would not only “break” open these worlds and extract every ounce of resources that could fuel their space economy and finance their Earth-based economy, bolstering ever-expanding wars of conquest, but that once the worlds were bled dry, that we would destroy ourselves, with a little destabilizing help from Imperial guards. Considering the make-up of our local civilization, it seemed inevitable that we would destroy each other when times got tough, a time when the resources ran dry and the Imperium ceased supporting us with the necessities of civilization that could not be manufactured locally.

Even early on in the colonization of the Clayborne worlds, that is exactly what happened.  Unwisely, to say the least, the Imperium representatives gave the game away too soon, when dreams of independence rode high in the minds and hearts of the colonizers.  Conflict ensued.  But at first it wasn’t against the Imperium.  That seemed too big a slice to tackle.  In anger and frustration, various groups, and towns led by gang lords, armed themselves by whatever means, mostly clubs, compound bows and arrows, long handled barbed spears and long knives or machetes, as well as agricultural implements which had reluctantly been allocated to them, and began to attack each other for control of the worlds.

That wasn’t according to plan since by now little or no effort was being made to mine the planets.  Everybody was too busy strengthening their defences and protecting their fields and other food supplies while attempting to lay waste to “the enemy’s” fields and food supplies, transports and storehouses and stealing resources and useful labour and women.

We could almost hear the screams of anger from stock market and “trading houses” all the way though space from an incensed earth, home base of the Imperium, as resources from the Claybornes’ came to a quasi-standstill.  Fortunes in speculation were being lost by the month, the week, even by the hour.  Action was demanded of Arch Imperator, Junes Kohlmadir.  She did what her kind do best: responded by massive force of arms against the wayward planets.

The Imperium intervened  with iron fist and jack boots.  Martial law and a general ban on every sort of weaponry was declared.  Walls around fortified towns were dismantled, sometimes with explosives, more often with slave labour from those arrested for disturbing Imperium-mandated peace; those that is who hadn’t been publicly executed in the first reactionary wave of the new military dictatorship.  They executed thousands of individuals, including women and young children – as an example.  As any thinking person would know and expect, more violence ensued, now directly aimed at the Imperium troopers and subsequent governors sent to negotiate and re-establish a working peace.  Adding insult to injury, the Imperium representatives decreed that any existing facility that could produce a space-faring vessel was to be utterly destroyed, not simply mothballed.  The Imperium set up its own space station to repair and upgrade its own ships.  All merchant ships had to have (and pay for) a complement of Imperium troopers on board, and an Imperium representative to accompany the captain at all times whenever it landed on one of our worlds.

This is the tipping point, where the Imperium, instead of subduing us, only succeeded in uniting the entire planet against the Imperium.

These people, my people, learned through bitter and bloody experience to hate the Imperium with passionate fury and vowed never to let the predators get their resources as cheaply as they had in the past.  We vowed to fight the Imperium to the last man, woman and child on our world.  There would be no free interference in our affairs.  Autonomy or death, was our slogan and war cry.  In the morning the call to arms and resistance would show up, painted on walls, fences, and even on the side of Imperial armoured personel carriers and tanks.  So the people began to organize; to create larger and larger political groups and legally challenge the Imperium’s manipulations.  We lived in wave after wave of bloody crackdowns and brutal repression but any talk of surrendering resulted in another body hanging from a pole, or tree, for the troopers to cut down and dispose of.  We would no longer be the Imperium’s “hewers of wood and drawers of water” forever, or until our worlds became unable to sustain life due to heavy extraction of natural resources and unchecked man-made pollution and we were abandoned to perish in the depths of space, with no hope of ever seeing rescue transportation off our dying rock.

Whenever the Imperium landed a detachment of Guard troopers, mobs formed and there was the inevitable bloodbath.  It is said that half of the population of Armistice died in the anti-Imperium “mob wars” that had already lasted two generations when, at sixteen, I found myself fighting for freedom.

So, ask me, do we know what to do if we encounter a mob?  Sure, if it’s from our side, join in.  If it’s from the enemy side, slink away and report its movements to our side, then form our own defensive counter-mob and attack.  To hesitate is to loose.  Now we are solidly united with our own spilled blood against the Imperium.  There would be no quarter from our side, for we are the legitimate people of this world.  

“Let me repeat:  a mob is a leaderless group of ten or more people bent on destruction and murder.  Report any mob to the nearest Guard post.”  Yes ma’am, thank you ma’am and why don’t you pack up your stupid course materials and return home by the first shuttle, with no due respect, ma’am?  Take some Star Trek holos back with you and base your next history course on them.  Maybe your students won’t turn into zombies on the first day. 

Meanwhile, what’s the real mob? There can be but one answer to that: it’s the Imperium.  The real Mob is always the largest, most powerful predatory group, for a mob takes what it wants because it has the power to do so.  Smaller groups, or “mobs” serve but to justify the real Mob’s oppression, or to do some of its dirtiest “wet” work.  Think “terrorists” as the vanguard of the Mob.  Oh yes, I have read quite a bit of the home world’s history to understand why here, on Armistice, we do what we do, and why we call our world by that meaningless term.  A mob, leaderless?  Never, no such thing.  The “leader” may not be a human being, it may be injustice, hunger, oppression, enslavement, but oh yes, a mob always has a leader.  In fact such a leader is the most powerful and motivational if it isn’t human, but an irresistible force, when choice is no longer choice.  Where, or when, anger and hate fill the collective vat of despair and feet begin to walk; hands grab sticks, stones, anything defensive or offensive, and charge down the street.

There came the inevitable bloody clash between Armisticians and troopers.  I was wounded in it and captured.  I was then seventeen earth years of age.  I am now an old but still strong woman from the hard labour I have performed my entire captive life.  I survived the mandatory torture and gang rapes, solitary confinement, sub-standard food fare and damp, cold, filthy accomodations.  Today, from my life imprisonment cell on Rebus, one of several Imperium prison planets, I write this for the “counselors” to read and ponder: “Down with the Imperium!  I still hope to see its final downfall.  How dare you call yourselves “civilized” and us “savages” and “terrorists.”   You are nothing but cowards who starve and kill women and children so your elites can wine and dine, get richer and brag.  Your lives are as hollow as the insides of our tiger reed.  I could almost pity you but will never: I vowed eternal hate and enmity between us and so it shall be.

Signed:  Selinia Armstrong of the free world of Armistice

Benny

[a short story, by Sha’Tara]

Benny sat by the river that flowed past the house, just beyond the back yard.  He was tossing small twigs in the water, watching them float away and he was trying to remember so he’d know who he was.  

His memories were all a jumble in his head and they usually frightened him.  He thought he remembered a couple, a man and a woman who were very loud and made him scream.  He remembered hurting and feeling guilty for that.  Then the woman would hurt him more but he never understood why.  He remembered being cold, dirty and hungry.

One day when he was alone in the yard and crying, hurting and hungry, a nice smelling woman came to him and picked him up.  She took him away from the bad people and he never saw them again.  Then an old man came to see him where he played with other children.  The old man took him away from there to a house that had trees around it, green grass, and at the back of the house, water flowed.  The old man would hold his hand and let him lean over the water.  Leaves and twigs floated on the water and down below the rocks shimmered and danced, changing colours.

Benny liked it with the old man.  He grew up and the old man said he was his maternal grandfather.  He explained about his daughter, who was Benny’s mother, how she was addicted to drugs and drank and how she liked running around with bad men.  One of those men was his father.  He explained that it was that man who had hurt him and that he was in prison.  Benny tried to understand all that when he got older but he liked the water better.

The old man, his grandfather whom he learned to call “granpa” taught him about the water.  “It’s called a river” he’d say, “it is very pretty but it is also very dangerous.  Even for a good swimmer, it’s a fast running stream and a person can easily drown in it, do you understand that?”

Benny had learned when only a baby to agree, no matter what was asked; to do what he was told or there would be consequences.  “I understand granpa,” he dutifully replied. 

But the water was more alive than anything else had ever been for Benny.  It would sing to him in a language he could understand.  It didn’t scare him like people did, or make terrible noises like street traffic.  It never hurt him and it was even more gentle than granpa.  If he felt thirsty, there was a log that dropped down into the water.  He could carefully walk down to the water, then scoop the cold water into his mouth.  It was so easy and simple, he’d laugh whenever he did this.

There were very large trees that grew by the river’s banks that bent their heavy, luxuriant tops over the water and swayed in the wind.  During the warm seasons the leaves would come, then slowly at first, when still green, they would fall in the water and speed away.  Benny liked looking up into the green canopies waiting for a leaf to get tired of hanging on to its branch, let go, and flutter down to the water to be swept away.  Later, as the leaves changed from green to brown, yellow or even red and green, more and more of them would fall away from the branches and float down to the water to also be swept away.  If a strong wind came up there would be cascades of leaves falling, covering the ground and the top of the water.  That thrilled Benny as he stood under the falling leaves with outstretched hands. 

Some days when he was really happy, Benny imagined himself a leaf floating down to the water and being swept away.  He knew granpa meant well to warn him about the water but if the leaves weren’t afraid, why should he?  He though of asking granpa, but that would be like disobeying and Benny remembered what that meant.  He felt the deep fear of the pain he had been given when disobeying the man and woman who were his parents.  If he questioned granpa, he knew he would be beaten and locked up and made to go cold and hungry.  I mustn’t say anything, but if I float away then no one will hurt me.

A leaf fluttered down noisily, landing for a moment at Benny’s foot then sliding down into the water to spin away.  Benny followed the leaf and the river took him away. 

Perhaps, why Romantic Love Fails

{a change of topic, though perhaps not so alien to my usual posts in meaning.  Think: self-empowerment… again or at least, serious choice.}

The title, then, is:  “Perhaps, why Romantic Love Fails”  and let’s be generous and add “most of the time, not always, not automatically.”  

Bracing myself here, this should, or could, bring “romantic love” experts out of the woodwork to offer their own experiences, or beliefs, to praise or castigate, and all of that is totally fine by me.

 “Oh love me, love me, love me, love me, love me, love me, love me, love me. I’ll be anybody you want me to be.” — Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters.

Imagine the amount of energy it takes to keep this up, to be “anything you want me to be” to someone, just for the fleeting sensual moment of feeling loved. Who then is really being loved when the ploy works? The pretender, the imitator, the parrot, the ghost: an elaborate illusion.  Not me, not the real me, just the character played by the actress. 

Any wonder romantic love so often fails?  

He isn’t loving me, he’s loving the pretence I serve him from morning ‘til night and the moment I can no longer sustain the illusion, he loses interest and perhaps rightfully, blames me for his disinterest.

“You’ve changed,” he’ll say. And right he is. Under the pressure of time and expectations, I gradually drop the illusion with which I ensnared him and I become myself, someone he’d never had a chance to get to know.

Perhaps if I hadn’t been so eager to “get him” and satisfy my longing by serving him with an illusion?

Perhaps if I had had the wisdom to look into the future to those times and event when I could see the illusion would be unsustainable; perhaps if I’d been courageous enough to show him who I really was, he may have loved me for myself, and we might have had something more than a staged performance…

Perhaps, and that’s the saddest realization of all, if he’d seen the real me he may have loved me for myself and never experienced disillusionment.  

Perhaps, like so many in my situation, I’ve been an idiot, turning myself out as a zip-lock bag of bait instead of the solid full meal deal I could have been; that I really was.

Perhaps, but perhaps is a lot like “if” and as Roger Whittaker sang, “No, I don’t believe in if anymore, if’s an illusion, if’s an illusion!”

So, I let the illusion go and live alone.  It’s not so bad once you get used to it and you have a few friends who don’t live in expectations of you pulling rabbits out of fancy hats.  Also, I must admit, love, however ephemeral, did have its compensations.  I had some really good times.  

I choose to remember the good loving times.  As to the separations, and I’ve known a few, the first was extremely bitter, then each one after that became easier, more natural, rather expected.  The thing about us is, we can get used to anything, even learning to enjoy experiences that at the outset appear unthinkable and disastrous.  

Looking back and thinking, if I were a few decades younger, would I fall in love again? Oh yes, definitely, for a great evening of being taken out to dinner, dancing, or the opera; for a night of pure heedless bliss with or without a full moon, and a sweet goodbye in the morning.  

Oh yes, I would fall in love… and fall in love… and fall in love… and make each fall redemptive.  In between, I would live alone in a world that is all mine. 

 

This n’ That and the Wisdom of Frank Herbert

                             [thoughts from  ~burning woman~   ]

Let me see, now: there is work, rest, and somewhere in between, everything else, the jumble of life.  I’ve been very tired these last few weeks, mostly due to work, I realize that, but we also experience a deeper tiredness that comes from an accumulation of worn out time, year after year after year, “time passes” and to the observant, it produces a strange, disquieting litany of thoughts that run over the sands of the mind, like runnels of sand blown off the top of dunes and sliding down the sides to settle, but never for long, at the base.  The wind changes direction, comes again, picks up the sand and flings it into a sky already filled with brown dust.  Somewhere in that floating, parched wildness my thoughts float, forming a part of it, and somewhere further, as the future chooses, some of those thoughts will again form the uncertain and ever-changing top of another dune.  The wind “dies down” then the wind returns and the dance of thoughts begins anew.

I like the imagery.  Somewhere in a dimmed, distant past, beyond these times, in another galaxy, a different world, I existed on a desert planet.  I sense this more than I remember it.  The awareness of sand, not only as a symbol but as gritty reality, is as much a part of my life as is the beating of this Earthian heart.  I think of Frank Herbert’s masterpiece science fiction series, starting with the book, “Dune” – the sand and rock desert planet that would have remained unknown to the Empire were it not for the fact that it produced a substance known as “Spice” which prolonged life and allowed individuals to see through space and time.  All imperial space traffic depended on the spice, hence Dune, like Earth’s Middle East, was a planet constantly being fought over for its one and only resource, a resource without which the Empire could not hold.  Ah, but Frank Herbert was a great prophet and few realize it even today.   I will return to this thought.

Terrible, horrible man-made events are taking place all over this world.  Some of us, the ones lucky or unlucky enough to have been born with, or somehow developed, the sense of empathy, feel these things, perhaps too deeply.  They are more than troublesome, they are life-destroying.  Now thinking as an intelligent, sentient, being: is there a greater crime than that of destroying life?  I cannot think of one and yet it is a crime that Earthians have always indulged in fully, and continue to plunge themselves into in a never-ending cycle of bloody violence fed by greed, fear and lust.  A global Madness but since 99% of the asylum’s denizens are certifiable, then their madness is what passes as the norm.   

I should not be the one feeling tired from being immersed in this madness.  Surely every single ISSA (intelligent, sentient, self-aware) Earthian on this world should be equally tired, maybe even sick to death, of the bloodshed.  But no, those who are not actually cheering it on, or participating in it, are plunged so deeply into their own methods of denial that nothing disturbs them.  That remains utterly shocking to me.  Some whose conscience can still be tweaked with a shiver of awareness, blame their leaders, then return to their little, mindless motions, pretending to be alive.  

What I find so terribly sad isn’t so much the tens of thousands sacrificed daily to profit and pleasure, but the billions who are so brain dead, heart-cauterized and blind that they cannot honestly, without blame or self-justification, enter into the agony of earth and feel it burn.  Hoping it will not come to them, they ignore it and the closer it appears to their own doorstep, the deeper their head buries itself in the sands of oblivion. 

This brings me back to Frank Herbert.  Here are a few quotes I picked out of his third novel on “Dune” titled “Children of Dune.”

“If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments.  When you believe something is right or wrong, true or false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments.  Such assumptions are often full of holes but remain most precious to the convinced.”

“Because of the one pointed Time awareness in which the conventional mind remains immersed, humans tend to think in a sequential, word oriented framework.  This mental trap produces very short-termed concepts of effectiveness and consequences, a condition of constant, unplanned, response to crisis.”

“To learn patience [in the Bene Gesserit Way] you must begin by recognizing the essential, raw instability of our universe.  We call nature – meaning this totality in all of its manifestations – the Ultimate Non-Absolute.”

“Time is a measure of space, just as a range-finder is a measure of space, but measuring locks us into the place we measure.”

“The malady of indifference is what destroys many things.”

“It is said that there is nothing firm, nothing balanced, nothing durable in all the universe – that nothing remains in its state, that each day, each hour, brings change.”

And finally, “Every judgment teeters on the brink of error.  To claim absolute knowledge is to become monstrous.  Knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty.”

A Star Dancer Speaks

Have you ever wondered what “listening to the voices of the dead” and “hearing the music of the spheres” have in common?

When you look in the night sky, what do you see?  Stars?  Yes, mostly stars for only stars emit enough light to travel those quasi-unfathomable distances of space to twinkle in this earth’s little firmament. 

What does that twinkling represent?  A sort of Morse code, yes?  The “spheres” talking to us, perhaps calling some of us back; reminding us that we are not utterly lost as we walk in weak finiteness on a dark non-star matter world that can only reflect a sun’s light.  For we are the star dancers, beings of eternal combustion, burning to give light, as did our ancient worlds of origin.

If you know yourself to be a star dancer, do you know the language; the music, from your starry worlds?  Do you remember any of it?  Do you know why you are here on this cold world in semi-darkness, the closest thing resembling your ancient home, that tiny ball of fusion in this world’s sky? 

Look back through your great remembrances and see the waves of migrations as your home worlds burned themselves out, leaving you orphaned, refugees scattering in the endless immensity of space.  Remember how you closed yourselves up and “died” to become seeds that would find homes – or not – here and there in the great vagaries of worlds in collision.  Remember.  Remember the unthinkable.

Eons later, through millions of transformations and mutations you find yourselves here, looking into the night sky.  It is filled with pin-pricks of light from your star worlds.  Do you hear them, their voices?  Their sad songs?  Do you realize now that what you are hearing is the voices of the dead?  Those lights, so many, are but the remnants of what were once our living worlds.  We were star beings living within our star worlds.  Then they burned out.   We did not.

We became the cast out.

We scattered, as seeds from a dandelion head, blown away in the fiery winds of their demise.  But our worlds’ light kept on its path through time.  These lights we see; these voices calling us, they are the voices of the dead, star beings; voices of our dead worlds, the wind whistling through tombstones and denuded trees in man’s graveyards.  We can never go back home again.  We must accept this. 

What we need not accept is that we are now permanent residents of cold material worlds.  We have seeded our wisdom and knowledge here and there throughout the universe.  We suffered more pain and loss than any language could ever reveal.  We re-created ourselves into semblances of quasi-intelligent life, not only to survive, but to teach.  We have seldom been accepted or welcomed; mostly doubted, held in suspicion, suppressed and killed.  Our role, if such it was, has cost us dearly.  Many of us to avoid martyrdom slipped into the predictable monotony of a matter-world’s life patterns.  We put our minds to sleep; we disconnected from our innate compassionate and empathetic nature.  We did not want to suffer anymore.  We wanted rest. 

We found death instead.

Look in the night sky again!  We are awakening!  We have a new power now, we can make new worlds suitable for us and all our kin.  We shall make those worlds to last forever.  When our children hear the songs and music of these new worlds they will be the voices of the ever-living. 

Come, let us prepare to leave this dying world and go home.   

“Stars, too, were time travelers. How many of those ancient points of light were the last echoes of suns now dead? How many had been born but their light not yet come this far? If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize we were alone? I had always known the sky was full of mysteries — but not until now had I realized how full of them the earth was.”  – Ransom Riggs

 

     The Star Dancer

       I have no recollection of having posted this very short story.  If I did, it would have been many months ago, and “followers” have changed drastically since.  If it is a repeat for you, just ignore, although I have made some edits.  thank you.                                               

                                                               a short story by  ~ Sha’Tara ~

One could almost say she had the characteristics of a winter bird without stretching the comparison.  A killdeer on a windswept dune in December heard only after darkness covers the shores, that would describe her presence. 

Slim of build, almost translucent of skin, she could stand in perfect stillness beside a doorway and remain unseen by those passing in and out.  Generally silent, there was a quality to her voice that demanded stillness and silence.  Not from weakness nor self-pity, her way of remaining in the background was her means of allowing her to observe the world, voicing some of her thoughts little more than the occasional soft word.  She could just as easily remain alert and active for long hours without apparently tiring.  Never was she seen indulging food or drink beyond a body’s basic needs.  Her pleasure, and she radiated pleasure, did not emanate from satisfying carnal desires. 

She was not what would be called pretty, but she was truly beautiful, with the movements of a small wild animal raising its head to look inquisitively at the world; with the velvety touch of an angel.  And what to say of her attire?  She wore no makeup and draped herself in the simplest of styles, in second-hand clothes.  If asked why she didn’t spend more on herself, she’d smile, as if shyly, and shrug.  “It doesn’t go with the innocence of children,” would be the extent of her explanation on the subject. 

Certainly, the innocence of a child would have described her.  She was called naïve by some.  To that she’d reply, “Do not confuse naïvety with innocence.  I choose to remain innocent.  It is my way of counteracting the many grave faults of this man’s world.  Do not make the mistake of thinking I am unaware of what goes on here or helpless to do anything about it.”  Only then did her voice take on the severe tone of the Teacher, a tone of voice loaded with implications which none but the awakened caught.

She was an empath.  Compassionate.  When she interacted with strangers, she mostly smiled and helplessly, they would smile back at her and then at one-another.  All children who met her were attracted to her, that is until the time when their innocence was forcibly taken from them.  Then she faded from their eyes and their memory.  They will not remember her until they get old and tears will roll down their lined faces in realization of what they had encountered; what they could have learned; how much it could have changed their lives.  

There were tragedies in her life as in every life.  Through it all, she brought hope and comfort where none existed.  That was her nature — to give, not to take.  It was as if she gave her own flesh and blood to those in need.  She “fed and clothed” by what she did not spend on herself – that was one of her “open” secrets.  But with each sorrow, her translucence increased.  A dawn would come to finally dim her starlight beyond earthly recall.

It didn’t matter what they called her, I recognized her from times before time.  She was of the Star Dancers; those whose home is the infinity of the Cosmos; who scatter themselves as stardust over myriad of worlds and touch the lives of countless others.  Sadly, yes, some of us get lost and for long periods, sleep in forgetfulness.  Our memories of the Star Dancer are but myths in the conflagration of time that burns within our confused minds.

But she did come.  A speck of dust on the wind, perhaps, but she appeared on our horizon, burning off into the skies like a meteorite. 

What does that matter now that she is gone, you may well ask?  What matters is, she came, scattered a bit of magic stardust and there was joy where none was to be had; there was hope where despair had held sway. 

What matters is, I can now remember and continue to do some of what she began.  How could anyone forget such a passing?  How could anyone mourn?  How could anyone who ever encountered her not make a supreme effort to remember?