So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

24 February, 2007

Stranger at the Ford

You don't give me your name, but I know you: I know you, as they say, of old.

Foot against earth, hip against hip, the grapple: the mud runs thick and deep here, and there can be no space to slip. At the ford, falling risks drowning, becoming swept away, getting lost in the cold waters. I have been wrestling this stranger for years, it seems at times, through the darkness of the night.

There are strangers here, strangers that we know, which have lurked in our hearts. They stand at the ford, ready to overthrow us, cast us down into the grime, hurl us into the river if we slip.

We face the consequences of our birthright here, stolen or otherwise: next to the river that could consume us, the river that marks the transition from here to there. If we fail, if we do not stand and cross the river, the stranger is still there, waiting, a lurking menace. There is no way but the ford, but the ferryman will have its due; the guardian will not let the unready pass. We were born to face this stranger, born and shaped by the ways of worlds: each stranger a little different, carried with us always and waiting to emerge when we seek to cross the river.

Angels and demons are of the same kindred. Whether we seek the blessing or curse the encounter depends mostly on whether we slip. There is the third way, arcing between the celestial and the daemonic, what Terry Pratchett in Hogfather referred to as "where the falling angel meets the rising ape": the human.

Being human, we limp a little come dawn.

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