Monday, December 6, 2010

In the Beginning was the Word

I have an image of God as a rustic, in a cabin balanced precariously atop a high, narrow mountain, like the mountains in Japanese sansui paintings, a mountain that is in a perpetual state of fall, golden and scarlet forest encircling it. In my mind, I see him hunched over his desk, writing away, writing from the top of the mountain down so that his words flow out like thick threads, weaving everything around him, from his floor boards down into the trees, through valleys, cities, farmlands, even into my own little home, where sometimes I can even catch glimpses, tiny word threads, woven into the delicate green three leaf clovers painted on my porcelain coffee cup.

He writes in cursive, in black ink, never picking up his pen so that the words flow together, in the way that monks once wrote, but as the words weave their way into the world, they are imbued with color by God’s audience. We, the readers, add our own perception to the creation, the way that readers interpret all writing, believing that the author must have meant such and so because that’s what we would have meant if we’d written it. However, in this case, we are also characters interpreting the book that gives us our existence, which makes us very unique characters in the history of literature.

We are stitched together from words and phrases, which is true to this fanciful notion that I have but is also true to uncontested reality. If I have been told dozens of times by dozens of people that I am beautiful, then I perceive myself as beautiful, likewise if I have been told that I am worthless, I believe that I have no value.

We, in turn, pull threads from God’s creation to piece together our own existence, a bit of blue here, a thread of work or of play, embroidering in love and cinnamon and pots of stew beef and whatever else we choose to add to the tapestry of our lives. Even after we die, other people pull at our threads, stitching our stories into their own lives the way that Ma does when she tells me about her Ma.

Maybe God doesn’t writes down stories, and in fact, I don’t want to pigeonhole him into the role of story-teller. He is clearly also a poet because only a poet could create love and patches of snow, glittering rainbows in the sunrise. He is a lyricist, writing melodies for mockingbirds, and he is the author of manifestos, stirring us to righteous indignation when we see another human harmed by selfishness. He created elegant scientific proofs, algebraic equations and philosophical treatises. Who else would wonder how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

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A Mirror, A Summer, A Street by Autumn Crisp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.