It's an Art
“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
--Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
“Are you getting all this?” asked the stranger after the lingering pause and he straightened his legs. The cat leapt down and padded off after her own business.
“Yes, thank you,” answered the young man promptly, glad that the silence was broken at last and anxious to shift the topic a bit. “So the beginning was when George and Belle had Harry?” the host ventured, still scribbling.
“You missed it by a bit. This story began when Wang Fu Kong, George, committed himself to the journey to a new world, then the trek into the wilderness, and when he finally surrendered to the harsh beauty and rewarding wonder of the natural world in which he found himself.”
“Wait. Are you saying little Harry and his son, or daughter, or whatever, all the way down to Fred Livingson, whenever he lived, is all the same story? So, no one person had an individual beginning or end? That doesn't sound quite fair or right somehow.”
The guest stood up and walked to the door. He looked out into haze of the growing Texas day and the harvested hay fields across the pond, then he thought aloud, “You know, that's an interesting point... like 'What is the tree to the forest?' or, 'Is the story of the river in the melting ice and snow of the mountain?' or...”
“Well, yeah, or 'the chicken and the egg',” added the young man, “But how can you say: 'It begins here!' and not here, or here, or here?” Then he groaned in exasperation at his infirm grasp of what the stranger was getting at.
“The simplest way to answer that is to remind you that humans have the unique capacity to dream and to choose, which stands them in contrast to the rest of the life on this planet. Yet even with that great birthright, so few people develop the ability or make the attempt to swerve even a bit from the whims of the winds of fate or of cause and effect.” He paused, assessed the effect of this last on the young man and continued. “So when on that rare occasion someone commits to a decision made of his own understanding and aspiration, acts on that commitment, and affects the lives of others in a positive way which would not have occurred otherwise... That is a beginning.”
“And it doesn't seem to be ending...” muttered the host not so silently while sharpening his pencil for another round.
“It ends; its life however is mapped, not measured,” offered the guest, “Shall we proceed with your map?” The stranger sat down, and picked up the tale again with a conversation between George and White Feathers.
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Genre - Metaphysical/Fantasy/Action Adventure
Rating – G
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