Coast – roll – roll
Why don’t they make real cars more like bumper cars? The daily commute would become the highlight of the day and auto insurance companies would quickly go out of business.
“That’s why on weekends, we go hiking to discover the tell-tale brushstrokes of some transcendent artist.” I added.
Monkey-cam agreed that there were many times when the world seems like a beautiful masterpiece.
“Still,” he pantomimed, “isn’t it enough that we’re alive and we can eat bananas and meet girls?”
“Well,” I replied, “the culture I was born into thinks it’s important how you do those things. For instance, we’re supposed to meet girls, not so much for fun, but (within the confines of holy matrimony) to reproduce and create more consumers to keep the economy growing.”
Monkey-cam looked incredulous.
“No, really,” I tried to explain, “a majority of Americans actually claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus (who turns out to have equal ranking with God) and they say they try to live their lives according to his will.”
“How do they talk to him?” Monkey-cam asked. “How do they know what his will is?”
“Well, most of them say they speak to him in prayer. But they also say that he speaks to them through his ‘word’, which turns out to be a collection of loose histories, poems, songs, stories, gospels and letters that Jewish people and, later, Christians collected over thousands of years.
“So he doesn’t really talk to them in any sense of the word ‘talk’?”
“Honestly, no.” I admitted. “It’s more convoluted than that. They have to interpret ‘the word’ and apply it to their lives. For instance, there’s a story that explains how rainbows are a promise from God that he won’t kill everybody again in another worldwide flood.”
“Would you like a piece of apple? Monkey-cam asked.
“Sure!” I said. “Let me stop at the store and I’ll get a sack full.”
Monkey-cam stretched out his hand with a wedge of apple in it. “No.” he gestured, “Just take this piece in my hand.”
We looked at each other for a moment, me with a somber look of sadness, Monkey-cam with the sudden realization that he was imaginary.
We sat in silence. It seemed like a long time.
“Look,” I said, trying to cheer Monkey-cam up, “you may not be as real as Real Jesus, but you’re every bit as real as Imaginary Jesus.”
I saw a little tear collect in the corner of Monkey-cam’s eye. He motioned that he wanted to go talk to his friend, Naked Picasso. “Naked Picasso understands me,” he signed.
Later, I saw Monkey-cam and Naked Picasso on a park bench at Laurelhurst Park, contemplating their situation.
I approached them quietly and was about to say hi, but they disappeared as if they had never been there.
It left me alone to ponder my path. I wondered what I would do the next time I found myself in a dangerous photography situation without my longtime hiking companions. I had always felt certain, that when it came down to it, Monkey-cam would give his life for me.
Ember paths - traced from Jason and Julie's 'firepit'
Like sparks from a fire pit, we travel routes that, at least on the surface, seem like they ought to be easy to pre-determine within a natural framework, but because our understanding and capacity for observation are limited, the routes turn out to be unusual, unique and highly improbable. Evidently, given enough matter, rules, time and variables, properties emerge and dirt talks.
We do the work of communication with a symbolic language that lends itself to metaphor. We speak from the ‘heart’ though we understand its primary function is as a pump.
Without any evidence, we postulate a soul – some essential essence of ourselves distinct from our physical bodies – that might bridge the chasm of physical death.
We write that words – ideas - are mightier than swords.
We populate the world with ghosts - from the depths of our inspired imaginations springs the Holy Spirit.
If only we could get the story right - maybe we could change the world.