Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One Honest Man — 2

I knew it too. A fool knows himself a fool: knows he should turn his back on his foolish imaginings, knows he should come back to Earth and stop living with the stars. Yet, he stays a fool.

But fools are sometimes the wisest men. So says Feste. So says Lear's Fool.

So says me and my fool. He says wise men are fools, that all men should bow before him who has no success, him who knows life without comfort, him who knows not the smell or the sound of sweet release. Do I believe my fool? Do I dare believe my fool? him who has no knowledge of the things of this world?
This world that says to be happy we must have, to be fulfilled we must take, to obtain our full potential we must control every facet of our lives or give up that control to another, trusting a stranger to decide what is best for us. For me

I didn't know everything then, back in fourth grade. I don't know everything now. I didn't want to know everything then, only the things that gave me life, the things that took my fantasies to new heights. We raced through the forest, Valacar and I; we leapt through great meadows of tall, brown grasses; we scaled the highest mountains to find the most sacred places, the places that few ever reach. It was there we worshiped: creator and creation, together, as one, kneeling in the temples of aged monks, of devout believers in a religion of mountains, a religion that knows no limiting-yet-still-high-but-safe heights. Valacar showed me places I never could possibly dream of on my own. I was the apprentice, the student, the grasshopper. He was the master, the doctor, the sensei. 

He was my guide, and I followed blindly after him.

Still, I was a fool; still, I knew things no other boy could possibly know. My mind was opened wide. I engineered strange games on the playground, at recess. We played, friends and enemies, wise men and fools. We gave and we gave. We gave. We gave. We gave.

Nathan, my friend, a man—a boy—of nature, called out across the grounds, "Jack! Hey Jack! I got an idea for a game!" Inspired, he raced over. Had it been his idea? Had it come from his own mind? Had I not committed the crime of inception? giving him the idea through my games, my means of inspiration. 

"What if we were wizards? Knights? Lords? Warriors? The woods are right there, and I've got these!" He shot out his hand. In it lay hundreds of tiny gold pieces—broken glass and plastic that glistened with the sun. I still have my bag of gold and my gems.

"The teachers won't like that, if we go in the woods," whined Z. Amos Claytor, degree in heresy by the fourth grade. Always on the up, always had the best answer for everything. A real wise man.
But I was a fool, a Feste, a Touchstone.

We went into the woods to live, to drink of the drink of Thoreau. We drank the marrow from the bones of the trees, we sipped the blood of Pharisees, the wise men, the Z. Amos Claytors of our dark age.We reveled in our games in our worlds unknown, where possibility was foreign to our lips. We knew no bounds; no mighty hand of some wise man could keep us from venturing into the woods.

We went into the woods because we wanted to live and live so deeply that from the depths of our souls we could look up and not see the surface. We were fools, and no life-killing, peace-mongering Z. Amos Claytor—great wise man of our time—could make us wise.

There was war in our souls. There was war for our souls. We heard the wise men preach their peace to us on the playground, heard the crusty doctrinaire proclaim his testament was the true testament and every other was false. I preferred the sermons of the kickball, the teachings of the ants, the hymns of the jay: sweet saccharine honey of nature's marrow, of the life that we drank daily. We were fools. I was a fool, a Feste singing his songs of the wind and rain. 

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