Except we are not on a stage of animals at this concrete horizon; to live with the animals requires some understanding of those beasts and the joker card of the uncertainty of the weather and erratic patterns of behaviour.
Here, the playing board has been flattened into chess, wherein power seekers look not only to move their own pieces, but to make of others their pawns. I see this landscape as a de Chirico painting, Mystery and Melancholy, shadows being chased. To play chess every day is not to win every day and the sparseness of the landscape is the over- activity of the mind, imprisoned in the concrete limitation of its own making. A shadow of the soul trundles the hoop of dreams in but a dim memory of vitality. Inspiration will not emerge where there is so much constraint and control.
Thence the tropes of appealing to the gods in so much ancient literature; to think this world is our own is a tragic fallacy. If one must make a decision in this landscape, one must know that to choose the plans of the "must" is to forfeit an openness to the secrets inherent in each new moment, there for the person who has time to read. Many are the shouts these days of the futility of this human life, but the thumoi behind those voices are really in need of time, possibly also knowledge, to resolve their immediacy into the larger picture.
To write does not mean that one has the answers, rather that one wishes to move towards them. That one is listening, and took note of the silver tractors on the silver fields at 5pm. The call of the bird, the question of whether one is to return to the trade winds, even if ten years' work was finished months and months ago and is now being stripped of its originality by either a leak of that work or through the coincidence that someone else began the same work just afterwards, now gaining credit for said work through their access to the mouthpiece of media. The ancients have said it: sometimes the tree one takes the pain of labour to plant does not grow: the seeds we dropped by accident along the way may become the source of the shade that saves us.
To turn to geomancy or the oracle of the inner symbol does not necessarily indicate superstition but the knowledge that the answers do not lie in our hands or our de Chirico brain. In The Enigma of the Arrival of the Afternoon, the sails of that wind everyone wishes to catch to carry them to save their tired feet is blocked off by a wall; downcast figures are caught between chessboard and shadow, trapped, along with the viewer - all of us knowing the arrival of a boat is made possible by that wind we cannot see but could experience if we could only reach beyond the parapet of our own making. It is an impoverished landscape, one without the allegory of the animal, now banned to extinction beyond city limits.
Yet the subconscious hungers for those symbols, starving for a way to express itself that is not bound to the eight-to-six, not bound to the tempo dictated by the powerful. Sometimes, one may decide that there has been enough waiting. That the ten years of work is either visible in one's thoughts and speech or not: certification or acknowledgement of work done is but secondary.
Some of us are not married to appearance, we are that boat that has moved through life not through how it looks but what it is. While we might refrain from recommending this path, which one may like to call truth independent of circumstance, it is preceded by first playing the silent part of he who is patient, doing the job (mostly) with a smile despite the snares too many to be coincidence, but not enough to be definite traps. Such people are not reactionaries and first attempt to pay their dues. Such do not immediately cry foul, walking the middle line, knowing hungry days may follow their sudden inability to feel stress over their fate. It can become time to let go.
Responsibility is a word that seems to be carved in some people's bones, as if the autopsy would reveal this message, revealed instead through the pecking performed by crow people on the living. It is up to each of us to know where the line of our dignity lies, if sometimes we cross it only to remember that certain lesson. To be responsible for dignity and to be responsible for resulting hardship, if that is what it takes to keep that bird in the heart singing, the one that knows the enigma of the afternoon because it is the afternoon, and evening, and morning.
Comfort in words, comfort in choice, even if such words as printed here turn out to be a moment of the flight of fantasy, for the situation is not yet over. Comfort in remembering that one has made it through survival camp before, comfort in knowing that if the truth is to lie in utter humiliation where the word means being so humble as to not exercise the will of that little bird there is also to be the gift of strength that comes in mysteriously like the wind we can see in de Chirico's Afternoon painting. One becomes quiet to listen for that wind, that may carry us back to the Silk Road or leave us where we are having first rustled the chimes that is the song that returns us to hope, bringing new inner perspective that is inspiration.