Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Mountains! The Lakes!

This is an excerpt from The Brothers K that I have been carrying around with me for a month or two.  

To clarify - the "hump of energy" is the undulation in a water hose when it is shaken.
"But I do think," Freddy continued, "there might be all sorts of humps of all sorts of energy that go traveling all sorts of directions people can't see.  For instance when a person gets mad at somebody ... Like when you get really mad and maybe slap somebody or jerk their arm or something, like Mama does to us sometimes, I think an invisible hump of energy might go flying all the way up their arm and right into their skeleton or insides or whatever - a hump of mean, witchy energy - and I think it might fly round and round in there like a witch on a broomstick flies round the sky, and go right on hurting invisible parts of the person you don't even know you're hurting, because you can't see all the ways their insides are connected to the mean thing you did to their outside.  And from then on, maybe that hump of mean energy sits inside the hurt person like a coiled-up hose or a rattlesnake, just waiting in there.  And someday, when that person touches somebody else, maybe even way in the future, that rattlesnake energy might come humping up out of them by accident and hurt that next person too, even though they didn't mean to, and even though the person didn't deserve it."  She paused for a moment.  Then, with feeling, concluded, "I think it happens.  I really think it does."
"I think it does too,"  Peter said ... "I think what you said can happen, does happen.  But every witch who ever lived was once just a person like you or me, that's what I think anyway, till somewhere, sometime, they got hit by a big, mean hump of nasty energy themselves, and it shot inside them just like Freddy said, and crashed and smashed around, wrecking things in there, so that a witch was created.  The thing is, though, I don't think that first big jolt is ever the poor witch's fault."  Freddy said nothing.
"Another thing," Peter said, "is that everybody gets jolted.  You, me, before we die we'll all get nailed, lots of times.  But that doesn't mean we'll all get turned into witches.  You can't avoid getting zapped, but you can avoid passing the mean energy on.  That's the interesting thing about witches, the challenge of them - learning not to hit back, or hit somebody else, when they zap you.  You can just bury the zap, for instance, like the gods buried the Titans in the center of the earth.  Or you can be like a river when a forest fire hits it - pshhhhhhhhhhhhh!  Just drown it, drown all the heat and let it wash away ..."  Freddy lay still, watching his face.
And here's the part I've been carrying around like a talisman:
"And the great thing," he said, "the reason you can lay a river in the path of any sort of wildfire is that there's not just rivers inside us, there's a world in there.  Not because I say so.  Christ says so.  And Krishna.  But I feel it sometimes too.  I've felt how there's a world, and rivers, and high mountains, whole ranges of mountains, in there.  And there are lakes in those mountains - beautiful, pure, deep blue lakes.  Thousands of them.  Enough to wash away all the dirt and trouble and witchiness on earth."  
Freddy was still watching Peter's face and still listening with he said, "But to believe in them!  To believe enough to remember them.  That's where we blow it!  Mountain lakes?  In me?  Naw!  Jesus we believe in, long as He stays out of sight.  But the things He said, things like The kingdom of heaven is within you, we believe only by dreaming up a heaven as stupid and boring as our churches.  Something truly heavenly, something with mountains higher than St. Helens or Hood and lakes purer and deeper than any on earth - we never look for such things inside us.  So when the humps of witchiness come at us, we've got nowhere to go, and just get hurt, or get mad, or pass them on and hurt somebody else.  But if you want to stop the witchiness, if you want to put out the fires, you can do it.  You can do it if you just remember to crawl, right while you're burning, to drag yourself if that's what it takes, clear up into those mountains inside you, and on down into those cool, pure lakes."
... quite suddenly and quite loudly, Freddy burst into tears.  "I'm sorry," Freddy sobbed, hiding her face.  "I'm sorry.  But ... but I'm just so glad!"  
"Glad?  About what?"
"The mountains!"  Freddy whispered, eyes closed, tears streaming.  "The lakes."