Inside the Margins
Grace. There is grace living in the footnotes of life. But there is loneliness too. It seems in order to be recognized is to stumble into the light and be mocked. There in that crucible I find my strength to be alive, to be something more. And for what?
For what it seems is just to be known and seen, to survive the jaws of wolves and now be free to walk about among the people of my time, here in what is now the future of my childhood.
My childhood, I say, but also the dreams of all others before me of this time, oceans of whom did not live to see it. But I did, simply and apparently by virtue of timing and having been born in the right place at the right time. That’s how other people say it, yeah, and that I take this for granted and don’t know what I have. I say it sure doesn’t feel like the right place or the right time.
My whole life—or most of it anyway, if I’m honest and steering clear of some drama—has been spent not caring much for reality, for believing another time and place would have been more appropriate to my personality. Of course, had that been, would I still be me? Or would I be like so many others of my time, walking around like contented cattle? It’s a trap.
I still feel this trap with respect to place, finding myself wanting to brave the wilds and travel somewhere exotic or huge. But I don’t.
I don’t. Instead, I remain in the footnotes, on the margins of my own life, afraid to enter the text, or sometimes brave enough but ignorant of how.
I have not had such an easy time of introducing myself to this world that’s the right place and the right time, this world of tomorrow today, this metropolis of dreams for those aspirants that came before me. And many of them felt this way too, I’m sure, as that was what cast their eyes so far forward in the first place. But now they’re dead. And we never met. I can’t ask them what to do now.
Even if I could, the elders don’t know. They have the ways of their times and those ancient ways they have been unable to uncover and apply to this dying earth. But there exist those inexhaustible queries that make life, well, life and not the perfection of death—a completed life, that is.
So when I see the gods and goddesses of today in this place incarnate and the powers they wield and the cities they live in, I see it for what it is: illusion woven from the largess of those who built it and whose descendants keep it all running, the prayers and wishes of the mortal world sent to them and adding to their power. I cannot help but want to walk among them. That, and to be here as I am with my son in this town on the edge of civilization in this war-torn remnant of a dead culture trying to be something new and alive but frozen. Frozen, or at best thawing and logy from the warming.
There is a framework, a structure I posit, that will open a portal and give me passage to anyplace I would like to go. I’ve devoted my recent years to the study and construction of this gate, much as in my earlier adulthood I constructed a raft to escape an island; and, after between then and now, building and outfitting a seaworthy boat.
I have some of the tools needed for the job but am missing others. I need a larger crew, as well, and am not sure of who’ll fit the job. I also have no blueprint other than my own imagination, intuition, and ingenuity. But I do have a star, an anchor, a small core crew, and a boat. I can work from here to develop the plans and build this portal along the footnotes into the world of dreams, or rather into those spaces that exist between the margins, on the inside.