Thought, Writing

Time Passes…

Tick, tock, tick… tock,
Rickety old little clock,
Listen to the ticky-tock,
The simple tickety-tock,
Ticky-tock, Tickety-tock,
Just an old little clock,
Rickety-tickety tick-tock.

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He’d never quite felt comfortable on land, though neither in the sea or sky. But here, deep in the forest by a small lake, he had found his home. Perhaps ironically, it wasn’t the place that was home, but just about everything else about it. The sense of peace, the way the winds pass through the trees and the rain falls on the leaves. He’d never been one to depend on his external senses, but always longed to explore the world in ways he never really dared. Scared to be alone, terrified of being surrounded by anything other than his own thoughts.

But now, surrounded by the trees which had started to shed its leaves in preparation for winter, he found himself sitting quietly, just looking around and listening to the sounds of the forest. For now, ignoring the pen and paper in his hands, instead taking the time to think about his past, his present and his future. A flow of words, images and pure thought flowed around inside his mind, flowing from the gentle warmth that seemed to leak away from his very soul into the world around him. It was a strange experience, but he had grown used to it over time and learned what it truly was. An equivalent exchange, a non-verbal agreement between him and the universe to give each other life in a symbiosis often overlooked by others.

Of course, no such trade comes without its difficulty. Equivalent though the exchange may be, it is still a compromise.  Something gained for something lost. The key to happiness is finding the right loss for the right gain. And that kind of wisdom only comes with experience of life’s intricacies. There is no one guaranteed road to happiness, though if there was, it would probably be bumpier than most. His own path hadn’t been an easy one either, with his own woes and ‘bad trades’, but in the end, he’d found where he had wanted to go. Home.

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Scales of Life

The terms Good and Evil in their antagonistic sense are alien to me. They are concepts I don’t believe in. Right and wrong, perhaps, are terms I can understand. But in particular, Evil is something that has never really been anywhere near reality for me. Injustice, cruelty and destruction are all things which are real, quantifiable and inherently negative.  But they are not always Evil. ‘Evil’ by definition excludes itself from ‘Good’, and ‘Good’ does the same in regards to ‘Evil’. But neither can exist without the other, not in any single act, event or circumstance.

There are always more than two sides to a story, more than just Good against Evil, no matter the victor. All acts affect everything else in the universe, in ways we don’t always comprehend, even as we try to label and categorise them. But in the end, the universe has a balance which cannot be changed. In the beginning, there was nothing. In the end, all that will remain is nothing. Everything else is fluctuation and change, all ultimately adding up to nothing again. One could assign positive effects to Good, and negative effects to Evil. But from the perspective of any living being in this universe, no single act only ever affects a positive change.

The natural state of Everything is Nothing. All things add up to null and void. Every action is balanced out eventually. Religions have tried to explain this, but ultimately it comes down to physics. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The best we can hope for is a local maximum, in mathematical terms. And that is what many of us choose to strive for. Mathematically, ‘many of us’ are 50% of ‘all of us’. Half, a balance. Mankind is not by definition Evil, nor is it Good. Mankind is. And it will be until it is no longer.

That is exactly how I choose to live my life. Everything matters, exactly because by the end of it, it will become Nothing. It’s all we have. And for every action I take, somewhere, somewhen, an equal but opposite reaction will occur. Knowing this, I will make choices that will benefit myself and those around me. Knowing that somewhere, somewhen, something will occur to make up for this local maximum. Because in the end, Everything will become Nothing.

By this reasoning, one might think heroes are the true villains. But Good and Evil do not exist. Everything balances itself out. All we know is the world we live in, and this is all we can knowingly affect and influence. 50% of us will have a negative effect on Everything, 50% of us will have a positive effect. In the end, it doesn’t matter. But right now, it matters to those of us who know this. But in terms of Good against Evil, consider this: If you choose to affect your world negatively, you will be directly responsible for misery to those around you.

Life is inherently destructive because it is stronger than anything else. Life is what affects the Scales of Everything and Nothing. It will, eventually, destroy everything. Which is exactly why we should strive to go against our nature. Me, I’ll strive to do ‘Good’, to affect life around me in a positive way. Because, for all I know, the Universe will balance this out by destroying a sun in an empty part of the Universe, where it will harm no-one able to experience suffering. The net effect of Everything will be Nothing, but this tells us nothing of the net effect of Every Little Thing. Time will balance everything out, but it is not sentient, nor sapient.

I’m not certain about a lot of things, in fact pretty much everything is just one big guess to me. But I do believe in Hope. I see Hope as a driving force of all living things, no matter how destructive we are. Something, somewhere, started this imbalance, this flux state of Nothing into Everything. Something created Life, even if its sole purpose is to return Everything to Nothing. Let’s just try to make it last. Everything is all we’ve got.

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I’m near enough the quiet cold everlasting to find myself afraid of what’s to come. But there is still an ember burning inside, with a passion reserved only for those who know themselves. I won’t fall into the abyss, not before I find what I was looking for in the darkness I find myself surrounded in. My words and my actions are not who I am. They have shaped me, but the spark was given by something else. I will continue to burn away the cold with my desires, until the candle is lit and the world becomes bright enough for me to open my eyes. The quiet cold everlasting does not stand a chance against a single hope, a single dream, for its mere existence is a victory that in and of itself cannot be undone.

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The fire flickered and died, the embers still glowing slightly in the dark. Nothing much else happened on the camp site and all that could be heard were the sounds of night-time in the dense forest around it. Only one person was still awake, but the figure just sat silently, slowly breathing in the cold air. The area was safe enough for the travellers not to worry about dangerous animals, so the darkness was not unwelcome. The early autumn days were followed by cold nights, so all four of them had wrapped themselves up in blankets before all but one of them went to sleep. They still had a long road ahead of them in order to rejoin some semblance of civilisation, which meant they could not risk exhaustion, especially not when their youngest was injured…

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The other Mages, young as they were – just like himself, really – were already too deeply entrenched in ritual and tradition to see the true reality of Magic. He’d never been one for rigid rules, certainly not when it came to something like magic itself. No living, breathing entity should be imprisoned in the constructs these so-called Wizards weaved. Even the Apprentices were learning only to enslave and imprison, rather than to nourish and share a bond with the power that rested within their very souls. He detested every moment he spent here, it wasn’t the right place for his ideas, but it was the only place remotely like what he sought. He wanted to learn Magic, learn what it was, but more importantly who it was.

Unlike the rest of them, he already knew its potential – he didn’t need to step foot in the Library Halls to know that all magic had unlimited potential, because it was not limited by anything beyond the laws of nature. While the Elder Wizards thought they needed to build stronger, better prisons for their ‘wizardry’, his mind conjured up greater feats of power than any of their little tricks could hope to achieve. Of course, he had yet to develop a way to bring his ideas into reality, which was precisely why he had travelled to the Academy in the first place. But he knew he would not spend a lot of time here – the place felt evil, evil in a way that should not exist in any world. But he would seek out the knowledge he needed to take his first steps into a realm even Wizards considered to be pure fantasy.

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Sands of Time

Her feet sank slowly into the wet sand as she looked out at the sunset. The giant ball of destruction that somehow managed to be the cause of life on the planet she found herself standing on. The beach was abandoned, but she still heard some stray calls of seagulls. She closed her eyes and just felt the calm sea breeze and the water lapping at her ankles. It wasn’t often that she found herself at the ocean, despite the fact it covered two-thirds of the planet. But, like the sun, the ocean helped sustain the life around her, and the life inside her. Without either one, she would not be there, she would never have smiled like this because she would never have existed.

Her contemplations about life, the universe and everything else are what drove her to her art, even if others would never deign to call it such – it wasn’t art in the sense they were used to, therefore it wasn’t art at all. She moved the world with her hands alone, yet the days still passed as they always did. The sun still rose every day, or rather, the earth still spun as it had for a thousands of years. And it would continue to do so, whether she was there or not to gently guide its way. After all, she was but a speck of sand compared to the rest of the universe. Ever so small, but crucial nonetheless to so many things around her.

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Dark Worlds

My world seemed darker than it ought to be – as if other worlds were somehow brighter and that this one should be too. But, child that I was, I dared to dream. The darkness never really caught onto my heart, as it had done to many others. They’d grown old and grey, well before they were meant to. I had never quite let go of my childhood, however, and I was younger than my peers, yet in my youthful arrogance I also felt wiser. I felt I’d suffered more than any others because I was somehow more vulnerable, like a phoenix in the rain.

But it was exactly a phoenix which showed me how untrue my world views were – though at the same time it reminded me that childhood is something one should never surrender to anything, even to adulthood. A bird of flame could withstand the endless downpour of rain not because of some higher power, but because it would never surrender, never let its flame be doused by anything at all. I came to learn that my weaknesses were in fact strengths, if only I learned to use them in my favour. I let the flame of the phoenix brighten my heart even more, and I promised myself I would never surrender to the rain or anything else. My inner flame would be what made the world as bright as it should be: bright enough to uplift those around me without blinding them to reality.

Light and dark are often used as a metaphor for good and evil, at least in the stories I’ve been told throughout my youth. But people never seem to realise that light can be just as blinding as darkness – it takes a careful balance to allow us to truly see the beauty of the world around us. For every phoenix, there will be a shadow dark enough to counter its light, but this is no reason to surrender. Quite the opposite, it’s a reason to shine bright, be proud of who you are and to never close your eyes to the world around you. It takes a balance tipped just slightly in favour of the light, for the spark of magic to exist. The slight spark that makes all the difference, a spark which exists in every world, no matter how dark it may seem.

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Treading Lightly

The light danced in his eyes as well as in his hands – a small creature that seemed to be made of moonlight crawled quickly back and forth between his fingers. It was hard to tell what kind of creature it resembled – it seemed both furry and scaly all at once. It had a soft, ethereal glow about it that to stretch out further than it should in the darkness. He smiled as he watched it play, keeping half an eye on the camp fire and of course his dinner. He had no idea where the critter came from, had never even seen one before. He knew, of course, of Magic and of Sorcery, Witchcraft and Wizardry, but he’d never seen anything remotely magical back home. He’d grown up far from what others would call ‘civilization’. In fact, he’d never even seen a castle or a house not built of wood.

But he’d gone out into the world to explore it and discover new things. And now, he caught his first glimpse of something new, something unique and different.  He knew it could hardly not be magical, this creature of moonlight. He could feel its tiny, sticky feet clinging to his fingers, yet it had no weight of its own. He just watched it play for a while when the little thing suddenly glowed brightly and then vanished into nothingness.

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He looked at the sky. It looked back, its face clouded and grim, about to burst out in anger, to lash at the world with storm and wind. But he smiled, as he usually did when the world around him grew dark, knowing that he’d weather the storm. It’s easy to be scared, especially when the world around you speaks so loudly it drowns out your own voice, it’s easy to feel lost and alone and forgotten.

But that’s not why the storms are there. They exist to wash away the past, to renew the world and to offer it a glimmer of hope, a small chance at overcoming past mistakes. Every raindrop was an offer of life, an offer of hope. Even the lightning served its purpose in discharging the stress of the world itself – to calm it, soothe its very soul even as it shudders in response.

Every storm will end, but it will leave behind the gift of renewal. One would need to lose all hope to not appreciate what the winds brought them. Even something as regular as rain gives chance an opportunity to change the world. And that’s why the young man smiled as he looked up at the sky as it started to rage. It would calm, it would pass, and the world would grow once again.

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