Author : Desmond Hussey
The Climber clings to the base escarpment of Olympus Mons’. Freezing zephyrs tug at his dusty, ocher robes as he scales, hand over fist, the sheer face of ruddy basalt.
“What is the nameless name?” Master Su-gee asked him once, long ago. His voice soft as a Martian spring breeze.
“Everything has a name, Master.”
“We call the sea, Sea, the air, Air. Mars – Mars! Everything has a name. You’re Master Su-gee. I am –
The Master brought his hands together in a violent clap, stirring thick incence smoke into esoteric coils, which languished in the thin air.
“But Master, a name is power!“
The Master closed his eyes and whispered, “A name is weakness.”
The Watcher gazes from the mountain’s bass over Lycus Sulci, a rough, corrugated terrain where the massive volcano has buckled the Martian surface. Far-seeing eyes penetrate the tawny atmosphere glimpsing the distant aqua-blue shimmer of the Amazonis Ocean. Moist ocean winds carry precious water to the variegated lichen forests of Lycus Sulci. Promises of life.
Above, coriolis winds spin white cirrus into hypnotic, Fibinocci spirals, whispering secrets most do not hear.
“Names can be named, but named name is not the Eternal Name.”
The Traveler follows the gentle slope leading inexorably upward, the Mons’ zenith ever beyond the horizon. The destination ever beyond sight.
He moves through an endless forest of Serendipity Cactus rising from sandy hillocks. Their single, enormous leaf is held aloft by plump hydrogen nodules anchored to the lava field, resembling a vast, organic net cast high into to the sky; ever reaching to the heavens, yet bound to the material.
The plant’s wispy, pink cilia suck moisture from air-born dust, depositing grains of sand at the stem’s bass in gentle red mounds, like carefully harvested thoughts.
“Master, without names, without words, how can anything be known?”
“Words are dangerous, slippery, magnetic, filled with prejudices. Do not get caught studying the finger.”
The cinder of Earth glows dim on the horizon. Twin moons rule the star-studded firmament above the colossal Buddha carved into the Caldera’s wall. One hand reaches heaven-ward, the other lightly touches the ground. Behind a massive finger a narrow tunnel descends into the heart of the sleeping volcano. The Dreamer enters.
“Go deeper, young Dreamer. Whether you go, stay, sit, lay down, the whole world is your own self. You must discover whether the mountains, rivers, grass and forest exist in your own mind or exist outside it. Observe the ten-thousand things. Dissect them minutely. When you have reached the limitless, you come to the end of your search, where thinking goes no further and distinctions vanish. Go. Find the nameless name. Smash the citadel of doubt.”
The young monk bowed once, then left the mountain monastery.
The Seeker returns, walking an endless, oppressive night through the volcano’s twisting catacombs, deep into the bowels of the planet. The labyrinthine tunnels are dizzying, misleading, filled with false hopes, eager to devour lost seekers in a maze of dead ends.
The Seeker is patient. He listens.
The path knows the way.
A shaft of pale light falls on Master Su-gee who sits atop a broad cone of tan basalt, a microcosm of Olympus Mons.
“You have returned. Tell me: What is the nameless name?”
The Monk looks deep into the infinite cosmos of Su-gee’s ancient eyes, then he slaps his Master’s sand-carved face.
Su-gee smiles, nods. “How reluctantly the bee emerges from deep within the peony.”
The Monk bows low. “When the clouds have cleared the moons appear.”
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