Author: Michael Edwards
“He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.”
— Lao Tzu
As for me, it may sound rather grand, but I am called a seventh degree master of The Mountain Pathway tai chi system: movement, mantra, and meditation. Since I cannot live forever, I have encoded some of the secret teachings from my path in this story. Therefore, I may now speak to you, and yet remain silent. So that you may know. Yes, even now.
Go then and leave the city. City of the fathers, they call it: those who knew the name of salvation.
Go then and pass out through the gates, white in the sun, where the old men gather together. They, greeting you, calling you by name.
Or no. Set out so early only the guard can greet you. His breath smoking. Rising like incense.
Go then unto the hills—fragrant with dawn—and find there—what? You look upon the peak, highest, and it speaks to you: “whatever you seek.” Is it gold? Veining the flesh of the Earth? Go then.
Let your foot be bruised, purple, upon the backs of stones. Let your fingers be cut open, red, upon the spines of rocks.
Climbing, you will find—if nothing else—inclination dragging you down.
And then, standing, the sun in your forehead (like a surmise), you will find a shadow standing behind you.
And now, the sun straight-up overhead (like an inspiration, perhaps), the vista will reveal to you a valley, mazy with silver. Rivulets of water, shining in the sun. “That,” you think, “is life.”
And overbrimming with greenery. “And that, hope.”
And yet. And yet haunted by shadows.
“But what is that, now?” Beyond this valley, on the rim of the world, it seems—yet another peak.
There it stands: Lone. Majestic. Crowned with snow. The ribs of it, massy, like the laterals of a pyramid, ascending to glory.
Each angle of it, a shade of blue. A change of mood. A facet of mind.
Soft now. Powdery. Or pastel. — Now energetic. Electric. Or even grandiose. — Mystical. Glacial. Robin’s egg. Or midnight. Yet ever and always—some increment of color blue.
Across the distance, the mountain shimmers in the sunlight. Giving way, giving way, this side and that, before the waves of heat in air, it seems less real, somehow, than the emptiness all about it.
Is this then—a mirage? A trick of the light? Sent to deceive the eye? “No,” you think. “And yes.”
And it will speak to you: “This.”