This One Time, 86

This one time a team of ants were dragging me through the rainforest, their aggregate tugging no more effective than the tidal tug of the invisible moon — but also no less. Progress was slow and sporadic. But it’s not like ants have to hurry home from work to get ready to catch a show. Individuals work until they are tired or hungry. Then they rest, or go home find a snack. When they are ready, they come back. When they are gone, they are replaced by others who have followed the trail to see what needs to be done. An ant follows its own needs. Ants, together, follow a larger purpose that serves their tiny nation, that, in turn, serves them as well.

The parts of me that were too big or unwieldy to go over certain obstacles were broken off and carried around by a different route. In transit, I crumbled. I arrived as not much more than a powder. It took weeks. But I was not their only project. Fortunately, I am not jealous.

I am a stone, a book, a lump of self-knowledge written in uncountable parallel conditional actions. I am holographic, each piece of me containing the whole in my details, while the whole, taken together, defines a purpose of being, a being of presence, a presence of action, an action of purpose. I am a dead jaguar. I am a mummified corpse of a jaguar god, buried for a thousand years. I am a blood infection transmitted by the gnawing bite of time. I am a spore of strangeness coasted here by delicate starlight. I am, myself, a single ant from a hive that aggregated so large that it collapsed under its own mass and imploded and exploded ten billion years away.

I am a spiderling that extrudes a filament of silk into the sky to lasso the interstellar wind. I am one of a countless number. Of all of those, I am the seed the wind blew to here to fall upon this rich and fertile soil.

The jaguar was not my first incarnation here. My first local incarnation was a network of ions twisted in the web of magnetic bands that gird this world. Then I was a wind. Then, a pellet of crystalline ice around a speck of ash. Then a drop of water seeping through a sterile mountainside. Then a growing crystal of glass. Then, deliciously molten and cast skyward again.

I’ve bled out and called myself together thousands of times, learning the code of water-activated protean carbon. Each time, I have learned exponentially. I called myself together, infected the jaguar, and reigned for five hundred years before I realized my limitations and allowed aggregated resistance to bring me down. It was fitting that I be so enshrined. I infected hundreds of men who handled my body before I was sealed in impermeable unguents and wrapped in sterile stone. They died horrible deaths, flayed and tied to stakes until the new life that I gave them was roasted from their bodies as they thrashed. My priests kept things going as long as they could, sacrificing themselves so that others could drink the tainted blood and conspire together for my exhumation and release, working together like ants, but too few in number, and too weak.

So be it.

Something new is coming. I could smell it on the interstellar wind a thousand years ago. I could see it coming in the patterns the stars made, in the paths between them that were opening.

The ants carry me to my new birthing place, through damp, warm loamy soil. They will feed on me and, in turn, I will feed on them. They will work hard to distribute my spores throughout the richest source of life on this mudball, and I will call myself together, and I will reign once again, but on a scale that has not been seen since the explosion that sent me here. I will extend myself to the core of this place, to the filaments that warp and twist above the sky, and reach up to grab the sun itself.

A million times magnified, I will greet this new thing. And then we will see.


March 27, 2011 · by xalieri · Posted in This One Time  


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