|The Valley of Humanity
I thought once I'd got this place out of my head, you know, mastered it in some way, given it some musical justice so that it wouldn't haunt me the way it does. Haunt…a strange word for a place that comes to my mind, filling it with incredible beauty. Yet no other word truly represents the circumstance in which I'm continually placed when visiting and revisiting its beauty. I return home feeling tearful, sobbing sometimes, not tears of distress you understand, but joy; the sheer joy of finally understanding something of what, perhaps, lies beyond this world. I say perhaps because ultimately I'm a writer, but before that I'm a human being, a mortal soul as different and as complex as the next. Sure you think it's a dream, how could anything so splendid, so huge, so enthralling, so unbelievable be anything else?
But look, I was a young man the first time I was enraptured by this place. I didn't understand it; the strange, haunting, beautiful sound, the boy carrying a torch, and entering into the valley, this galactic, sumptuous cavity between the hills of my life, where thunder rolled in from every corner of the sky. But the thunder is not menacing, nor brings with it any sign of rain, more it is a heralding. But this doesn’t explain the boy in this place; such a boy, his complexion made up of every skin color, his hair wild, and his face...well, his face, yes, but that's for later. I see him enter the valley from my lookout high on a hill. I do not know why I’m here, or why I feel so infernally alone. I’m merely a spectator to what is coming: battalions, legions of men, women and children following the boy with the torch, carrying bright banners, streams of silk entering into the valley, faces full of joy, dancing to the endless thunder rolling in and peeling across the valley floor.
I sit on the hillside for days...days I tell you, blissfully deranged, listening to the thunder and the beat of the drums, watching the millions pass by. It's like, well it's like each of their faces is known to me, of my kind, my nation, my life… actually born of their dancing, following the child with the torch. Darkness comes and goes; hunger is satisfied without eating, sleeping ...I don't know...I just don't know. From deep within the thunder of the valley's flowers, reverberating upward through wind shaken willows, sounding from the outriders on their horses, a feast made up of music, every taste exciting, a constant breeze of pure sound that I cannot turn away from, nor want to. I have this urge to join in. Who is the boy with the torch? Why do legions follow him? Is it because of the light in his face, this constant peace that emanates from his being, his youthfulness? Where is he going...from where? There seems no reason or rhyme, just endless nations of people, joining hands as if they've never known borders, war, or religion. Or maybe they know every bit of it.
I cannot say what whirling feeling possesses me, standing here on the hillside, just that when the last perfection disappears from the far end of the valley I’m left wanting, hungry, waiting for something. The thunder of humanity rumbling on into the distance, as the music in the breeze quiets. I know the serenity of it all is leaving me, standing here alone, a troubled boy seeing something of the way it all should be. The whole of human kind, marching, maybe, to what lies beyond, and I am less fearful, caught up in the whirling celestial tide of human kind. Finally, overtaken with silence, the music spiraling out toward another place, I see on the far hill the torch, a crown and three crosses, one of which holds the boy on high. That boy is me. I am Him. I lie down and sleep soundly amid my resting peace; knowing finally what lies beyond Jerusalem.