daily preciousness

Sunday, October 13, 2002

songs of enchantment

We didn’t see the seven mountains ahead of us. We didn’t see how they are always ahead, always calling us, always reminding us that there are more things to be done, dreams to be realized, joys to be re-discovered, promises made before birth to be fulfilled, beauty to be incarnated, and love embodied.

We didn’t notice how they hinted that nothing is ever finished, that struggles are never truly concluded, that sometimes we have to re-dream our lives, and that life can always be used to create more light.

We didn’t see the mountains ahead and so we didn’t sense the upheavals to come, upheavals that were in fact already in our midst, waiting to burst into flames. We didn’t see the chaos growing; and when its advancing waves found us we were unprepared for its feverish narratives and wild manifestations. We were unprepared when our road began to speak in the bizarre languages of violence and transformations. The world broke up into unimaginable forms, and only the circling spirits of the age saw what was happening with any clarity.

- Azarro, spirit-child.

(As told by Ben Okri in Songs of Enchantment.)

I called Mom on a Friday at 2:30 to read her that passage. After I finished, there was a pause of about a minute, before she ventured, “That’s beautiful; is that about 9/11?”

“Not specifically, but yes, it is, in a larger sense,” I replied.

I think the “bizarre languages of violence and transformations” could easily be applied to recent events in our lives. But I think Okri was describing famine, pestilence and military coups. In a larger sense, he was describing society-wide catastrophes and violence and its effects on individual people.

He concludes the description, which is the introduction to the book, by saying, “This is the song of a circling spirit. This is a story for all of us who never see the seven mountains of our secret destiny, who never see the chaos that there can always be a new sunlight.

Gorgeousness is the word for Okri’s unique and seemingly effortless brand of magical realism.


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