0c Forethought

The Blue Circle Binding; Chronologue of the Venerable Sage Kirsus of the Hazad, Meherim Exarch, Specialist of Sang-Garsu Axim

Forethought by Venerable Sage Kirsus

We can not escape the social fabric within which we find ourselves. This is as true for Onen as it is for me, or any of the unique threads we relive. We are all embedded within our social fabric. The material before you suffers from the same constraint, but I would like the opportunity to delineate the specific challenges facing someone in my line of work for the benefit of Onen and specifically Machus: how individual narratives are selected and edited, such as the Purple Thread The Almanac of the First Princess-Elect, Celeste of House Adriane, and composed within social narratives such as Beginnings, First Volume of the End of Civilisation, works for which I am mostly responsible. This is an honest work in progress, as it were.

We may follow the thread of an individual as it weaves itself through the tapestry of life. Each individual may run in alignment with others, or contrary to them, or work at cross-purposes. Be aware that we can no more isolate an individual thread than we can alter our history as it has happened. Nevertheless, in the retelling of our lives, a live weaving can change our perception of what has passed, and thus a new future may be knit. Correctly speaking, it is the knitting together of our future projections that forms our history. Always, it is our future orientation and projection which lays down the social fabric that is true history. As every aduherim knows, our mental appreciation of the past is a fanciful thing, as much a future thing as anything else we can imagine. It is our job as meherim, of course, to bring an accuracy to what we understand to have happened, just as single sangaxims are interpolated to form a mutual xanaxim. Or in the common tongue, threading several psychological realities approximating a coherent social Reality, as we have done with the Purple Thread and the Book of Beginnings.

With the advent of the Blue Mountain, or the Crystal Lake as it is more frequently termed since its discovery, we have been granted wide ranging access to all fixed garsu, and wide-spread access to all but the most securely locked records. The Black Thread is probably the best example of these private threads: only a precursor axim of the exhile Gradhacr is currently available to us since he has subsequently developed the techniques to secure his mindstream; as a consequence we can only follow the threads of those who find themselves on his so-called Black Pilgrimage, and before they fall under his shadow. But we face a more pressing issue than self-sealed records: the sheer quantity of mindstreams we have access to. Sifting through such a plethora of experience is overwhelming for the singular attention of mortals. We may take some succour from the arrival of Machus, soon may He manifest, and in the meantime accelerate atarax with multiple primary attention processing. We may progress in leaps and bounds over the next decade, but at the time of laying my thoughts down here and now, we are but ants crawling over the fabric of a multidimensional fabric with as many dimensions as people. What may we then do? How best may we proceed to not only record history, but to be alive to the future as it is formed? Such thoughts must give us pause.

A few notices. Firstly, fazing with concurrent experience. Our subjectivity is ever present-minded and future-orientated. Never shall we engage the past, and as already mentioned, we may only recreate our history as future clothing, ill-fitting at the best of times. Our intention is not to agree on some fixed past whether lived ten years ago or a hundred, but that we are accurate in the current fixing of our history as we proceed into the future. That is, we are clear in the concurrent mutual experiencing of garsu gazing, the knitting of live listening or its inferior form of deep reading. In all cases, and with more precision: within the bead of our pre-conscious attention. As I am fond of telling my students, our work is not based on the objects which are brought out of the mindless darkness by the shining of a lantern, but the mechanism within the lantern and yet outwith the actual burning of the wick. We may never enter within the burning of consciousness itself, but with diligent training we have revealed the mechanism of mind that gives image to the eye and sound to the ear; the navigation and genus of concept; the binding of feeling to intention and purpose; and the dynamics of intra-social being. All this, before we know it, as it were. Not as object of attention, but as it is experienced. Only in this way can the Blue Circle Binding make sense, and indeed any of the deeper states of the Threads and Books be fazed.  

Secondly, the problem of metaphor. The basis of narrative and common communication amongst the masses is the illusion of movement via a message. One speaks, and relays information, to another. From A to B, so it is erronously thought. The false understanding that something is being conveyed, which lends itself to the sequence of logic from premise to conclusion, and unfortunately the endless hunt for meaning which takes up so many of our scholars in this world and all worlds. Of course, it is such a pervasive model of understanding that it does becomes true — as a social fact — and we are thus trapped in the second-order or dis-order of inter-subjective communication. In as much as it has become a social reality, the A-to-B fallacy is real. And in this modus of communication, of linear narrative, of A then B then C and so on, it is understandable that metaphor reigns. What can not be put to words easily, adopts a parallel relationship within another language set. Speaking and listening is like a toddler throwing a ball to a play partner who catches it. The lion-hearted Guard of the Pharohim. And so on. Metaphor. But metaphor is not what we do. The experience is direct, to witness presently.

These two notices highlight our primary goal as meherim: to engage directly with the concurrency of intra-social communion. Where one talker is subsumed to the importance of multiple, simultaneous listeners. It is not what is said but what is heard that is important. Or, in its archaic form of text, it is not what is written but what is read that matters. Rax is direct manipulation of mind. Concurrently. In following this garsu sangaxim volume, our mind is active. The alignment of the follower’s mind to my mind depends on proficiency of training, aptitude, confidence — at this moment, live. The experience is fixed in the garsu, unchangeable, timeless. And yet, of course, your mind is live, the rax of your experience is entirely true, accounting for the discrepencies between our temporal and cultural social fabrics. Within axim, as with fine listening or deep reading, concurrency is everything. No delay, no message being conveyed. No logic. No linear sequence arriving at a conclusion: first this object of thought, now that object of thought, and therefore a conclusive object of thought; none of that. Instead, only with our pre-conscious thought in resonance, as the lens of our lantern, so mutual journeying is enabled. At least for as long as we align intent.

Of course, this exercise is not limited to garsu and rax projection, whether axim, atarax or imit, or indeed the garsu dust of golem or ta’u. Fine listening, open-hand martial arts or the danceforms of gotan, the synchronisation of improvised music or theatre, responsive play in sport or strategy games — these experiences all contain the engagement of mind within pre-conscious limits. But nowhere is this stronger than in the wonder of garsu rax.

A lesser form of this is well known to the common conjurer, the non-meherim independents who manipulate imaginations with word, politic with thought-play, and stoke feeling with their crude charicatures and venal dramas. All imaginary, of course. All object of thought, or worse, for the light of consciousness evokes shadows from genuine objects within their field of sense to caste shadows in their own minds, and it is this shadow-play which entertains so many. And so, they react to these shadows as if they are real, when they are just figments of their own imaginations. Mistaking these apparitions as real, so they react and in their reactance is social reality. And so they argue about history, kingdoms, money, myths, injustices, and everything that comes to mind, without addressing the truth of any of it. Like dogs forever chasing their tails. A sad lot, to be sure.

As meherim, rax is pure. There is no mis-taking of mental objects. The mental object is the rax. There is no sense source to it, no shadow. Of course, we have evolved various overlaying and underlaying techniques, but this is splitting hairs: the projection of rax to enhance a sensory object, or to improve a person’s sensory matrix, is not relevant. There is no con-fusion: there is rax, and there is sensory-sourced objects. Admittedly the meherim have evolved a high fidelity service to royal houses; to service lords and ladies, princes and princesses, with fanciful treats to delight their senses, and indeed even the grand schemes of the Pharohim to build a city in the sky may be considered of the same fantastic ilk. Our deeper purpose remains central: conscious union, manifest fully in the holy union with — and of —  Machus. Our awareness is but worm-like to His Consciousness which is to come.

A final note to aid us in our journey together: I am well aware of the multiplicity of worlds, that we exist in one of many, and that in this universe of worlds there is a special place of the Onen or Onus. This is not my realm of expertise, and would heartily recogmend the Tricord Volume for further eludication of this rich contextualisation of our own social fabric within a greater tapestry. I only mention this to acknowledge that I am aware of the Onen amongst us, and that our awareness and acknowledgement is all that is required at this stage.

With this being said, and in danger of belabouring what is no doubt already known, what is laid down to follow is a summary of the current state of play regarding the Empire of Urb, the Pharohim and the rising of what is now known as Orx in the west; meherim practices in its diversity and potential future course over this next critical period in human history; and some more abstruse discussion on the ancients which may or may not be related to the aforementioned Onen. I will pick out a few threads which deserve attention, and invite active fellows to pursue, address, and highlight threads and social patches of this period which may bring greater elucidation of our immanent future, people and events which may lead directly or indirectly to the acceleration or deceleration of the apotheosis of our purpose.

May those who pass this way constitute a blessing to the thought-being-action of Machus, Who may in turn bless all who pass here.

1 Beacon

The sparrow fluttered rapidly and rose, then swooped, fluttered and swooped, winging its lonely way across the blue sky. The canopy of the trees below, the mounded green variation, textured by the different type of leaf.

As the sun rose and fell, the bird flew on, the forest tips now a dark green sea of pine, the undulation of the land breaking out as an exposed cliff edge, the veins of rivers and streams passing below. Alert to shifting shadows, the danger of a bird of prey from above, so the little sparrow fluttered and swooped, its heart racing.

Finally, ahead, a grey stick rising from the green sea of pine, soon a column of stone rising from the forest, over a lacuna shadow cast from an escarpment, swooping into the valley, then rising towards the column of stone, clean, grey, immense.

Alighting on it top, the sparrow hopped once, grew double in size, twice doubling again, the barbs of its feathers merging, another hop, doubled, legs thickening beak rescinding. By its sixth hop, it had fazed into a grown man, robed in grey a staff in his hands, bald with a self-seal on the back of his head, breathing hard. He felt dizy and bowed, placing his hands on his knees, felt his stomach churn. He was far away, in truth, but the transition felt gut-real.

He breathed deeply and looked about him, over the edge at the forest below, the trees thick with shadow, a black shadow hugging the rim of cliffs all the way around the valley not just below the low hanging sun in the east. He felt his chest tighten. He stood above the Valley of the Dead, a place filled with dread. To the south, a notch cut into the cliff, the Unseen Caves. Once the sun set, all manner of fearful things would spew forth from that hole, and this valley would overbrim. He would not survive up here, high on Angel’s Pier. Survival was not his objective. But still he had to work quickly.

He scouted around the surface, uneaven and rivened, only the most hardy of mosses growing in the cracks. He found two pockets in the stone, the third he had to scrape away moss and grains of stone. From his pouch he took three garsu gems, placing one in each pit. It was acting proxy to the crystals he had many miles to the east. Coach House was as close as he could manage, any further and he would be risking further encounters with more powerful rax. Soon, it would be overrun. The darkness was rising, it would soon fill the entire Hope Valley.

He acknowledged the effect on his mind, and he took a moment to push the dark thoughts aside. He stood in the centre of the triangle of garsu crystals and lifted his staff, the garsu embedded in it. He judged the distance between the crystals to be about equal, and then held a fifth crystal at his sternum. He closed his eyes and concentrated his mind.

His mind’s eye observed the pure form of the tetrahedron he was forming with the three crystals in the rock and the fourth crystal in his staff held above his head. He brought the staff lower until the distances were perfect. Detaching a second attention, he focussed on the crystal he held at his sternum, lifting it until it was within the centre of the tertrahedron. He held both in his mind, the centre, the four corners of the tetrahedron. While keeping his primary attention in this state of duality, he performed the required spiritual formula and slowly his secondary attention softened, grew, became aware of his position on the surface of Angel’s Pier, the sky around him, softly permeating the rock below, and careful not to lose his mental balance, he detected it within the rock. Placed there by an unseen hand, hundreds if not thousands of years ago, before history began, a garsu crystal the size of an egg. He performed another formula, repeatedly, incanting with his inner voice, and like an overtone inducted a secondary calculation. The two harmonised.

It was no longer an image in his mind, the crystals reflected his psychic shape, the triangulation simultaneously expanded and shrunk, and attuned his consciousness to an intense spiritual frequency. The centre, the corners, as one. We conscious intent, he inverted it, the corners the centre, and he entered into the eye.

Within the mental reflection of words, thoughts range to deep unwordable belief. Between thought and belief, the turmoil of personality through time. Once stabilised, higher harmonics of spirit were enabled, continuously, momenting. And what he had performed upon himself, was his own annihilation. Despite the proxy of rax garsu, the power of his mind amplified by the garsu crystals were sufficient to activate the garsu crystal embedded in the rock.

 The beacon that was known as Angel’s Pier, or Gordia’s Gateway or other names, was lit.

Here, in the deepening darkness of the Valley of the Dead, the light of hope. A beacon for consciousness.

Far away, in another world, deep in the blood and bone which gave rise to boiling thought, a thought for what could be. Triangulation was required, to bring to attention that which can not be put to word, and yet can be acted upon. The thought, right here and now, of a stable shape of psycho-social dynamic: where the thought-form is stable enough to act upon, and in the collective of these actions, a stable social-form emerges, concurrently. The fractal seed of which is tetrahedral, composed not of crystals, nor molecules of water, but psychic and social complementarity. One gives rise to each other.

The beacon is lit. The servant who gave themselves to this task, is spent. They no longer exist. They pass unknown. As rax atop Angel’s Pier, there are no remains, for they were not there. Their presence was borrowed. Carried there by the lightness of feathered words, the weave and warp of barbed letters, the algebra of meaning.

0c Observers

“We are gathered here because we share an acknowledgment of the Observers. Whatever we think of them, or indeed whatever we call them, there is a baseline acknowledgment of their existence.

“We are not here to agree on a definition, or a term. We must be careful with any language forms because of the biases which they impress upon our intended meaning. Let us be warey before the words calcify our living sensitivity, before words become litany, fresh thoughts become canon, and our future selves and those not know to us yet find themselves imprisoned by our misrepresentations.

“Or indeed any representation. Any re-presentation is to be handled lightly. We must use words, and images, and the like, but only as reflections, to improve our ability to perceive and engage and witness and resonate with, the Observers.

“The Observers may return here as many times as they wish, or return to the origin or the end as they wish.”

They stood in silence, huddled around a candle, the world dark around them, their shadows thin as ghosts against the rosy candlelight cast on the plaster walls, wooden beams and leadglass windows.

“It goes without saying they are present now.

“One is present.

“One as the only ever possible.

“One as the many, those who were, and those yet to be, each in their time here and now.

“Returning here as many times as they wish.”

They spoke in turns. One phrase or sentence at a time. A pause, and continued by themselves or another. It was not important who was doing the speaking. It was the listening which was important, and at any instant the listeners outnumbered the talker.

“As each of us talks, so the others listen.

“And in our listening well, we may increase in number without restriction.

“Listening. Just as the Observers are listening, watching, thinking, breathing.

“What may be said that brings us to shared attention?

“The troubles we individually face? No.

“The troubles we face collectively? Not just us here, but the Observers.

“What do we share that the Observers share in their world, of which we are but a small part?”

Silence brought them closer.

“Of the Observers there is an original, just as the talker gives voice.

“The original is not important just as the talker is not important.

“Everything is given for our mutual benefit, as service.

“And to what end?

“We have differences as to what we serve. Some of us God, others country, others work. Is this the same with the Observers?

“Can we be of service to the Observers? While maintaining what is needed here to maintain ourselves as individuals, what more we do, is in service to the Observers.

“And what purpose do the Observers possess?

“Our guesses conflate and collapse back to our own objectives. How can we discern the purpose of the Observers?

“Unless the Observers face problems themselves, that they can not resolve in their world. Which is why they are here, following us.

“For them to follow us, they must have sufficient to maintain their own personal needs.

“All Observers?

“All Observers who witness this. But perhaps there are Observers who are not capable of joining us here, just as a homeless person can not attend the royal court. They do not possess the particulars, the privileges.

“Is our objective to unify the Observers? Such that there is no homeless amongst them? Everyone has the capacity to witness us, here and now.”

They stood contemplating, the flickering of the candlelight between them. A single candle. One flame. One flame pushing back the darkness. One flame bringing edges to the furniture, surface to their clothes, expression to their shrouded faces. Their quiet wording like a lone flame between them, bringing voice to their intent, shape to their personality, and form to their future.

“There is a mirror. It has many faces. Like tiles of a mosaic. Each tile mirror reflects an individual’s mind. And the mosaic mirror embodies the collective reflection.

“The Observers brings the world which they live in, in reflection to the tile-mirror we present.

“We present multiple mirror-tiles. Into each, the Observers looks. And some reflections they like, others they don’t. Some match their world, others don’t.

“It is not the mirror which is accurate, it is their looking in the mirror. A combination of how the tile operates, and how the mind of the one looking operates.

“A compound mirror.”

They were hovering around the construction of something like a compound eye, but instead of a physical eye, like the compound eye of a dragonfly, a psychic all-seeing mind’s eye. Like the operational psyche which created primary attention, the ability to focus on things not seen, on memories of events past, or images of events yet to be. Just not of one person.

“There is such a mirror. I have heard of it. It exists in this world, but in a city far from here. It exists in multiple worlds at the same time. And it has a strange property. Once touched, it resets all the worlds to that world.”

There was silence. Waiting. The speaker continued.

“Once touched, as soon as the finger is removed from the surface of the mirror, all worlds become the same. As the person in one world decides to return home, in another world they decide to go for a walk. Or some event befalls them. The one world separates into these multiple worlds. In some worlds, the person dies, through accident or perhaps because they take the risk of performing some difficult task. They see someone getting mugged and intervene, in another world they pass by. And in the world which they intervene, in one world they successfully protect the victim, in another they fail and the victim dies, and in another they die themselves. All these different worlds multiply.”

The image was difficult to stabilise, for the speaker, but on listening it was easier. Freed from the effort of putting thought to word, the listener could apply all their ability to allow these worlds to multiply in their mind, wordlessly.

“And at the end of the day, they would return to the mirror. If any of them touched the mirror, all would reset to that world. So, in the worlds they died and did not return to the mirror, those worlds would be lost as all worlds would reset to the single touched world.

“Making it almost impossible for the person to die. For only those who survived that day could touch the mirror.

“And the question facing each of them — standing before the mirror and knowing all the other versions of themselves standing before the same mirror — who amongst them should touch the mirror?

“The person who had decided to go for a walk, or return home? The person who saw the mugging and intervened? The person who intervened and saved the victim and they themselves were unhurt. This one?

“But what if there was another person who saved the victim as well as disarmed the attacker, and did more? Took them to a foodhall, bought them a meal, listened to their story and decided to help that mugger overcome the poverty which had instigated that mugging. If the person who touched the mirror who had only saved the victim and not the transgressor, this world of even greater success would be lost.”

They stood and pondered. It was a difficult one. Faced with such a mirror what would they do? How would it reflect their lives? What had they done that day that deserved they touch the mirror? If they had this mirror, what would they have done differently that day? Would it make them more courageous?

“It would be essential to have a means of communication between versions, so they could decide who was best placed to touch the mirror.

“Discussion….”

That one word was enough warning for them all to avoid that path. Discussion was noisy, full of submerged conflict which could easily erupt into open heated debate, argument and escalation of wills. Their route was listening, silence, acknowledging the truth of each other, and being sensitive to difference, cultivating a diverse ecology while recognising similarity. A union of differences.

Each was left to their own devices, making their own decision.

“Submitting what their own result was. And upon hearing another, acknowledging the priority of the other.

“The removal of their submission.

“Submission. To submit. Two meanings. One is passive, the other active, in my mind. To acknowledge the power of another, submission. To propose for another with power to decide, to submit.

“The temporal aspect of this requires examination.”

They were moved to silence. One thought that they each faced their own internal mirror. They took a journey in their minds and returned. Was their journey worthy enough to be shared? Should they submit it? Or withdraw it? They chuckled to themself.

“If we were faced with such a mirror, we shared the same mirror, how would we determine who should choose to touch the mirror? Let’s say one of us does not arrive here before the mirror. Perhaps they have been killed. So by touching the mirror….

“We can not touch the mirror if one of us is not present. They have taken a risk and failed, so we must share that failure. We must wait for those in another world where all of us return.

“So, we must revoke our world from those to be chosen from? Submit to the worlds of others for they are in a better position than ourselves.

“Leaving only those worlds where we are all present.

“And of these present worlds, how do we decide amongst ourselves which world should we all reset to? We are faced with the same question.”

They stood ahead of their shadows, the candlelight between them. The light of their souls shone, and drew light from their companions. 

“Upon hearing one of us talk about their achievement of the day, I would compare it to my own and decide whether to remain silent or submit my own. Promote my own.

“Listening may be done in parallel. If we each submitted our own, it would soon become unworkable. With a thousand of us, we would spend the entire day sharing and not doing anything.”

There was amusement within them. They all knew this was the way of the world. So much sharing, so much gifting, not enough listening. The feeling passed. The candle continued to burn, the limit of time was set as always on the length of the candle, just as the limit of daylight was set by the sun.

“Depends on who speaks first.”

Waiting filled the dark room.

“Once a group becomes practiced, know each other well enough, trust one another sufficiently, that they can regularly evoke the occurence that the first person to talk happens to be the one who touches the mirror. Such a group may grow.

“If a second or third person is required to talk, and a second or third submission is accepted, there is still work to be done.

“Reflections are required to ensure that events are not harboured which should be submitted, voiced, for others to evaluate and compare.

“As a matter of record which can be reviewed by one or other of us.

“Not in the medium of standing before the mirror. Such reflections can be conducted by one or other of us, and shared before standing before the mirror.

“Sitting, perhaps?

“I have heard of this practice. Our ancestors. The reason why we stand.”

They considered in silence. They knew why they had decided on standing in their meeting. A rather crude reason. Sitting was too comfortable, too easy to rest, spirits flag, like the wind of the day gone, they would go limp and sleep. Standing forced an alertness. And they were all strong enough to be able to stand for the duration of a candle’s burning. What was being suggested was that there was a deeper reason to standing, and they contemplated the truth of it now.

“With such a mirror present, we might sit beforehand, and those who wish to be active may do so, to remind others of the brightness of their day which they neglected to present at a previous meeting.

“Or to reflect on our own evaluations, requesting others touch the mirror because we ourselves know in reflection that our submission which was used to touch the mirror was inferior, and discounted the greater truth of others who chose to remain silent.

“We face a dilemma similar to the individual before the mirror. How do we know what the others have experienced? Once we touch the mirror, all the histories of other worlds are gone too. The only history of alternatives are those of the reset world. 

“The trail of history bypasses all those which were not chosen, like a single stem headed by a bud, and all the flower buds unblossomed along its length. The only living bud is that which leads. It may grow in any direction as we face the mirror, but only one of us touches the mirror.

“If there was only one world each, this is manageable. But so doing, we lose the multiple world privilege, and we must choose between those present or else those who are not present are lost to us forever.”

They reflected on the situation. It was still challenging to get lost in the maze even when their mirrors were kept to a minimum. Their alignment and continuity and resonance was strong, but it was easy to lose track. Their only real tool, silence.

“If this is challenging to us, here and now, then it may be too challenging for the Observers.

“We must have faith that our explorations are moving things forward. That at least our skills improve.

“We need results, for as the candle burns down, so another day comes to an end.

“Civilisation continues full tilt to the fall. The cities swell, the earth whithers and dies.

“Words multiply. I will apply greater discipline.”

The candle was almost spent. Around the remains of the wick, a pool of wax. It spat once then was snuffed out by the melted wax. No smoke of an extinguished candle. An immediate switch from a lit room to a dark room. They stood still in the pitch darkness, before the sensitivity of their eyes could trace the faint outlines of the furniture silvered in the moonlight from the window. Navigating the still shadows, they left the room.

1c Leaf

The ancient and venerable sage Tsiplo bowed his head to bring him closer to what he held delicately in his hand: a small three-symmetry leaf. Vibrant living green, rough rounded edges, a fine fur on the underside, a texture much like skin on the surface, the whole thing spanning little more than the width of his finger, the stalk held between his fore finger and middle finger, curling down to branches leading to identical leaves, down to the rich soil, rooted into and off the land.

His eyesight was on the decline, and he had to whisper a few words to bring the leaf into tight focus. It was not that he was overlaying the plant with his own projection, which was only so good as to recall his mind’s eye version of the plant — hardly useful if his intention was to see the condition of this particular leaf and plant right here and now. He had worked out a way of transposing his sensory input by imagining an image further away, and then bringing his mind-focus to his secondary attention. He wasn’t correctly looking at the leaf itself, but was observing it obliquely. Not ideal, but the method allowed him to sense this leaf right here and now in his hands, albiet with a slight diminishing of chroma.

Colour was so important, however. Compensating for the deterioration that accompanied age was a pain, literally. Yes, many spiritual gifts as a result, patience, temperance, perseverance, pruning of priorities, and enough failures to flesh out a world of what could be, granting an open-mindedness of which he was particularly appreciative. Loosely held convictions, a plasticity of mind that was almost entirely unbounded, freed from the articulated restrictions of physical limits and laws. A union, let’s say, of mind. Such that this little leaf he held in his hands, was part of this little plant, held within the soil, which also held these other herbed plants, roots knitting with each others, the fungus and molds, the roots of the nearby oak whose shadow he was under. Rightly speaking, it was he who was held. Rightly speaking, there was a complicity in the flowers and bees, and this garden and himself, the innumerable invisible workings of cells — yes he knew about cells — around him, of which he was composed, and more importantly the network of processes enabling the flows of water, sugars, light, and life energies. An undifferentiated union, but for the thinnest of distinctions for which he retained a sense of self, seldom used. Yes, he would get lost on numerous occasions, forgetting to feed himself, sleep, and urination and defecation sometimes came as a surprise to him. A side-effect he was not overly concerned about for he lived mostly outdoors, secluded in the forest. As nothing compared to the strict exercises he had imposed upon himself in his youth, but that’s of another time and place, to draw attention for another purpose.

This leaf in his hands, delicate, precise, exact in its own way. The solid thing he could hold, the leaf. It was like a little hand, a hand of this child, or a baby’s. And as everyone knows, holding a baby’s hand is not a passive thing even when asleep, it tightens and relaxes, and when awake perpetually active. Alive with something more than the solidity of it. Alive with curiosity, exploration, within itself as a hand touching and feeling, but as part of something larger, with its higher level volition and intention. Of course, this plant didn’t have the same sentience as a human, not even a baby’s, but a mind-enclosed by its physical boundaries existed, of a form. With that thin boundary of mind, so it colluded more closely with the bees for pollination, its growth in the soil right here for its uptake of sunlight from above and water from below, along side other such thinly-minded creatures. Like individual fingers of a hand, perhaps, or cells in skin?

Whatever the physical boundaries of this leaf, of this plant, there was something of overlapping unities, the mathematics of which the old man had come to terms with long ago. And drawing attention to this small thing, here, in his mind’s eye, was not for the benefit of the leaf, nor the plant. Not directly, as such. But, as thinly minded as this leaf and plant were, for the care of its own continued growth, so there was an overlapping of mind with the old man, again with the care of its own continued growth. An expansion of mind, perhaps, though the old man was duly wary of that.

He let go the plant, which sprung out of his hand to regain its natural upright nature, leaf to the sky, gently lifted by the wind, tickled sometimes. A joyful plant. Certainly sweet tasting, a faint citrus flavour to it. Good for nails, hair and joints. But it was not as… vibrant… as it was. There was definitely a malaise to the growth of the plants, not just this one. The more delicate ones, perhaps the most sensitive, were showing it more. Smaller, weaker, one generation following the next. For years now. And this one, at this time of year, should have been a few fingers longer, with more branches sprouting from the bulb. Not this year. It was getting close to a threshold, where it would become visible in the richer cultivated grasses. Lower crop yields perhaps as soon as next year. What he had known was coming for years, was now immanent. Not a shadow, but a sickness. A fever was soon to break, a fever they may not survive.

He sighed as he raised himself, looked up at the sky, a thin dusting of white clouds, distant, so distant. It was going to take a while, beyond the years he knew he had left in him. The leaves on the oak tree would dry, turn brown, fall, and not grow again.

Of course, they would come. Perhaps only a few, perhaps many. He would be ready for them. Not today. Not here and now. He was too… demanding… Not him, per se. The task before us was too demanding. He’d have to break it to them a little at a time. Set them intermediary tasks which they could comprehend, quests which would prove their conviction while equip them with the skills to… not achieve, but at least grow together. It was the last journey he might take, and despite his passing, there may be others to see it through, to arrive at the destination he could not see, not with all the garsu crystal at his disposal, not even the heartstone. The thought passed as quickly as it came.

It was not quantity, that was for sure. Quality. A quality of mind, thin-minded like the leaf, like the hand of a baby. The social equivalent of this network of roots beneath his feet, whatever the delights were above ground. At this very moment, or correctly speaking, preceding it. Following the follower…

So the old and venerable sage Tsiplo smiled to himself, for we are each but leaves, and there was some comfort in knowing this.