Skin’s small voice was shouted down. The runner ran. But, skin is a rather omnipresent organ whose chief function is embrace. It owns the treasure of touch and cuts through all domains and principalities, covering all alike. A notice hit its network.
As the message was sent by synapse to every molecule, the atoms changed. They did their seven-year recycle all at once. But, this renewal was a funny thing and totally undetected by the man. What happened was a sort of polarizing. some cells got leaden; some got light. Some heavy, some like helium. Strange goings-on inside, indeed.
One minute, it was there. The next, it wasn’t. The earth, I mean. He swore it was under his feet on that last step, but now, he floundered wildly in dark air, pumping legs like bicycle pedals. His arms flapped nothingness. He tried to swim in nothing. This wasn’t fair! There WAS a chasm! There should have been a sign, a fence, a warning! He was MAN! How dare they do this to him?
Far, far down below, a roaring river and pictured rapids. There would be crocodiles and snakes and dragons, too, perhaps. A bat flew at his head. Vultures wheeled hungrily, sizing up the meal. The night wind howled as storm came on with fury.
Tasting fear, his legs abandoned rivalry and stretched in hurdler stride. His arms and hands took up the cue and found a leaper’s stance. Dry bone digits stopped their endless clacking and took their places aerodynamically at the end of limbs. The ears popped their stuffing out and eyes opened wide to catch a fleeting clue of survival.
Only Skin was calm, though sweating profusely, ridding itself of toxic bile. Tears welled out of ducts, long dry, and calls went forth for something… Mother! Father! God! Anything! Some Rescuer…to save the situation.
Since just before the chasm, the skin had been extremely busy. Starting with a point above the heart, the transformation sped and spread from point to point, until at the moment when earth ceased to relate in any meaningful way to the suddenly-airborne runner, most of the body had been, at least thinly, covered with the blue-green algae of belief. With penetrating force, knowledge went deep, taking root in bone and marrow.
Now, man was half and half. Fortunately for him, it didn’t work out that his left side was old and his right side was new. No, it wasn’t that way, at all. It was that every other cell or so was different than it had been before the bastinado. The very breaths expelled by these small pockets of life was rarefied. Minutia coalesced with good intentions. Thoughts formed words and words formed prayers; and deeds made puffs of worship.
Loft was bought on puffs of prayer. His arcing fall arrested, man wobbled over the mile-deep cut; sensing black canyon walls, straight and sheer, no-nonsense, no forgiving. It wasn’t all that wide…this canyon. But he had come unprepared for leaping. Untrained, with a soft, indulgent body; unfit for mountain climbing, or mountain-falling, for that matter.
He couldn’t bully anybody. He should have listened to the Sage, especially this last time. What was it that He said? How did He say to do it? If only he had paid attention. Meanwhile, skin consulted its tattoo; marshaled troops autonomicaly; sent blood to the extremities, gave instructions, comfort, and commands.
“One righteous work, performed in THIS day, equalleth all the virtuous acts, which for myriads of centuries, men have practiced…”
(To be continued…)