The Fox and The Eagle
But the point is that I told her we were two giants lying in a desert, and she asked what we were made of. I said silver stone, thinking granite, not wanting to say grey. She said why do you feel soft to me. I said we were soft only to each other, that every move we made took hundreds of years in the real world. She said they thought we were mountains. She said we had animals who lived in the mountains, like a fox and an eagle. They never met. He chased after her shadow like a puppy. The eagle knows she couldn’t catch the fox if she tried, and doesn’t. Once, the fox left a rabbit on a high ridge (her shoulder) for the eagle who was perched here (my eyebrow). The eagle takes it, but only to show she is grateful; she prefers to catch her own food.
Here, under your arm, is a giant, dark cave. There is a person in there, a monk, he has lived in the cave for hundreds of years, he is the only one who knows we are not mountains. There is a single point in the vast ceiling where water collects, bulges, stretches, snaps, collects, bulges…
The monk saw the first drop get lost in cracks of dry stone, saw the drops become a puddle, become a pond, become a great lake…
He did something terrible in his town. The woman’s family wanted to kill him, so he ran and hid in the cave. He watched the first drop get lost in the dry stone, he stood under the spot and the second drop landed on his tongue, and he was not thirsty any more.
The water was all he needed so he didn’t leave.
We rolled over. It was the middle of the night when the cracks in the cave appeared. No moon but full of stars, so bright for the monk, who’d lived in darkness for hundreds of years, that they burnt into his eyes. He was blinded – his eyes became two stars – and until he died he saw nothing but those brilliant clusters.
The next morning the sun shone on the empty lake, and by the evening it was full of fish and lilies and frogs and dragon flies.
The water was just water now, and the monk knew he had one year of life left. He travelled back to his town, now a giant city, and shuffled along busy streets until he was stopped by a woman. They drank coffee from paper cups and talked for many hours.
Now the fox drinks from the lake, and when he does he sees the eagle reflected in the sky.