Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Visible Sand, Invisible Granite

"Master, come quickly!"
The morning was pleasant. A few wisps of fog carried far, whispering of the sea. Golden light on the old land. I'd stopped, even though it was early, in accordance with the old principle that you're never lost with a full water bottle.
"Yes? What is it?"
"My house, master! Oh, please come."
"All right." I dipped up another bucket of water from the roadside well, filled the bottle, put the bucket back and then stood up. "What seems to be the problem?"
The man led me away, around a curve in the road. "I took your advice, sir. 'Build on solid rock,' you said. 'Don't build on sand or it will be washed away.' That's just what I did. Now, look!"

Ahead I saw a small, neat house. It was built upon a well laid stone foundation. "Good craftsmanship," I said.
"But, Sir, don't you see?"
I hid a smile. "Of course, I see. I see a solid hillside, and three courses of dressed stone, and then your house. Beyond I see an olive orchard, and some more hills..."
"But... There's nothing there!" The man wailed, very distraught.
"What do you mean? The house is there."
"But underneath! I built on rock, and when I came here today all I see is daylight under there!"
"The house is still there."
"Yes, but..."
"Have you gone inside?"
"Are you cra... oh, sorry, Lord. Ah... no."
"Go on inside. I'll wait."

The man walks to the doorway. Looks under the house. Looks at his feet. Looks inside, where morning sunlight is marking the new wooden floor. Sawdust and shavings remain in the corners. Gingerly he sets a foot on the threshold and then, closing his eyes, steps up. He walks into the house. After a time, I join him.

"See? Nothing to worry about. Solid as a rock. Good builders."
"Well, yes, you'd know carpentry. But..."
I jumped up and landed with a thud. Again, and again. "Come on, man. Quit telling yourself what is real, and believe what's here. I will never deceive you. Yes, I know carpentry but I also know foundations and cornerstones." I jumped again. "Enjoy it. It's well made."
"But... it's not there."
"You don't see it. You have other senses, though."

He does a little bunny-hop, tentatively, ready to crash. Nothing happens. The house remains foursquare and level. I looked around. "It's a nice house."

I looked out the window. The tendrils of fog had turned into clouds.
"Looks like a storm coming."
"At this time of year?"
"Again... what do you see?"
He went to the door. "I'm ruined!"

The clouds rapidly built. Lightning stabbed the hilltop, and thunder echoed. Wind drove a cloud of dust and then the rain arrived. The man was crestfallen.
"All that work..."
Rain fell in buckets. It was a great storm. The house didn't move. Wind and lightning passed on, typical fast-moving spring squall.
"You can open your eyes now.

"We're still here."
"Yep. Seeing isn't always believing."

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