DRIFT



The dunes are like ocean waves, perfectly regular crests as far as my eye can see. The capricious djinn of the desert have left curls in some of the peaks, little twists of sand that will not last. The grains run off these scallops like those of an hourglass. Each dune is moving to the west, one grain at a time. In a hundred lifetimes, the sand will have traveled the same distance that a man can walk in a day.

And yet, in a hundred lifetimes, the sand will still be here. The man who walked those few miles will not. Such is the nature of identity.

So, too, is the nature of God: everywhere and nowhere, everything and nothing. No-thing is not the lack of identity. It is the purest of identities, uncomplicated by dualities and personalities. It is perfectly defined, as it is the brief infinity before all energy, all thought, and all form came into being.

From no-thing came every thing—the sky, the clouds, the sand, the wind, the tiny flowers that bloom in the navel of these dunes, the flat lizards that dig themselves out of the sand at moonrise, the distant palm trees that ring the oasis of my exile, and the blood and bone that make up my body.

There are words in the sand. I do not know who has written them. Every morning, when I walk away from the palm trees with the sun rising over my right shoulder, I find the words snaking through the shadows of the dunes. They are never in the same place, and, some days, I spend most of the morning searching before I find them. On those days, the djinn have already started to blow them away.

I do not understand the words. They are expressions of an alien alchemy, filled with incomprehensible formulae and heretical discourse. At first, I thought they were being written by those responsible for my exile in an effort to extract a confession from me, but such thought is born of loneliness. No one knows where I am; no one knows the path to this desolate place.

No, I have finally recognized the hand that writes these words in the sand, though I have no memory of such work. Each day, I seek out the writing in the sand to rediscover what I have dreamt, to learn what I have forgotten upon waking.



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