Sunday, November 20, 2011

Center of the Earth

PROMPT: Imagine that you know nothing about the center of the earth insofar as science is concerned. As such a person, what do you think is in there?


Maybe spirits don’t rise, maybe they sink—not to Hades or anything hot and miserable—but into some place pristine and preserved, protected by the weight of the earth. Maybe they are swimming below us, looking up, gliding through air like fish through water, diving and rising with the ebb and flow of ethically-driven desire. Maybe those spirits are looking up at us, laughing at our shortsightedness and self-absorption, waging bets on which creative genius will dig deep enough to discover the fountains of wisdom gurgling beneath.

Maybe the center of the earth is like a heartbeat, or even like a soul. Maybe the surface is merely skin, burned and abused by toxins. If we drill deep enough, perhaps we’ll find a whole expanse of land free from pollution and chemically conceived concoctions. Heck, there could even be a whole new solar system replete with a brand new sun and moon, and string of planets full of second-generation livers, livers who have learned enough to do better next time.

Maybe the center of the earth is squishy, saturated with a gazillion gallons of water--water that fills clear through to the other side. Maybe the ocean doesn’t have a bottom; maybe if we actually dug our way to China, it would involve more swimming than shoveling.

Maybe the center of the earth is jam packed with compassion. Each time she rumbles and cracks, maybe she is just leaking a little more of her heart, a humble effort to soften our edges. And maybe it's this compassion, more than anything else, that helps the plants grow, the mountains rise, the fruit ripen, and the blossoms burst free.

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