Site icon Alexander Hammil

The Point is the Riddle

You have heard, perhaps, the parable of the bird named Eternity? This bird, like the Simurgh, like the Roc, like that Egyptian calendar called the Phoenix, lives forever; though, unlike those other, brighter birds, measures her life not by the paltry wheel of the sun, nor by the statelier march of the equinoxes, but by the dissolution of mountains, or one mountain in particular, at the far end of the world. For a thousand years Eternity flies to the mountain to polish her beak there; for a thousand years she flies back. There is no rest for those great wings. When she is arrived she departs; indeed one place is much like another to her, seen from above, a serene unrolling of the landscape. After how many thousands of years the mountain is worn down to a hill, to a boulder, to a rock, to a pebble, to sand, the plaything of the wind, scattered by the draft of Eternity’s wings. Behind the mountain is another mountain, larger, of sterner stuff made, and on this she sharpens her talons. It, too, will wear away, and the mountain behind it, and on and on, forever. When the last mountain is gone, Eternity will keep flying, perhaps, tirelessly, into new lands, a brighter world. Such is the hope.

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