5: Make the honey of illusion

by Jane Carnall

The sun is a fish, that swims in the sky. The moon is a round white whale that sends people dreams of being swallowed whole and living forever in the globular belly of the great fish. The earth is a green blob, spinning in space between two fish, crying silent screams that no one hears. Nothing is what it seems.

Snow burns you if you catch it in your bare hands. You can see people with tiny white blisters on their skin: they have caught too many flakes and now they burn. Water dries you out if you lie in it too long: you grow wrinkled and floppy and dessicated like a plump prune, chewy and sweet with a tooth-breaking stone in the middle. All your bones centre on that one stone, the internal hardness that nothing will shatter except the spring.

Spring never comes. Within the world it is always unchanging summer or unchanging winter, each eternal: spring is an illusion born of our need for transition, as is autumn: seasons of honey and new song, dreamed by those who need that time to change. Summer never ends: it is always green, and dusty under the green, the sun burning down hotter with every flicker of its fins. Winter never ends: it is always white, and grey under the white, the sun cold and wavery in the endless sea of sky.

Splash away, winter sun: each drop that falls outwards from the sky becomes a star or a flower. If it falls towards the earth, each drop becomes one of the white and starry flowers that bloom in one unseen instant that might, if things were not as they are, be spring: but there is no time for spring. Still, even unseen flowers are flowers, and worth having: their nectar is robbed by the bees of infinity to make the honey of time. Time honey is sweet and dark and strong: it lies untasted in the space between the waxen cells in which the eternal queens sing and sleep away their years. Splash away: the drops that fall in the other direction, away from the earth, become the many-coloured stars that bloom forever in the realm where the bees of eternity make their impossible flights. The bees of eternity make the honey of illusion. No one can say what illusion honey is like: it is tasted by everyone who ever fell asleep and dreamed they were awake, a sticky flowing substance that seems to be the essence of fear, for those who fear: the essence of belief, for those who have faith: the essence of immortality, for those few who can hear the buzzing of infinity and eternity, the song of the forever queens in their golden cities built of wax.

I shall light candles of that wax, burning memories. Let me forget. Things are not as they seem: but neither am I, and who am I to stand against illusion and time? Burn candles, burn thought and memory, and everything will be exactly as it seems: the sun is a round ball of fire, the moon a round ball of rock: the earth is a mirror, and we are reflections in the mirror. There are no bees. This candle is my last illusion, and when it burns out I shall dwell no more in infinity or in eternity.

560 words

10th February 2000

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