Eternity stretches on. I can faintly see the sphinx smiling her soft rubbed rock face at me through waves of brown blown sand.
She says, "Keep going even when it seems time will end. We felt it would end at other times, too. In the middle of a plague of locusts, and in the time of famine we sensed the end so near. When firstborns across the land died -- Aiee!-- parents knew the end had come, and yet they -- we -- lived on, survived for another generation, and another, building more monuments.
"Armies swept across the plains on strange animals and many were killed but many more went on to found a new people. Armies crossed oceans and sent their particular plagues out over a new land. Not all died. Those who lived became stronger and their blood flourished after them. Mighty machines, conceived and built by armies of people, have crashed, or have ground to a halt, yet the builders live on, as their children's children. Explosions mark the ground and then their effects disappear under the grass that eventually grows after every scorching.
"Shock and awe come and go with each new set of ideas, of weapons, of desires. Still humans walk about on the earth making messes, sometimes cleaning them up, forging new tools and breaking or discarding them, birthing babies and burying them at whatever age. Still the sun shines down, the wind blows, water flows from rock to river as this force, this life persists.
"We write down our thoughts about all these movements, all this chaos and disorder and fearful presence, and we are soothed or moved to action: both in the writing and the sharing with others. Through these words, spoken, written or preserved in bursts of electronic energy, we survive the most horrible deadly, fearful, even evil events. Just as you look now at the vastness of desert stretched before you, the human race stands before an eternity of ideas not yet expressed, ideas waiting for the one unique individual who will combine symbols in such a way that the wind will shift or subside, the sun's brightness will grow or diminish, the wave will ebb or flow further. Such is the power of the ideas in your mind that come to expression.
"Express them. Develop your skill at expressing them. Use that power that is otherwise locked in your brain to diminish the power of the fear you feel when you perceive darkness and sense the end times. Those are false perceptions. You can dispel those appearances, because you and your words can dispel the causes of such appearances of evil."
The sphinx ends her speech, her stone face becoming immobile once again, sand blowing around nostril and chin and curve of haunches with no visible effect.
Appearances are deceptive; things are not what they seem -- with words she has dispelled the hovering clouds of worry, the images of darkness that threaten my soul. With words she has encouraged me to take pen in hand, to assemble powerpoint presentation, to post and blog, publish and just write, write, every day generating two pages and then more, more each day. So many anxious clouds to dispel, so many actions to urge, to argue, to stop or start by the power of the right words to the right audience at just the right time.
Truth seldom presents a clear face to us, but rather a face worn by the power of age, veiled by shifting sand, eroded by trickling water, baked by sun. Heed the sphinx's words.