(And now, for something completely different.)

In the unseen world, the Powers keep their many mansions. Perhaps you have visited one while you sleep, or seated in meditation, or chanced there when you happened to strike the perfect balance across the boundary.

Perhaps you have visited this one.


The path up the bluff is a crevice of steep rockiness, a fracture that broke the cliff’s worn, red-gold face without destroying it. Pebbles roll down every so often, rattling rock against rock on their vanishing way into what is too broad and expansive to be called a gorge.

The plateau above is a vast emptiness, alone with the hugeness of the sky. The wind talks to itself among the rocks and occasional desert plants, and sends dust and sand dancing when it is bored. There is no light but the distant stars, but the desert seems almost to glow, or perhaps it needs no luminescence to be seen by the soul.

Creep to the edge, feel the places where the rocks may crumble with your hands. Sprawl out on your belly like a well-fed hunting dog if that is what you need to not fear the height and the fall. Look down.

There are lights in the valley. There are hundreds of tiny fires, sailing on the river, spinning on the currents, dancing, the tiny life of a lamp set afloat on the water, drifting, clumping together, spinning apart. They are so far away, but from here every one is visible, for a huge length of the river, the way continents are limned in the lights of cities when viewed from space.

Each fierce little light, fighting out a little space of its own. Each beloved light carving out its space, held so gently by the shadows, cradled in the darkness as if it is resting in the arms of a lover. Each doomed little light, with night mantled over it like a hawk over its prey.

Shine brightly.

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