Return to paradise

The United States is building a wall on its border with Mexico to restrict immigration from the south; the Israelis are creating a “security barrier” to keep out suicide bombers; India is walling off Kashmir and Bangladesh; the Saudis have announced two walls, one to keep the conflict in Iraq from overflowing into their country; China wants to get back into the act of building walls to seal off North Korea; Russia is thinking about walling off Chechnya; and the oil-rich United Arab Emirates has decided to put up a barrier along its border with dirt-poor Oman, reports Mark Ehrman.
The Christian Century, “Century marks,” May 15, 2007.

The sky fell during the night without making a sound. A few late drunks might’ve wondered why going home seemed harder than usual, as if they were wading through snowdrifts. The bats might’ve wondered at the sudden congestion in their airspace. But the sky fell largely unnoticed, and the pieces found each other on the ground due to the same excess of gravity — or lack of levity — that had precipitated their fall. Being sky, they tended to collect in open places: along ridgelines, river banks, and DMZs, sliding together and turning until they locked into place.

We awoke to find that the sky had turned into the most vulgar sort of mystery, a puzzle with only one solution. The ancient Hermetic projection — “as above, so below” — had finally come true, and shepherds of every faith were triumphant. Clearly, it was in the natural order of things that we should live encompassed by strong, parental arms. “A mighty fortress” and all that. Only the weakest members of the herd died in the panicked rush for shelter from the new featureless hole that yawned above.
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See the etymology of “paradise” here.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

8 Comments


  1. Delightful, if anything delightful can be said about these walls and the concepts that “lock into place” as walls. Especially delightful:

    . . . the pieces found each other on the ground due to the same excess of gravity — or lack of levity — that had precipitated their fall.

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  2. So, according to this etymology, when the wall between US and Canada is finally built as planned, US can truly be paradise?!

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  3. Dave, it’s always great to read your thoughts, and the way you manage to turn things upside down.

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  4. I didn’t quite mean it that way as I was referring to the etymological definition! But I’m sad to say this paradise in Canada is under threat by similar forces as in the US.

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  5. Recently, it seems that there are plenty of bits of sky falling everywhere you look. And an aye to what Gina Marie and marja-leena have written.

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  6. We need to take a satellite photo of the Great Labyrinth that is being built. Just wait, soon everyone will have to carry string with them wherever they go so they don’t get lost!

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