Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Licking Frost and Eating Moss

Yes, it's a hill, painted by Vincent, but for now we'll pretend it's a mountain. Here's why: while reading the novel, After Dark, by Haruki Murakami, I came across an interesting story told by one of the characters. Here's the abridged version:

Three brothers went out fishing; there was a big storm and they were washed up on an uninhabited island in Hawaii. It was a beautiful island with coconuts growing and tons of fruit on the trees, and a big high mountain in the middle.

The night they arrived, a god appeared in their dreams and said, "A little farther down the shore you will find three big, round boulders. I want each of you to push his boulder as far as he likes. The place you stop pushing your boulder is where you will live. The higher you go, the more of the world you will be able to see from your home. It's entirely up to you how far you want to push your boulder.

Now these were huge, heavy boulders and pushing them up an incline took enormous effort. Early on, the first brother quit. He said, "This place is good enough for me. It's close to the shore and I can catch fish. I don't mind if I can't see much of the world from here." The remaining two continued on. Halfway up the mountain the second brother quit. He said, "There's plenty of fruit here. It has everything I need to go on living. I don't mind if I can't see that much of the world from here.

The eldest brother kept going. The trail grew narrow and steep, but he did not quit. He had great powers of perseverance, and he wanted to see as much of the world as possible, so he kept rolling the boulder with all his might. He went on for months, hardly eating or drinking, until he had rolled his boulder to the very peak of the mountain. There he surveyed the world. Now he could see more of the world than anyone. This is where he would live - where no grass grew , where no birds flew. For water he could lick the ice and frost. For food, he could only gnaw on moss. But he had no regrets, because now he could look out over the whole world. And so, even today his great round boulder is perched on the peak of that mountain.

What is the meaning? If you really want to know something, you have to be willing to pay the price.
So, tell me, how far does a writer have to push his boulder?


At 7:27 PM , Anonymous Liz in Ink said...

'Til his feet have grown cold and his teeth have grown mossy? Oi...


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