Sun-bleached trees on a flattened lava field form the River Styx, or perhaps a dragon’s boneyard—a place of death and beauty and untamed imagination. Like in 1943’s Brooklyn, a tree grows here. We usually think such a place unlikely for birth, because the sun can bake the place like an oven, it is dry more often than wet, the winds are strong and constant, and it lacks fertile soil. But then there is no life without death; life always comes from death and death from life. Why not here? Why not exactly here?
As quickly as we fell a tree, birds and winds and shoes drop seeds of life from elsewhere to the barren lands. Life repopulates; life renews. Out on the flattened lava field, bobbing in the river of the fallen, that tree is alone. Not everything dropped there was that tree.
Miracle and nightmare are also destined partners. So are solitude and population. Ordinarily, our solitude is populated with inner voices and visions, tricks of the mind forking off in directions that only look new and alive but are branches of that dead river. But when it’s not, when the mind works itself out of itself, when we see through our tricks and longing, a real miracle of aloneness takes place. A true death without opposite, without partner, in which all life is.
When played out in thought, which is an invitation for fear to show up costumed as loneliness and despair, the circumstances of the tree’s life are an absolute terror. In understanding fear, and therefore the machinations of thought, the tree sees it is in a good place for aloneness, which is its own company.
In Truth, all of this is perfect.