Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Fresh air

The air always smells cleaner and fresher after a good hard storm. You can see farther and there is a sense of renewed hope that goes with such unbridled natural displays. The problem is that more often than not such powerful storms destroy everything in their path, forcing us to rebuild and reinvent our lives, ourselves and our homes.

Troy was once a powerful city that stood for centuries unconquered by many civilizations and armies until they were tricked into taking a wooden horse through the guarded gates and into the heart of their protected city. They were destroyed from within, giving rise to the warning about Trojan horses and the inherent devastation they contained.

We always fail to look the gift horse in the mouth and take what is pleasing and even ragged to our hearts and into our homes because it looks so innocent and needs our strength to help bring them inside. That is not to say that all wooden horses -- or seeming victims -- contain the death of our lives and the devastation of our hopes, dreams and generosity, but more often than not...

Troy was restored many times. Victim of earthquakes and nature's worst, Troy rose ever grander and higher and more beautiful each time it was knocked down. The Greeks made sure Troy would never rise again. The terrible storm that gripped Troy in its screaming, heaving wake would not allow the city to rise like a phoenix from the ashes an eighth time to mock their victory over the once formidable opponent. The Greeks sowed the fields with salt, enslaved the women and children and killed the warriors, leaving none to tell the tale. Yet the tale survives even today.

When all seems lost and destroyed, as long as there is an ear to hear the forbidden whispers of long lost grandeur and a tongue left to tell the tale. Even when the fields are sown with salt eventually the lashing rains and bitter winds will leech the salt from the earth and flowers will bloom again.

A friend told me once that the only way to keep a secret is never to tell anyone. When you tell one person, no matter how long it takes, the secret will leak out and the world will know what was hidden. People are social animals and they need the contact of other people. They need to feel a connection to the past as well as the present, and curiosity is in their genes. Apathy unfortunately keeps most people locked in their dark cages, but there will always be one person, one curious individual unable to leave the past in silence. They will find a way to make a connection and bring the darkness into the light. It will always be so as long as there are humans on this or any other planet. Curiosity drives us to know the truth.

Even had no one survived to tell of Troy's grandeur, the victors would have trumped their tale of conquest of the unconquerable to increase the admiration of their peers and the fear of their enemies. One way or another, despite destroying Troy and stealing away all its assets and treasures, the tale of Troy's great and glorious past would live. And it did.

The tale of Troy's fall is a cautionary tale but it is also a tale of hope. Humans are resilient. No matter how many times you knock them down, bloody their noses, black their eyes and drag their names through the mud and blood, they will rebuild. They may carp about it, but they will rebuild.

No matter what storms and devastation are visited upon us, we, like Troy, will rise from the ashes and breathe the sweet fresh air of freedom and truth.

Count on it.

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