The Blessed One
June 11, 2007
Messengers of the Blessed One rarely make appearances in the heaven these days. Elders in my clan like to speak of the time when His messengers roamed the heaven and the glory of the Blessed One baked the earth. Of course, not even the oldest elder can actually claim to have lived during the scorching time of the Blessed One. These stories are passed down from generation to generation, word by word, with the uttermost care on elders’ part to make sure that every sentence is permanently imprinted in and can be faithfully reproduced from pinhead-sized brains of us pupils.
Between this ice age and the last, it is taught, the heaven was teeming with divine excitations. All things bright and beautiful. All spirits great and small. All messengers wise and wonderful. The Blessed One made them all. And He set them in motion and commanded them to pace the heaven to and fro, as He Himself patrolled the half dome of the heaven in a circular motion from east to west, taking what seemed like eons to complete every trip, and burning the life out of even the tallest trees in heaven. Only the long and resilient roots kept these sword-like trees alive, drilling into the earth relentlessly, sucking the last drop of water from our earth, and sending our mortal ancestors burrowing further and further down in order to find comfort in the moisturizing dampness of the mud.
Nowadays the heaven is in a state of perpetual coldness. But we still can’t venture near the upper level of the earth. Not only is it too cold, it is also one notch too dry for our pathetically built, mortal bodies. They say that the meek should inherit the earth. I say amen; only the messengers are big and strong enough to survive in the harsh environment of the heaven. We mortals prefer to stay in our dark, damp earth where the temperature remains constant throughout our dismal, short lives. So long as we continue to confess our sins and to offer high praises for the Blessed One, giant messengers will not be sent down to stomp on earth, to collapse our tunnels, to dig up sword trees in a process they call lawn dethatching (whatever that means), and in general to wreck havoc in our otherwise peaceful earth.
It is rumored that the messengers call the ice age “winter”, in their heavenly tongue. Our elders have not yet come to an agreement on the exact interpretation of this heavenly word. It could be that “win” means ice and “ter” means age. But it could well be that the opposite interpretation is actually correct. They’ll be gathering at the First Council of Naysayers to vote on the one true reading of this heavenly word. May the Blessed One reveal the mysteries of His teachings to our elders.
Winter is but one of the topics of contention that keep our elders occupied, as they are too frail to engage in food acquisition or territory appropriation. Another long-standing disagreement involves the accounting of time and the correlations thereof between earthly and heavenly cycles. Naturally, we track earthly time by the number of eggs the Queens has laid. I was born at egg two million three hundred forty-five thousand six hundred seventy-eight of Queen IX for instance. That’s a mouthful, eh? But don’t worry. We are good at math, unlike other primitive insects.
What was I saying? Ah, right, the disagreement over heavenly cycles. It is obvious to any self-respecting termite that the motions of heavenly persons project profound influences on our earthly life. Just look at the messengers who show up above our world, about every ten thousand eggs, alone or in packs, with or without some companion cherubs. Giant messengers themselves don’t often stomp on us. But their cherubs can become really nasty, especially when these beats get too excited. They would call up foul rainstorms and flood our tunnels. So we track these heavenly events and our elders argue over how to best use these to forecast our immediate fortune, including but not limited to such things as where to find dead wood to chew, how to fight rival clans, etc.
But I shouldn’t badmouth our esteemed cherubs, lest I be smitten or burnt to a crisp by the Blessed One. Actually, the cherubs sometimes leave nice, dark brown mounds in their wake. If the stinking beetles don’t get to them first, we would often use the brown mounds as building material for shelter tubes. Let it be written that we are grateful to the Blessed One for the cherubs and their brown mounds.
Lately, some wise-ass workers with too much time, I mean, eggs on their legs started to spread toxic notions about how we, the only insect in earth endowed by the Blessed One with a soul, may have had a so-called “common ancestor” with the disgusting cockroaches, based on their so-called “research”. Yeah, the soulless, filthy cockroaches. Of all insects in earth, they couldn’t find a decent one to claim as their dim-witted ancestor. The cockroaches can’t even live “in” earth properly; they just crawl around all egg long mindlessly in the twilight zone between heaven and earth.
And this thing about the so-called “evolution” just sounds outright stupid. I don’t grok it. It’s too complicated. If it is too complicated, it must not be true. I can’t fathom how a cockroach buried in earth could possibly create a beautiful termitian tunneling system by random squiggling in a billion eggs, less how a wild cockroach could ever lay a termitian egg by some random stroke of luck. Surely the cockroach would have died of claustrophobia before half a dozen eggs rolled around. This strongly indicates that an intelligent being designed us, the termites. We know the designer is none other than the Blessed One, of course, because our traditions say so. And our traditions are always right, since they are words of the Blessed One as faithfully remembered by our race.
So, you see? Traditions we hold dear, and these make us termites special in His burning eye. The Blessed One cares about what we do and what we think. He never puts us through ordeals so tough that we cannot possibly manage. Just when we thought we were all going to starve to death or else eat the plump Queen alive, He would cause some rotten dead wood to appear in earth or have a messenger drop some heavenly, fibrous substances for us to chew on. Just when we thought we were dying of thirst, he would open the floodgate in heaven, or if he saw fit, as you might have guessed by now, send a companion cherub to relieve us.
Now, from egg to egg some termites do die of starvation or of thirst. But they’ve had it coming all along. It wouldn’t have happened if they had recited verses while slaving away in the tunnels, had refused unholy non-fibrous chow, and had refrained from sex unless they were born princes or princesses. The Blessed One is just and righteous. And He doles out consequences appropriate to each and every termite, according to His rules and His whims.
And He talks to me. Yeah, not many termites are endowed with such privilege. You gotta know how to connect random events around you, and disregard others which don’t fit the nice picture you are painting. Then you will discover that indeed He talks to you using all sorts of things that suit Him. And you know what, since you have been patient enough to listen to my rant for quite a few eggs, I’ll let you in on a little secret which He Himself revealed to me.
The Second Annexation is happening. Yes, all signs point to it, if you know where to look. It begins with the big tree.
Did I tell you about that big tree which shoots up from our world towards the heaven, the one which is thousand times bigger and taller than the sword trees? Elders tells us how our earth was cut away from the old earth at the beginning of the current ice age and packed into a ball at the bottom of that tall tree. Weird, non-messenger-like spirits flew by our earth for thousands of eggs. Then everything stopped flying. A patch of new earth appeared, and it surrounded and hugged our earth. This is known in our history as the Annexation of the Flying Promised Land. And this is the earth I was born in.
Guess what. I just noticed that parts of the promised land have been blocked off from our old earth by some smooth, unfamiliar, non-earth-like stuff. I think the Blessed One is preparing to cut lose the old promised land. I think we should start to cleanse ourselves and look forward to the Annexation of the Second Flying Promised Land.
Exciting, eh, isn’t it?
[Over the radio]
“Your reporter is standing in front of the famous Christmas Tree, overlooking the ice skating rink. A hundred-foot crane is preparing to lift the tree and transport it to New Jersey where it will be chopped up and turned into mulch. Sarah Smith reporting live from Rockefeller Center, New York”
By Fred Hsu, June 11, 2007