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The opening to Shaman – a work in progress. I hope you enjoy.


I can see it now. It’s a very small light, bright, the very beginning of the sun’s awakening. Standing in these trees, this stand of pine, at the edge, so nothing obscures my sight, I can smell the freshness of this new morning, my last, and best morning. A short distance in front of me there is a road. Even now I could throw a rock and hit it.

I am so much older now than I imagined at fifty. But I can still throw a rock. I can throw it far and straight. He did not take that. I am happy there are no cars, no traffic. There should not be at this hour, on this road. I will not be found for a while.

It will be the mailman. He will find me. I should apologize to him but that is not possible. I wonder if he will judge me. Maybe this has happened to him before. Surely I am not the only clever fellow who has seen the simplicity of this arrangement, a small community of custom homes down a long private road with their mail service beautifully arranged on the edge of the highway, a rock throw away, and the privacy afforded by this stand of pine.

The people from the custom homes who daily find their way into Santa Fe will be stirring soon, but they will not be looking into this stand of trees so familiar to their commute. They will not see me. It will be the mailman. He comes when the winter sun is mid-high into the morning sky. The sun will be at his back. The red cliffs that frame this canyon will be lit with fire, radiant with the captured spectrum. He will take a moment, as I have watched him do before, look to the beauty of the red cliffs, maybe he will stretch, and then his gaze will come down to see me, again, in the trees. I have been sure for over a month now to become a part of his morning. We nod acknowledgement, then he turns with a wave, back to his van. He will be the one to find me.

There is cold steel in the pocket of my jacket. It’s messy, but its easy, and also certain. No chance of a mistake. I don’t like the messy part, it will distress Anastasia. She will not understand. She will find a way to blame herself initially, but then she will know it was my fault, and she will hate me for doing this to her. If she could know the reality of hate, she might leave it, but she is too much the same as me. She has not yet learned about real hate, so she will continue to embrace it against injustice done her.

I wish I could tell her why I am here this morning, in this beautiful place hidden in the trees. If I could tell her she might find a way to stop the hate, at least for her. I have learned not to hate, but too late. My hate opened the terrible gates of hell. I know there is no hell. It is fiction. But there is hate, and hate has dimension. One of those dimensions is hell.

It is time. I must face the moment. The last moment. I know that he will not make this easy. He will want me to live, to rediscover my hate.

Despair, not hate, is my condition. Hope is truly gone. Yet I persist. If it is not hope that slows my hand, then surely it is fear. In the logical certainty of my absolute end I still have fear. I fear that hate does survive. Hate goes on. Once conjured it persists, grows, infecting everything. You can certainly end yourself, but your hate does not need you to survive. You have given it to many. It goes on.

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