Where Dwell You Through the Forest?

A metaphor to explain why belief in God, karma, or bad juju, is the ideal. 

Your neighborhood supermarket fired all their staff. A jar is left on the counter with a few Casio calculators nearby. The shelves are re-stocked every night when the streets are quiet. Every person in town has an appointment. Only one person shops for their groceries at a time.

You used to know the owner, he greeted you like a brother, but you haven’t seen him in four years. Now the aisles are quiet; still like a military roll call that yields to soundlessness when the general stops his footsteps.

embracing_one
‘Embracing One’          Susan Cohen Thompson

The secluded aura greets you at the entrance of a parking lot that is so obscure and untidy that you nearly forget under which consistency of branches and shrubs encloses the gateway. After each week, this untidiness becomes frustrating. As it happens, the peace and quiet you once enjoyed having the store all to yourself and the relief knowing you won’t stumble upon nonsensical interactions by chance, now becomes a source of stored animosity.

You have a question about a product and no one is there to answer it. The milk is spoiled and you can’t return it. The horribly situated appointment on Mondays at 5 PM means you have to lose time at the office. Now realizing this creates rumination over its exactly quantified monetary value that bleeds from your pocket and into the metal bucket on the counter.

The owner’s disappearance of sheer naiveté also speaks to his brazen disregard for your satisfaction. As your memory reprocesses the store owner’s greeting, sentiments sour and an erosion process begins. Instead of hearing a “how are ya?” the question is shoved into a grave and becomes resurrected with an idea instead of a natural man.

Possessions become less his when there’s no one there to claim it. Likewise, time pulls away guilt and stealing can become righteous. Emotions can allow vengeance to look like justice. In a metaphysical sense these hideous mutated plants grow like weeds and yet one will be deluded to think they’re somehow sanctified and beautiful.

The idea manifests like this: After all these years you have been the one losing. You pay the same prices for the product, and he doesn’t have overhead expenses to fairly justify maintaining the price tag as is. So you calculate in your head the wholesale price, throw him a bone with a dollar or two more, and throw the money in the jar. “So fairly precise,” you say aloud.

Maid-of-Farmland
Maid of Farmland                  Susan Cohen Thompson

The next week you calculate all the items you were dissatisfied with, for one reason or another, and realize that this adds up to hundreds of dollars. Angered, your hand recoils from your pocket, which has been violated for too long with the help of ungratified patience. You don’t punch numbers this time to calculate the total, and the clink of change does not echo as you disappear through the back entrance.

The store owner’s inventory shows discrepancy, which at first he ignores. Although at some point the inventory tells a compelling story of his town. His wallet whisks from his pocket, and then security cameras are installed watching your every move.  Perhaps this would add a little more logic to your logic. Certainly now you would be more precise with your calculations, and knowing your activity has been noticed, you will adapt accordingly in order to continue to call yourself an honest person.

Human-Nature
‘Tao of Human Nature’                       Susan Cohen Thompson

In reality, an entity is written with a code that can be reprogrammed unrecognizably in permissive environments, yet will believe it hasn’t changed. The truth of err will never occur to one without feeling eyes watching.

“Pray you, tread softly, that the blind mole may not” (Cymbeline, William Shakespeare)

Even the darkest black looks more grey under scrutiny. Especially when you can leave through the back door and through a prickly curtain backed by nature.

 

 

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