28
Jul
14

The Art of Excess

 

On a milestone birthday in the depths of space, a budding artist (with a face full of bubbling, molten craters) opened her eyes and marveled at the new tools provided by her parents. The intense, singeing light of her father and the softer, enchanting glow of her mother came together to wish their daughter well in pursuit of happy growth and enhancement. Vowing to make them proud, the young orb took a deep breath and went to work.

Her early efforts produced a multitude of lifeforms both stationary and mobile. The former consistently worshipped her parents while the latter were free to experiment, giving all who watched a source of amusement. Father and mother were indeed pleased. Their smiles burst with a brilliant energy which could be seen from galaxies away.
“Go on, my child!” said the father. “Create more! It gives your mother and I such joy to see you paint your surface with these colors! One day you shall be the crown jewel of our domain!”

So, the child continued to create and age. But, every now and then, her father and mother would drift apart, leaving her in the cold of deep space to wonder if what she created was still worthy of praise. In a fit of sadness and frustration, she struck herself with a large rock, hoping to free some promising ideas from her already cracked skull. Instead, it erased her vision temporarily, wiping a large portion of the art from her surface. When her parents returned, a new motif had taken over their daughter.

“What’s this?!” gasped the father. “Such a drastic change! What has made you tear down what you already made and replace it with something new?!”

“Father, each time I turned around, you and Mother left me alone,” said the young artist with a sigh. “I did not feel your warmth at my back. I thought you no longer approved of my work.”

“Look how they behave differently when I draw closer in your father’s absence,” said Mother with her cheeks aglow as she separated from her mate. “You honor us with your talents, daughter. Go on. Continue creating. You are just beginning to grow.”

Despite her concern and flickering confidence, the artist did as she was told. Nothing she made gave her the joy she had seen in her parents’ faces. Again and again, she changed her canvas while expending her vital energy (which, at the time of her youth, seemed infinite), each time hoping the next visit of her parents would be happier than the last.

When they did return for her birthday, she had yet another surprise waiting for them. Gazing upon the new creation, Father blew flames to the far reaches of space and withdrew. His color paled from an ardent red-orange to a weaker yellow. “What in the great cosmos are those?! And, what are they doing to each other?!”

Tilting her head ever so slightly, his daughter said, “I have not decided what to call them, yet, as they keep changing on me. I am leaning toward naming them Humanity. What do you think, Mother?”

Though her mate was dismayed, mildly cross and tempted to scorch the young artist’s hide, Mother, impressed with the new lifeforms (which could adapt themselves more readily than any other), showed enthusiasm. “They are certainly unique and interactive.” She paused to look away when one fierce band of the fleshy rebels destroyed another, leaving a gruesome stain on the daughter’s cheek. Refraining from preaching about cleanliness, Mother added, “Keep at it, my child. But, do not be so hasty to destroy what you have made. Let it mature with you. You continue to grow in wisdom though experience. Some day, you will shine as bright as your mother or–maybe–your father.”

With those encouraging words, the still youthful artist returned to her labors, working with her latest creation to “enhance” her appearance. [Meanwhile, her parents ventured off in mounting disagreement.] As the years rolled by, the ever-mutable clay of “Humanity” grew in quantity and violence, gradually wiping away portions of her previous work. Just when it seemed like the restless, pale and balding creatures might destroy themselves and everything remaining with them, a new crop would appear to start a revolution. But, the lifeless remnants of the previous batch never seemed to fully disappear. The cosmic strength to absorb injury and clear away the messes made diminished. Eventually, after several expansive conflicts, the bewildering competition amassed heaps of debris on the heavenly creator’s face.

At the dawn of her next birthday, her parents displayed looks of horror. Lakes of toxic sludge and smoking mountains of heavy filth nearly covered every inch of their daughter’s skin. They could barely see her worrisome expression and hear her trailing voice as she pleaded, “Father! Mother! Help me! I have lost control! I am falling apart from within! Help me!”

But, they could do nothing short of wiping her from the cosmos. Reflecting upon her own potentially misguided wisdom, Mother wept. Father slapped himself for being so hasty and persistent in the pursuit of pride. In search of other worlds to litter and ravage, some of the daughter’s tiny parasites ventured deep into space with the ships she provided. Following the errant paths of the wasteful machines over their shoulders, the parents retraced the eons of their previous attempts at raising children and wondered how their neighbors, the Andromeda family, fared so well. [What did they truly know about their neighbors? And, did they need to snoop?]

                                                                           *******

“Surprise!” cheered her parents, stirring the young artist from her slumber. The latter rubbed her eyes and followed the visual cues of the former along the curves of her weathered frame. Though she had found herself drowning in darkness and despair only a moment ago, she was now glowing with a renewed sense of peace and a vigor. Gone were the mounds of death and destruction. Those tiny pests she had created were now working together as one happy community, no longer fighting over materials or each other. And, the older forms once thought doomed to extinction were now given their fair share of space to live as Humanity did.

“Happy birthday, my daughter,” said Mother with an earnest smile. “Just look at you, now. So grown-up. So mature. And, to think, a few eons ago, you were ready to throw yourself into the black hole because of some hideous eruption on your face.”

Her father, showing his age with the faintest tint of red in his thinning cheeks and forehead, added, “You have never looked lovelier than you do today, my child. You honor us both. And, look, our neighbors have brought you presents.”

The woozy artist squinted over her parents’ shoulders to see the handful of colorful visitors in the distance, each with tiny surprises headed her way. Neglecting to mention the former identity of the rock chosen as a meeting place, Mother and Father cleared the asteroid field to welcome the guests. Everyone had such a joyous time at the birthday party…

…Except for one tiny solar-powered ship carrying a lone green explorer who steered clear of all the commotion. He didn’t dare venture closer to those he could not yet understand. Instead, he continued his journey through space, watching the universe drift by as he decided what to do with the rest of his life.

 

 

~Writingbolt, 7-26-2014

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