February 01, 2011

The Almond Tree

By May B. Yesno © 2010

Not having read a sword or dragons, nor swords and women, or anything of magical taint book in the past six months or so, I find it strange to feel the urge to create a world of such things and lock myself up in the suppositions.

There is the business of emails to be considered also. I am receiving short missives from friends and acquaintances suggesting this link is a good thing or I read, you know, a zinger of story about a flying submarine that travelled the Interstate System at two hundred and twenty miles per hour – LOL added, they didn’t get a ticket either.

I know it is a faulty imagination as I followed through conjecture that submarine; creeping its way from the water after having penetrated the security at the Naval Shipyards in San Diego, eluding the police of that fair city and gaining the Interstate System at high rates of speed. I felt it only correct that it take the Southern Highways portion, at least west of the Mississippi anyway. I could not conceive of the vehicle (vessel?) making the journey through the tunnels of the Rocky Mountains West of Denver at such rates. Visual images of tractor and trailer rigs popping out of the tunnels end like corks from a bottle from the bow wake of my machine were part of the picture I rejected. But a turn northward to Kansas City and eastward again to St Louis seemed a lot of fun. Not to mention the possibility of a larger audience from which to pick and spin other tales.

It is odd, as I’m fairly certain you know that I could not conceive of the machine coming ashore in San Francisco or Los Angles. The one has a muddy bottom and confusing tributaries emptying into it; and the other is... the other is rather a strange place and just as importantly, it doesn’t have what one could call a shot at crossing the mountains. Not a straight away shot, anyway.

So. Yes. I’m predisposed to flights of imagination at this time and these email and referrals are not helping my mental health. They stir the still, quiet, layers of the mind and bubbles rise. There’s a fellow here in my apartment building I have an occasional drink with at the local watering hole and after listening to me explain the mini-crisis I was under going said I was crazy and the only thing rising was methane.

I protested the insinuation of a surfeit of hot air in the only way possible for me which is by humor (or attempts thereto). I told this person, as I purchased us another drink, that I was not a terrorist and had no intentions of exploding anything, anywhere. His reply was he understood that, as I leaked away the danger by talking. He accepted the proffered drink.

Resettling ourselves, he gazed at me in the back bar mirror and nodded his head. You are he said, a writer of short stories and other rubbish prose. You have little understanding of the real world and create from your imagination a world you can handle and manipulate. One of which you can be master. Allow me to spin you a story you may have; and a story you may create a world about and for, and you may dictate the ending. The beginning, however, belongs to me.

A chancy thing, such a conversation at the bar, but being of agreeable mind I shrugged my agreement and listened.

My acquaintance started by asking if I’d heard the tale of the Immaculate Conception and its attendant place in religion. I nodded that I had, and opened my mouth to deny the story a place in a bar, but his raised hand stayed my protest and he continued.

Long, he said, before the creation of single god religion there were many gods; and long before the advent of paper as we know it in this age, there came a tale of – here he interrupted himself to assure me he was leaving out names and places so that I could grasp with my fancy the tale he told – there came a tale of another type of birth, though the conception was of some concern for the modern believer.

The Amygdale Species: Promus amygdales or the Almond Tree has an origin in antiquity and goes in this manner. The tree is sacred to Attis.

Before Attis, however, there lies a story. In Phrygia there was born a hermaphroditic deity named Agdistis. The Gods, and there were many, were fearful and they castrated it, the hermaphroditic, creating the goddess Kybele.

The testicles were cast upon the earth where they sprouted and grew into an almond tree.
Once then the nymph Nana came along and sat beneath the branches of the almond tree and an almond nut fell into her lap and impregnated her.

The child thus conceived, when born, was named Attis (born of the almond nut), who grew up to become the consort of the Kybele.

I ask you, my writer friend, was this an incestuous thing consorting with ones mother (?), father (?)? Was it a God screwing itself as it was meant to be? And if all the questions one may ask, and all the concepts the Gods could fear – would the idea of a God perpetuating itself all that scary – the natural product was their fear, and finally, sir, I ask, if fear it was that struck the hearts of the Gods, to which God should man look for sanctuary from the wrath of the Gods if all the Gods feared the creation of Agdistis and by whom so created and why.

There descended a silence between my drinking companion and me that lasted through the next drink and even until the final thanks reciprocal and the good nights.

I wandering to my apartment in contemplation and wonders of the hundreds of years and the unknown author of the story told me this night. Hundreds of years I supposed and I found that indeed it had been thousands of years since the first telling and the author lost in the sands of time.

I will admit, in the silence of the night, and the knowledge the TEXT as it was handed to me as a youngster was a compilation of mans thought and selection, arbitrary choices all. None of those selections were within my control; none was I allowed reference materials for, all demanding of me unthinking faith to make true.

Well! Shake it off, Old Man. You have other things to think of this evening, and I turn to the computer to distract my mind from incomprehensible depths of twisted logic. The first item on opening my email is a letter from a friend using such words as ‘incestuous’ and an explanation of other events and meaning to him.

Such paths the smallest hint of ill cared for road can send my thinking careening upon. Stability, I pray – which it is incongruous considering the subject of my thoughts and if true, to which God, I pray?

May B. Yesno is a writer from Fresno, CA

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