Less and Less

Cantillations
by Emily Warn, from Shadow Architect

How do you remain faithful when boredom sets in? Sages
offer numerous rules of piety, precepts, commandments,
vows, proverbs, and aphorisms, all compiled after revelations
that shattered the structure of existence. The purpose of all
rules of piety is to extend revelation into ordinary life. They
are survival tactics that help us withstand tedium, our
disappointed expectations that something dramatic will
happen—the sky open, a pillar of fire light our way—if we
do this and that. For example, if you stand in a field in the
month of Elul when the red dwarf rises above the tree where
the shepherd has tethered his goats, you’ll see divine light.
Instead, you are preoccupied with stamping your feet in the
cold, with muttering and gossiping with friends. Without
knowing it, you’re storing a memory of being knit together
that will help you survive later. You’ll remember one friend
who rolls her eyes in mock disapproval at such religiosity;
another concentrates as hard as she can on what the sages
said would happen if you gathered in the fields during the
month of Elul. She focuses on waiting to see a flash. The
other observes what can be seen, the night sky, its billions of
unnamed stars, impossible to count, immeasurable depth,
formless space, black, blank; receding as she is, less and less
visible, less and less impatient at nothing much happening.
The other shouts, witnessing the birth of a star.

[Narrative’s Poem of the Week]