The New Time or Heaven on Earth
The people had learned to live in peace. There was no hate or want in the New Time— every one had faith in themselves and faith in each other. Each and all had faith in the spirit, and someone would find the spirit each day in the commons around them— a slant of light through a bough of leaves, a tree toad discovered while harvesting herbs, the fragrance of soup simmering near dusk. Sometimes they’d make a song, or poem, or picture or play to praise the divine– so they could recall it when feeling alone or when they’d forgotten.
No one feared death in The New Time. They lived long lives in strong bodies, and when their hour had come, they’d just know. They’d send a page to the Keeper of Time to say it was time to end their tale, then they would gather their chosen friends in their hour of dying. No one knew what heaven was like— it was all they had to confess— but in that hour they’d hear the visions of all of their friends. Sometimes, someone would die with a grin that said, ‘That’s it! That’s the one!’, as they gave up their ghost in unfettered accord, trusting they’re loved and that heaven is sweet.
One day, the people were especially happy. It had been 28 years since Evil had walked among them. Saturn — the great time-keeper— had completed its orbit around the Sun, while the Earth had been graced with an age of no evil– the whole revolution.
With pure delight, the people prepared for the jubilation. For three days and three nights, all would bring their favorite foods in their favorite dishes— which happened to be the favorite foods in the favorite dishes of everyone else; and all would wear their favorite clothes and their favorite ornaments— which also happened to be the favorites of everyone else. They would tell their polished stories, read their cherished poems, and dance their beloved dances; then all would sing to praise the grace so long preserved and still upon them. Blessings!
On the third night, near ten, they would gather near the clock by their glass house, sing a mournful song from the Old Time, then wait for the hour’s chime. They would lift their goblets of sweet, sweet wine to christen the coming Newest of Times; then allwould tell their very own vision with hopes of finding the one most true.
And so they began, and ended near ten, when they gathered around by the clock near their house of jewel-colored glass. They poured the wine, softly sighed, and then looked to the heavens. But the clock didn’t strike. Well, that was odd— the clock had never failed before, but they knew it was time. They raised their goblets, lifted their eyes to the firmament ready to honor the One. Just then a star fell through the sky. They all laughed in a single cord, as if everyone felt exactly the same at exactly that time.
Then they noticed a child among them. In The Old Time the child would have been a stranger among them. In The New Time the child was perfectly welcome. “Welcome!” they chimed, with a little surprise. One of the elders bowed to the child with a faithful smile, and spoke for them all, “Will you, dear child— will you be the one to make the wish? There’s nothing more that we desire.”
Then the holiest of children smiled— the most beatific smile— breathed in a boundless breath of joy, then blew out all the stars like candles on a birthday cake, singing, “Free at last, free at last!”
And the clock struck no more.
Good night, dear child. Sweet dreams.