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— everyone had faith in themselves and each other. Everyone had faith in divinity and found the divine every day around them —a slant of light through a bough of leaves, a tree toad discovered while harvesting herbs, the aroma of soup simmering near dusk. Sometimes they would make a song, a poem, a picture or play to celebrate the joy of finding what they saw divine – - so they could call it when feeling alone or when they’d forgotten it.
No one feared death in the New Time. They lived long lives in strong bodies and when their hour had come, they just knew. They’d send someone to tell the Keeper of the Time Book that it was time to close their page, then would gather their chosen friends round their bed in the hour of death. No one knew what heaven was like — it was all they had to confess— but in their final hour they would listen to the visions of their friends. Sometimes someone would die with a smile that said, ‘That’s it! That’s the one!”, as they gave up the ghost in peace, knowing they would still be loved, and trusting that heaven was 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 sweet delight, the people prepared a celebration. For three days and three nights, everyone would bring their favorite foods in their favorite dishes — which happened to be the favorites of most everyone else; and everyone would wear their favorite clothes and ornaments — which also happened to be the favorites of most everyone else. They would tell their favorite stories, read their favorite poems, sing their favorite songs, and all would dance to celebrate that grace had been so long preserved.
On the third night, near ten, they would gather under the clock tower by the glass house, and sing a mournful song for the Old Time, then wait for the hour’s chime with chilled glasses of sweet, sweet wine to toast the arrival of the Newest of Times. After the toast, they’d all tell their visions with the hope of finding the one true vision.
And so the festival began, and ended on the third night, very near ten, when they gathered near the tower at the glass house, filled their glasses, 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. So they raised their glasses. Just then a star fell from the sky. They all laughed in a single cord, as if every one of them had felt exactly the same in that instant.
Then, they noticed a child — who would have been a stranger in the Old Time— plaintively watching the last trace of star. “Welcome!” they chimed, with a little surprise. One of the elders leaned toward the child, gently smiled, and (speaking for all of them) said, “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— took in a great big breath, and 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.