The blinking of one’s eyes tells much of its owner; in fact in the eternity of my age I have come to regard it as a great sign of the width and breadth of one’s character. But ah! I seemed to have started in on a subject that may appear strange to you, and without properly introducing myself – both flaws I admit to readily, and excuse just as readily on account of my years. Both my own age and the age of men are coming to an end. Our declines spiral downwards at steady and simultaneous rates. My death will signify the demise of men; the time of wisdom and deceit, richness and spirituality, is at its conclusion. Progression of time is a tricky thing, and since I haven’t kept track, being preoccupied with other studies and practice, I can only approximate my life on this planet to near six hundred years – does it surprise you? It should not. Stranger things have occurred in this world than an unusually long life. Perhaps among the experiences of your own existence you can ferret out a past memory that was long forgotten because it did not fit tidily with your sensible worldview where nothing too out of the ordinary happens, but will now be drug up and perceived with new eyes. This is an especial hope of mine: that my words will announce the dawning of remembrance for you before everything comes crashing down and humanity is obliterated.
But so much for formal introductions. I’m afraid my frailty would not endure one. And anyway, formal introductions by their own nature require names, and I’ve forgotten mine through the decades. Though sometimes when I’m out in the forest, going for a walk to soothe my tired mind, I think I hear it whispered among the rocks beneath my feet. It is as if I walk a river of grey stones that gush forth before me and gurgle indecipherable words, dripping and splashing with memories long lost in time. So it is sometimes with me: I have reached an age where most of my memories sprawl deep, hidden safe within the thickness of tree trunks and greenness of grass; percolated from my mind to form new connections with myself and nature. But make no mistake – this was my goal: to embrace the profundity of earth and contemplate its vastness until ultimately I will no longer know where it begins and I end.
As the seasons change, so do I. My skin is cold and fresh and covered with dew in the spring. My beard turns from brown in the fall to snowy white in the winter, when my breath blows frost. The rhythm of the world beats in my heart and the stars shine bright in my eyes. Oh, that I had just a little more time to enjoy this union – to sing forth the comings of night and days, and quake and blow and rain with each step. But such is not to be had. ‘Fate goes ever as it will,’ and I with it. My exalted moon and sun darken even now, and my soul becomes restless in great expectation.
So listen then, with an open ear to my words. I spoke at first of the character of men – the representation of life’s greatest failures! Man is a crucifixion of God and Animal. He will never be one or the other, nor a dialectic of the two. He was destined from the start to be both, a contradiction self-contained in physical form. A torturous existence, one that is escapable exclusively by intellectual and moral sanity and death. Pity yourself, therefore, and weep. But let there be a smile that creeps beneath the tears also, because know that soon it will all be over. It is strange to think of it. Even I cannot see beyond the great Destruction; my foresight stops of a sudden and all turns black. I do not know if it is because time itself folds in and I thus peer into an infinite regress of shadow, or if there will come a day of rebuilding and it is too far away in the future to see. I myself am not a man, though it is possible I was born of them – I do not remember. Some of my features and attributes resemble those of a man. I can speak in their tongue when I wish to. I experience emotion, though not of the same variety. I can shape myself almost like them. But my preference is to the trees and riverbeds; when night appears I become a silhouette, a cloak to roam and lose myself in dark refrain. In the day I am a shimmering refraction in a drop of water, a glint.
Men’s eyes.. watch them closely, listener. Study them and see their eyelid’s movements. Perhaps you will see a discernable pattern that mirrors their character. I have not said enough, but I grow tired of speech and must yield to the forces of nature and absolve this body. I have a brother. At least, we call each other such. His path is much different than mine – you will learn from him. He, also, is unbearably burdened with age. A lover of knowledge, he has attained much of it. I must go now.
My brother’s speech, it appears, has tired you – you have a stern look about you. I hope he hasn’t worried you into a frenzy. I can assure you the destruction of men has not come, nor do I think it ever will. My brother is right about one thing, however: this planet will not be here much longer. And unlike my brother I can tell you the exact date and time at which this will occur. But this I will not tell you – you cannot know. To tell you would be the cruelest thing I could do, for you would count the minutes until the very end.
That he despises mankind and waves off their achievements as trivial is a fact whose cause I can’t ascertain, but only guess. But I do know why he has chosen the path of nature and strayed from the path of logic and reason. He cannot remember his or my own origins; he has forfeited his own memories for that of the world’s. So be it. As for me, I can remember. He and I are not six hundred years old, nor even one thousand. We were born of a Pictish tribe in the 900s B.C. Our fathers were pagans, druids, and witches, and so were we. Although both he and I studied druidism, my pursuit of it was purely intellectual, while he practiced it and soon knew nothing else. By and by he became capable of what most would call extraordinary feats, and all in our clan was amazed. He could converse with animals, shape shift into myriad forms and tell the future accurately through such geomantic acts as looking at the play of shadows caused by leaves blowing in the wind. I remember a strong lust for knowledge was present in me then – the same gnawing desire I still experience today. It was this same desire that eventually forced me to abandon my clan and leave Ireland by boat to England. My studies there continued with fervor in a small cabin overlooking the western coast. I found many secrets there, things unknowable to most men. Among them was the means to cheat death. Not indefinitely you see – no, no – as you can easily discern I am dying – but long enough. Long enough to compile my work: all my knowledge of everything there is to be known. I received word that my brother had one night vanished and was never seen by our clan again. But I realized he was still among us, unnoticed like a faint breeze on your neck. And so we have both lived now into the 21st century A.D., over 2900 years, albeit by different methods.