Hello, said Pablo and Bonny. Hello, said Blurtso. What are you doing? We’re taking veggies to our cabin, said Pablo. How about you? I’m going to class, said Blurtso. Really? said Bonny. Why don’t you come visit when you’re done? Ditto would love to see you. Ditto? said Blurtso. Ditto is Bonny’s stuffed animal, said Pablo. Oh, said Blurtso. But he’s remarkably intelligent, said Bonny. I’m sure he is, said Blurtso. So you’ll come? said Bonny. I don’t think so, said Blurtso, I’ve got an exam tomorrow. That’s too bad, said Pablo, we could go for a swim. With the ducks? said Blurtso. Of course, said Pablo. Hmm, said Blurtso, do you know anything about the underlying causes of World War One? No, said Pablo, but I’m sure we can figure it out. Great! said Blurtso. I’ll see you after class.
No one’s home… except for Bonny’s stuffed animal. He sure is funny-looking. Rabbit-sized ears, boxing-glove nose, two eyes that may as well be one. I wonder what he’s supposed to be? His hooves are wrong for a rabbit… and his nose is wrong for a rhino… maybe he’s a camel or a mouse… or an overstuffed rat… I wonder if he can swim… maybe he’s a sea creature who’s stranded on land… or a land creature who yearns for the sea… Hah! He sure looks funny! But even so… he’s really quite handsome.
I see, said Blurtso. So it was the result of a series of diplomatic clashes over European and colonial issues that stemmed from the changing balance of power after 1867. Exactly, said Pablo.
Off I go, said Blurtso, thinking he was going some place. And off he went, traipsing across the field on his way to where he was going, coming from where he had been. This will really be something, thought Blurtso, when I get to where I’m going. It will surely be worth the effort it will take to get there. There will be so many things where I’m going that aren’t like the things from where I’m coming. And on he went, hoof after hoof after hoof, and hoof after hoof after hoof. The sun was shining, then the sun was setting, then the moon was rising, then the moon was setting, and on he went. I’ve got to keep going until I get there, he thought, when his stumpy little legs grew weary. And on he went, hoof after hoof after hoof, and hoof after hoof after hoof. Whew, thought Blurtso, I must be coming closer if I keep on going farther. And on he went, farther and farther, and closer and closer, and farther and farther, and closer and closer. When he could go no farther, he stopped and looked back at the trail of where he had been, and forward at the trail of where he was going. Blurtso, he said to himself, you silly ass, you’ll never get to where you’re going, nor back to where you’ve been, for you’re always at the beginning of where you’re going, and at the end of where you’ve been.
I love the smell of wood in autumn, and the sound of dry leaves. This is a very nice log. I wonder which tree it came from? I suppose it was like any other tree, growing slowly, drinking minerals, seeking sun. I suppose birds built nests in its branches, and squirrels chased up and down. I suppose it was at the center of a universe of sights and sounds, never thinking it would fall, and be hollowed out. I guess the shell always outlasts the heart, and the forest is strewn with empty armor. And every living thing is immortal… until it dies.
The future, thought Blurtso, doing his best to understand the idea. What could that be? Something that has not happened and is not happening and may not happen but will happen in a present that is not this present. Hmm, a present that is not this present. Where does this present end and the next present begin? If I found that point, would that be the future? Blurtso did not have a very big brain, but even he knew that such a point would never be found. There is only one present, he said with confidence, even I know that.
My neck hurts, said Blurtso, trying to turn his head and feeling a pain spear his shoulder. Maybe if I do some exercise it will feel much better, maybe if I do what I did when I was young. And off he went, to do what he did when he was young. Oh no! said Blurtso. Now I can’t move my back! he said, after he had done what he did when he was young.
Here I go! said Blurtso, looking down at what lay below him. Here I go! he said again, still looking at all the things that lay below. Blurtso’s boney little hooves clung tightly to the rocky spine on which he stood, and his pin-point eyes were bright and full of frenzy. Here I go! he said a little more quietly, and with much less conviction. Here I go! Here I go! Here I go! he repeated, and clung even more tightly to the spine that began to cut into his hooves and make them bleed. Here I go! he said more loudly, but with no conviction at all. Here… I… and off he went, slipping, sliding, and tumbling into the only future that awaited him.