Moving down the trail on a pleasant cheerful late afternoon I stumbled upon a large rock something hewn from the side of the cliff. There were many such rocks placed there by some careful hand all of them tugging at my inner spirit. It had been a good life filled with many clear and passionate passages embroidered within a compassionate land. A land of respectful, pleasant citizens bound to one another in a kinship of community.
We all realized that we represented something more profound than the overpowering desires of the individual - our common bond was the attraction that instilled a unity of purpose. Separateness was something seldom experienced - we were all traveling down a trail of empathy that ended in mutual respect for one another.
Most of my nights were filled with the company of happy friends spent in conversation in a small but intellectually enormous living room. Our talks were essential to my very existence - something that electrified my reason for life. Along with the long walks I'd take over the many sidewalks of our neighborhood (with my wife and son) at hours of the night when the air possessed a slight damp coolness these were all uniquely genuine moments of happiness that enhanced a normally relaxed state of mind.
There was once an open house event at my son's school that I attended where the parents walked around the school meeting the teachers and other parents who were also our neighbors. The sense of neighborhood was vibrant in every singular moment of our lives. That night all of us ate food prepared by our neighbors and enjoyed the company of each other while listening to our children who performed music they had selected for the occasion. What I clearly remember is the pride that all of us took in our school - one that was ours in all its clean expansive polish.
Nothing can replace the feeling of belonging of being intertwined into a higher social consciousness of respect, empathy, but most importantly community. We were all part of something beyond a self-centered singular desire to be fulfilled at any cost.
A tremulous time occurred over a few years when others attacked us who engaged one another in confrontational bouts of self. They came bent upon destruction, not so much as conquers but despoilers of civilian - probably because so little of it existed within their world. We found shelter in caves made habitable by a government that was an extension of our community, received medical attention at large hospitals whose only objective was caring for everyone, and fought with a military that enlisted volunteers not for what they might receive once the war was over but for service to their country. We suffered tremendously with most of our homes, and cities destroyed beyond recognition.
Once the war had ended we counted our dead among our fellow citizens and friends and reviewed the endless destruction with pain filled eyes. We had lost everything, nothing was left standing, and millions upon millions of loved ones were gone. Pictures of cities ablaze with bent steel towers, bridges blown asunder and scorched ground were the memories that would remain. Our beloved home was dust.
Those of us still alive walked for days across an empty expanse, sleeping in ruins that were once buildings - meeting others along our course of despair. Something clicked within us that enabled us to transcend utter destruction and move towards healing. It was our sense of community - the caring for one another that enabled us to rebuild our civilization.
We first erected monuments to our dead citizens - for some they had no remaining family. Most of our civilization now resided in carved out spaces of remembrance on lean white memorial slabs placed in a center space surrounded by a terraced drive that terminated at the slab - a little lower than the surface. There were thousands upon thousands of these monuments for we had lost millions - it hurts to remember - pain is all I feel.
After many years we rebuilt our civilization not on the backs of others but with the hearts, minds, and hands of all. Now there are once again shining towers with brilliant crystal capstones thrust up by gleaming steel many miles into our sky. For with everyone our community exists in vibrant continuity with only the few or the one nothing would have been possible.