Love #7: Because The Night [1805: Margaret (On Being, Spinoza v Decartes)]
Margaret sat and shivered in the cold morning air. They are in a row boat in the marshes of the Hawkesbury River.
She watches black swans with a group of pale yellow cygnets in the reeds.
A soldier in the Corp and friend of Dawes has cared for her these seventeen years, after the death of her mother. The old soldier and her have come duck hunting from the small settlement of Richmond Hill. He promised to tell her about her father and mother on her 16th birthday.
The old soldier says, "You look like both your mother and your father. They would be proud of you. I am getting old. I promised to tell you, before I forget too much."
"I don't think I belong anywhere. I don't fit in. The troopers call me a child of the night and laugh at me."
"What would they know of the world? I ain't book-learned but listen to me. You 'are' and that is all you need. It is a marvelous thing. Everyone fits in. We are all part of God and his creation: the stars, the water, the ducks, the fish and you and I. We are all here for his purpose. We make our own space with his blessing." (Spinoza)
She argues, "The priest says different. He says that the divine is separate from us. He says that the first people are different from the convicts who are different from the freemen who are different from the women and the soldiers and the slaves. He says we are all different from one another. He says we are different from birth, and that we should accept our lot as God's will." (Descartes)
"Hush. Don't pay no mind to such talk. Your father would not have accepted such talk. He was a scientist, and your mother, in her own way, was as well. Pay attention to your heart. Look at the swans."
"Please do not shoot them."
He smiled and lowered the old flintlock, "Eh? They would make good eating. Tell me why we should confine our diet to the fishes."
She said, "They are a family. If you take either of the large birds, the family would be lost."
He said, "So you see qualities in their lives that you see in the lives of people around us. Love, compassion, attention, care, relationships."
"You are teasing me. Tell me about my parents. Where are they? Why have they left me in the world without them. Empty."
"It is natural to feel emptiness, sometimes. I have lost all I once thought important. Your care is a duty and a blessing."
She bends her head, "I honor you for your love."
"These are difficult times. What I tell you must not be repeated to any other."
The boat drifted back with the tide.
"My parents are gone?"
"Yes. But you are still here."
"Who am I then? I am different. The priest says to accept my lot, black and white, and I feel so empty."
"Pay no mind to the preaching of that old crow. Regard the swans, combining night and day into highest majesty. Why Governor King has two children of the convict Ann Inett, and they are properly treated with respect. The same respect mother and I give to you."
She was quietly weeping.
"You are one of the children of God. There is nothing more powerful to live as part of this creation."
Copyright Dark Aelf, 2021
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