Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A cub needs a name...

     Once upon a time, there was a weary traveler.  Well, lots upon the times, there were many weary travelers, and you, dear reader, may even be one of them.  But in this particular place, and in this particular time, there was this one particular weary traveler, which is only important insomuch as one's understanding of the Universe is that that's the way things are supposed to happen.  So in this place in time, this weary traveler, who we should call Josie, I think, if that's okay (if you don't like it, we can change it).  Well Josie, she had been wandering long in the world, seeking after knowledge, and felt like she needed to set awhile, in a small village in the North where she had heard there were some highly regarded masters, so there she went.
     The village turned out to be a wonderful place, inhabited by creatively inspiring and searchingly inquisitive individuals, engaged in a variety of studies across many disciplines, and Josie felt well suited to the environment, and so she passed a few years there.  One day, there appeared at her door a large, grey, wolf with black stripes undulating across his thick fur, and she was compelled to let him in, and to follow him, after he had sniffed out the room in a circular sweep, and left just as quick as he'd come.  He led her to a place she knew, but needed to explore more in depth to learn the lesson it had for her, and so she went where she was to go for the next few years to come.  Some of it was bitter, and some of it was sweet, but at the end of it, she found herself alone and naked out in the cold snows of the North - but there was a life growing inside of her.  A small, golden flame that warmed her until she was able to find her way back to one of the little villages she had come to think of as home.
     It was in one of those villages that Josie gave birth to a tiny, dark cub with black hair and grey eyes that was so small, the midwives set him in the good light of the Sun to strengthen and fortify his little body and keep him warm, while they poured thin, chalky, excuses for nourishment into him as Josie's body fought to recover from the potions she had been made to ingest.  When they were both strong and healthy, Josie took the cub traveling, and he grew quickly, rubbing his black hair off, and growing a fine, golden fur in its place, the grey of his eyes shifting and changing with the light.  He was a joyful child, and charmed all the people.  He was clever, and kind, and sent forth love, light, and friendship wherever his mama chose to roam.  But one day, Josie's young cub - who really should have a name as well, but I'm not sure what it should be - got tired of packing all the circus silks into the caravan every time the North wind crossed the East wind in the Southwestern quadrant of his mother's nautilus shell and made that particular whistling sound, so he boldly and righteously asked her to entrust her towel to him for a period of at least 5 years, to which she knew she must concede.
     (You do know why he wanted her towel, right?  Well, the late Mr. Douglas Adams talks about the importance of one's towel in relation to space travel in his acclaimed Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, which you should definitely read.  I was using it as a larger metaphor - as a symbol of a particular, chosen lifestyle, and a period of separation from it as opposed to a permanent loss of freedom.)  As for the young cub...his adventure is just beginning.  He seeks to speak with the dragons, and defend the lives of the innocent with his own strength and power, but he is young, and tender.  There is much for young cubs to know in this world, and few who would truly teach them...

p.s. ~ hey, look what I found in the info-weave!

The original quotation that explained the importance of towels is found in Chapter 3 of Adams's
work The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in "Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is." (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)[3]
— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy