Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Four Gates to the City

gates by Wolgang Schweizer
To enter a city intact it is necessary to pass through one of the new gates. They are far more difficult to find than their predecessors, for they are tests, mechanisms, devices, and implements of justice. There once was a map, now long gone, one of those ancient charts upon which colorful animals sleep or rage. Those who saw it said that in its illuminations were figures and symbols of the gates. The east gate was that of acceptance of responsibility, the south gate that of the desire to explore, the west gate that of devotion to beauty, and the north gate that of selfless love. But they were not believed. It was said that a city with entryways like those could not exist, because it would be too wonderful. Those who decide such things decided that whoever had seen the map had only imagined it, and the entire matter was forgotten, treated as if it were a dream, and ignored. This, of course, freed it to live forever.

~ Mark Helprin, Winter's Tale
 

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