Christopher Bernard’s Novel “AMOR i KAOS”: Final Installment
A pool of darkness. To himself and his neighbors. A weeping willow above it, dragging its whip-like branches across the surface in the afternoon breeze. The little stone springhouse at the edge of the woods where they kept the cream sodas, the Oranginas, the cokes. The light gurgling of the spring over the rocks as it entered the pool. The olive green scum off toward the far side, where the tall reeds started in a dark green screen. The sound of a dragonfly darting past his ear, then the sight of it hovering over the pool, its whirring transparent wings, its delicately pulsing body as thin as a small, black finger; then it darts off.
The sense that a world of busyness is happening all around him, a hidden universe of intense, purposeful activity, from the grasses to the leaves, from the worms boring through the mud to the beetles and flies, to the lizards and snakes, to the squirrels, to the birds flashing in and out of the trees, to the little shifts of air, zephyrs, breezes, to the wind and the sky, to the clouds, the clouds, the clouds, those little worlds of chaos, to the sun, the unseen moon, the silent mob of stars behind the blank, opaque blue—in the apparent stillness, an endless busyness, motion endlessly rich, constant birth, constant renewal, an infinity of novel and strange and oddly beautiful forms, a panorama, a spectacle of beings he was, in effect, and maybe even in fact, blessed with witnessing and living among. A formation of fighters thunders across the sky.
One day an ant decides that all of creation has been made for it and it alone—from its creation myth in a clump of eggs in the corner of a damp tree stump, its growth, scrambling over its myriads of cousins, into maturity, its dramatic adventures scurrying over the forest floor, its toilsome existence dragging pieces of dead leaves and beetle husks into the darkness of its anthill, and its heroic destiny as an ant-angel squeaking hosannas to an ant-god in a heaven full of fellow insects—and it toils at growing its anthill and ant society to ever greater heights and to ever greater glory, to prove its grand dreams were justified, that nothing is too good for it or for its fellow ants, and that the rest of nature exists to support it, and will be, if need be, sacrificed to its interests, its survival, pleasures, whims. That ant, in its little soul and clever brain, has even invented a weapon that, implausibly enough, could destroy not only its own anthill, and all other anthills in the world, in one fell swoop, but the entire forest, the county, state, nation—life on earth itself. Such a clever ant! Such a mighty ant! And it might do that one day, just to show it can. It’s just that smart, and on a bad day, just that mad.
—That ant, he said, is me.
She said nothing for a very long time.