Michael Benton: Observations of The Digger Clans of the Alphane Mountains
Observations of The Digger Clans of the Alphane Mountains (May 1, 2007)
I’m currently living with the Moonshine Clans of the Alphane Mountains. For the first few months, manic giggling greeted me whenever I mentioned my desire for answers ... the whispering behind my back almost broke my determination, but I hung in there until an elder Magi of the Clans began to take pity on this Lost Boy from the Western Lands. She claimed to have originally come from the City of the Red Night, where they teach their young that one cannnot seek “the” answer; instead they must expose themselves to the “multiplicity” of questions, for it is in the masking of “possible” questions that power rests upon, and the prying free of these nuggets from the earth’s moist grasp is the quest of the Clans of the Alphane Mountains.
The ancient Moonshine Magi cackled, swigged from her jug, and said, “This is where the neophytes can get in trouble.” She told me that when chasing these evasive questions the skillful seeker notices that the landscape shifts and reshapes each time a question is revealed. It seems that the Clans learned long ago that when one unearths a question revealing its essence, the disturbance of the surrounding landscape generally causes an accompanying re-veiling of surrounding questions. In fact, she warned that often eager groups of diggers, banded together for strength and safety, will bury smaller groups/individuals digging nearby. This is why the Diggers of the Moonshine Clans of the Alphane Mountains always stop and retrace their steps, reflecting on the pathway they are traveling, in order to re-cognize what disturbances their digging causes. The Magi seemed to derive much amusement from my comment that the Bushes that cover the western lands have long forbidden self-reflective contemplation in order to freeze traditional concepts and to fuel travel to the future-past.
I asked the Magi how the Diggers of the Moonshine Clans of the Alphane Mountains retain their reflective ability while unearthing large complex concepts and revealing troublesome questions. “How do they dream the impossible and imagine the unaskable?” The Magi leaned back and swigged from her jug and chuckled at my Western ignorance. She stared at me like an adder stares down a mouse and dared me to think upon it. After a long uncomfortable two days, I unkinked my frozen limbs. The emptying of my mind allowed me to recognize that the best way to build a hearty, enriching intellectual bouillabaise, is to blend it with (an)other body(ies) of knowledge. The Clans, following the wisdom of the Dispossessed, require all learners to travel to other realms (physical, spiritual, and mental) in order to experience different realities and to act as multi-conduit translators (within and without their clan).
It’s obvious that the Magi is still toying with me. Perhaps I still must quest for these answers on my own, perhaps I still must travel, perhaps I should look into the interstices of production for missing clues?
I screamed, “Please help me! What is a traveler to do when there is no map to guide me?” ... The Magi just cackled, “Foolish Lost Boy of the Western Lands, when will you learn that the quest is the journey and that as soon as you pin down an answer, it only means that you have reveiled other necessary questions — questions that must be once again revealed.”
Shaking and confused, I picked up a large jug of Alphane moonshine and stumbled into the forest to look for questions ...
Your fellow traveler,