An Ode to Calvino & Paradise by Ron Tu

        Many believe that Meteora is alien, nothing more than the result of entropic whimsy (which caused a space rock to fall from the sky and burst as it struck Earth). They are told of a large land mass wedged between two mountain peaks, showering the valley below in darkness. It is the place that many men search for from the moment they are born. If one were to stand on the edge of Meteora—the name it was given by a forgotten tribe—and look outwards, one would see mountains tips that converge with clouds. The surrounding terrain consists of hills that roll like elephants, waves of green crashing against azure heavens. The men standing below look towards Meteora and see only futility.

        Much has been said about life on Meteora, where the sun rises and falls in perfect twelve-hour intervals and there is no caste system for creatures (and, as such, dogs and cats and cattle are given the same freedoms as you or I), where penitentiaries and office buildings exist only in textbooks and conversations carry on for days and are concluded with drink and dance, where you seldom hear the words “hate” or “love” and men cry freely as children dance to the pitter-patter of rain on roof shingles. It is impossible to separate fact from fabrication, for Meteora draws life from the divine and inspiration from the Earth.

        In the shadows below this paradise, the wanderers live in a humble refuge. Odd-colored tents form uneven lines that continue for miles (which, according to those up on Meteora, resemble the crop circle phenomenon). Clotheslines are strung from the tent poles and are rearranged according to the women’s moods like fickle spider webs. There is a pen where the chickens, piglets, and sheepdogs are kept, although the surrounding fence is so poorly constructed that the animals tend to disappear in droves. Before daybreak, the children hike with buckets to collect spring water while the men congregate in the piazza for prayer. The people who live in the shadows have endured tremendous loss, but they remain thankful for their blessings.

        Many men and women have arrived at the dark camp, but those that leave never return. They are sent off in revelry, with foreign jewels and exotic men and women from the islands and spiced pigs roasted over wood fires and wine-stained lips that form a chorus through the uninterrupted night. The men always take one last look at Meteora before heading onwards, their initial longing supplanted by the knowledge that they had gained the world. Those who stay behind look at the departed with a hollow pity and continue to search for purpose atop the monolith.



Ron Tu lives in Midtown and works at a large corporation. His hobbies are self-loathing, fighting, and writing (with little-to-no success).