Peggy's Cove Toward Prospect 2 DSC_4425
Realm of the Jealous Gods
It was Delilah's father's birthday. But could that be said and said truly when her father was dead? How could a birthday have no one to have it?
That was the kind of way her Daddy Mac had liked to think, so she was perusing the diaries of her late mother for more examples, because Big Bertha had loved her little man and everything he said and did and there were many entries about him.
He also had liked to take pictures. Some of the entries had his pictures pasted in alongside. She found one for a winter like the one they were having, fierce and unrelenting. It was of the sea, which, after his Bertie, was his next greatest love. It showed storm-driven waves crashing ashore under frightening clouds. Delilah saw faces in the waves and the clouds. There was a chaotic feeling to the photo as if everything in it was warring against everything else.
About the picture, Daddy Mac had said that this was what he thought the realm of jealous gods looked like. Because his omnivorous curiosity had led him to bone up on Buddhism, he was familiar with all the six realms, from that of hell beings to hungry ghosts to animals, humans, jealous gods and gods. The realms could be taken literally, as if hell and heaven were somewhere else, or figuratively, as if they represented aspects of the world at hand.
"The jealous gods have godlike power," Ma Bertie had written, "according to Mac. But they worry they don't have enough. So they're always fighting each other. Mac says he sees it in nature, like here in this picture, but also in society with people and corporations and even entire countries always at each other's throats. And for what? Mac says to get a little more. Because they always want a little more. Because for all their power they are basically afraid that if they don't get more they'll have to face the fact that in genuine reality they never had any."
Delilah closed the diary and lit a candle on a cupcake and took it to Noah, her son, who was sitting by the woodstove with Sir Barksalot, getting warm after being outside playing in the snow. Noah blew out the candle and made a wish but said he didn't want the cupcake.
"Sometimes we want everything, sometimes we don't want any," he said, looking up at the ceiling as if he were channeling his granddad.
Delilah gathered her son and his dog in a hug. The dog's wet fur smelled. Delilah's heart beat high with helpless love. She wished she could protect who she loved, no matter what threatened. She also wished she had not seen the faces in the clouds and waves, because she felt like they were looking right at her and wanting everything she had, whether they existed or not.
27 February 2022
Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia
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