The great scales

The great scales of the world pardon no one. The grief of life is feeling the slow descent, lingering in the shadow of what rose. The cold gravity of the lower place, rich in weight and lacking in power. The grief of life is not knowing when you’ll rise again, and if you’ll know the pressure of this thumb upon you forever. The grand euphoria of life is the feeling of the slow ascent, the lessening of force in your ears. That sun-drenched higher place, where the abundance of your opportunities and ability to claim them run races around your head like a crown of bluebirds. We cast off the doubts we gathered for kindling in that lower place, until we feel the slow descent. And then we wonder if the virtue we felt was ever ours at all, if we don’t live half our lives as frauds.

The great scales of the world care not for your timing. They hold no court with your interests. Their purpose sings of cruelty but their truth is pure justice. No one is spared from the sway of their circumstances, no one settles at the top and no one is left in the cold. And so I don’t believe it’s something to be lamented. A machine to be disemboweled or a foundation to be crumbled. The great scales of the world pair nicely with grace, and should we have the influence to tap it in either place, the world evens out a little. If we can cover ourselves with it against unfriendly gales when we’re low, we manage to miss the harshest conditions of our reckoning. If we cover others with it when we’re at our highest, the intoxication of our luck won’t leave us withdrawn when it runs out.

We feel the shift of the great scales of the world because we cling with certainty to our situations. We try to manage something we can’t even employ. If life is little more than a delicate layering of power, the reason it rules us with such sovereignty is because we accept our conditions too readily, too greedily. In life, we will form the ranks and we will lead on horseback. We can carry nothing with us, we can change very little. But if we walk with grace, the rope we cling to won’t burn our flesh as it slides from out of our hands. If we walk with grace, very little of our experience is altered as we’re carried. Ultimately, it’s not the will of the great scales of the world that fashions that hardest part of life, it’s affording yourself the grace to exist in both places contentedly.

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