In the beginning was the One.
And the One was cold.
Cold as forgotten sepulchres.
Cold as the void between dying stars.
Cold as a father’s absent tenderness.
Cold and alone.

Then one day there was an Other,
and the One was no longer alone.
And the one was no longer cold.

Now, the One was hot.
Hot as a fiery arrow of fear up the spine.
Hot as a volcanic core of anger in the chest.
Hot as a blazing barrier of self-protection.
Who is this Other?
What will they take from me?

And many times, the story concludes there.
Except that in time (despite the wall of fire),
the One grows cold once again.

The End.

But in a few tellings, something else happens.
The tales disagree about the cause.
But in most of them, the One,
peering out between the flickering flames,
glimpses something in the Other.
Something like Humanity.

And (in these stories), the One begins
to wish to taste this Humanity.
Not to take it from the Other,
but to understand it,
to savor it,
and perhaps to share it.

And timidly, tentatively,
the One lets down the flaming wall,
and reaches out a hand,
and discovers that Humanity
is neither cold nor hot,
but warm.

No, that’s not right –
some fables do make that claim,
but the wisest ones say they are wrong.
Humanity is warm, yes,
but it is also cold
with loneliness, isolation, and distance.
It is also hot
with conflict, challenge, and fear.
But it lives all of these things
in relationship, one with another.

In the beginning was the One.
Now there is the One, and the Other, in relationship.
Whole and hurting members of humankind.
Cold, and hot, and warm.
Mostly warm.

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