Heart of the World

A soft breeze tickled Nin’s nose. He opened his eyes.

Shadows cast from the branches of a giant fig tree danced on the grass by his feet. A cobra lay sleeping peacefully, encircling Nin like a protective seal. A pale day-moon hung in the sky.

He had returned.

And as he sat there in the shade of the fig tree, Nin realized that his heart had quieted. He felt only a blissful, peaceful tranquility, like the calm one feels when waking up next to a lover. And having quieted his heart, having attuned his ears, Nin, for the first time, thought he heard the beating of a different heart.

And Nin realized that he had arrived at the heart of the world, and that the truth that lies buried there was close, lurking somewhere just below his feet, just underground, finally, amazingly, within his grasp!

And so Nin dug.

He dug down five feet, ten feet, a hundred. Nin dug, further and further down, closer and closer. With each pawful of displaced earth, new energy welled up from deep within him. He was close, close to the truth that haunted him, the truth that spurred him on, the truth that had defined his life.

And then, with one last scoop of dirt, he broke through and—

I am sorry, dear reader, but I must stop here. I cannot tell you what Nin found, the size or shape or smell of it, or even if he found anything at all.

Some scholars have speculated that he found the shiny bead he’d lost as a child. Others say he found the bones of his father, or perhaps a precious jewel, more dazzling than any other. Perhaps this, perhaps that.

But the truth is this: what Nin found and what Nin experienced cannot be conveyed in words or pictures. Indeed, even if it were possible to describe, that description would only make sense to rabbits such as Nin, not humans like you; humans like me.

Alas, I can only say this: when Nin emerged from that hole—his paws caked with dirt, his breath laboured from digging, tears streaming down his cheeks, a smile on his face—he was satisfied. His quest was over.