I wait for the rain to come as it did yesterday, and may also come tomorrow, a drenching powerful rain – not too cool, but with enough chill to relieve the bite of early summer and for a time cleanse the world of impurities.
We never cure the world; it is what it is, and can only be modified. This much the last few decades have taught me, and yet rain has a way of blurring it all so it seems less stark and cruel.
I think I learned that long ago in a house full of madmen when I stood in my bedroom window and watched the rain beat on the porch roof, clearing it, smearing it, making it seem wholesome when it was not.
Even then, bad air tended to corrode the edges of good things, spoiling everything it touched the way acid rain does.
A roof only protects for so long before it collapses.
This concept of ill pervades, but does not last. Corrupt things also corrode themselves so that only the most iron-hearted survive in the end, the ruthless who show no weakness, who in the end must be brought down by forces of moderately good, the flawed heroes in rusted armor who rise up for the occasion.
But iron men of that kind are rare.
The world is filled with ambitious people who never get so far as that, who get a taste of something and then crave for it, selling their souls for it, only to have it rot them from the inside out, until they are hollow and collapse in upon themselves.
The ladder for good and evil requires the same level of competence to climb. Most people don’t have what it takes to make it to the top of either, and either learn to accept some middle rung or fall off entirely.
But competition on one ladder is much fiercer than the other, full of distrust and vengeance, full of people who thinking they might climb over others, and thus one by one, some throw others off the ladder – and thus only the most vicious survive to make the climb, and then find that they might fight like hell against everybody behind them in order to stay there.
There is very little room up there. And it has an illusion of power, when all that really exists is a tooth and nail existence, as those who reach it need to defend it or fall the whole way down to the unwashed masses below – many times knocking down those who have helped in their climb in the first place.
One of my professors in college told me that all power is a pyramid. Those who aspire to get to the top in a good way, build their base on solid friendships, real loyalty and a sense of purpose. Those who get there in a bad way do so on the backs of others using fear and other means to get there. It is a shaky base at best, he told me, and sooner or later, someone will be ambitious enough to pull you down and take your place, and do all that is necessary to keep that pentacle. But there is always someone else more ruthless, and more competent making the climb, waiting for the chance to pull you down. Often, these are the very same people you trust most.
When the rain comes, I tend to forget all this, or to think where I might fit, on which ladder I make my climb, if any ladder at all.
Sometimes, I watch the rain and it makes each rung more difficult to cling to, and sometimes in the rain, I watch the king pins fall.