The craftsman stood in front of his workshop, under the colourful banner that announced his name and profession to customers. It was a fine morning. He would create something new today, he thought.
He set out to make something with the fresh clay…
In the beginning there was the new; freshness, innocence, every day an adventure. Stumbling, falling, rising, curiosity followed everything everywhere and fed on every experience, small or big. Laughter bubbled up every once in a while, tears appeared just as often, petulance reared its head and the base of it all there was a contentment and peace that would soon falter and then vanish altogether. But there was time yet.
… he moulded it gently, beginning to give it direction…
Curiosity intensified into a grave quest in right earnest and innocence began to give way slowly to knowledge of the world and its ways. The brightness dimmed just a little and a certainty began to take its place. Selfishness reigned. The laughter came less frequently and petulance transformed into temper. There was a transformation taking place.
… and when he was satisfied it was hardening, he began to use strength; carving and embossing…
Intelligence dominated now in thought and word and deed. Suddenly, passionate love bloomed – rich, sharp, ripe, fragrant, painful. New highs and lows appeared where a placid graph had stood before. Pain such as never had been seen alternated with ecstasy. Desire warred with caution and won hands down. Towards the end, wisdom began to form. Compassion reared its head and began nudging selfishness out.
…pleased with its form and shape, he raised the pot to the sun and the rays illuminated its perfection…
Compassion fuelled action now. Desire burgeoned into a steady affection. Intelligence had ripened almost fully to wisdom, and elsewhere self awareness was giving slow, sure birth to humility. A larger vista opened up. Regret coloured memories of the past and its squandered opportunities that had never been recognized.
…he filled it with water and began watering tree upon tree on the dusty stretch of road; and lo! the pot served its purpose ably…
Energy rose out of regret, strong and purposeful and filled the vacuum of all the wasted years. Direction married experience and hindsight and the result was pure magic: achievement! Surely this had been the purpose, the ideal – to transform crystallized ideas into concrete victories.
This then was the zenith, and it would last a few glorious years.
…until one day, many years later, a crack appeared in the side of the pot – and despite his efforts began to widen slowly…
In due course, tiredness began to set in. Aches and weariness became par for the course and action was no longer the easy matter of routine that it had been. Wisdom was now as fine wine, cooling the parched young desire-fuelled minds of all that reached for it. A certain premonition of finality was beginning to descend, and with it brought about the surprising return of a kind of innocence.
…and one morning, the pot cracked whole and shattered to the ground, spilling its last load of water.
The end was inevitable and come it did, with infirmity and inability. It was not sudden, but when it appeared it conquered immediately. In the last few moments before the end, everything played in a quick dance – curiosity, laughter, anger, intelligence, desire, love, affection, realization, wisdom, action, satisfaction, tiredness, infirmity, the return of innocence. And then – the end.
The craftsman examined the remains of the pot sadly, and then buried them. Idly he wondered what he would have called this one… and settled on ‘Life’. Yes, he liked the sound of that. This had been a good thing, this ‘life’, though there had been mistakes. Perhaps he would create some more. After all, it was a fine morning. Ideas humming through his mind, he walked into his workshop. Outside, the colourful banner continued to wave aloft, announcing its owner to be
Creator and Craftsman.
No two products alike.