The Midnight Clear

North Star Metric: The Most Important Number for Your Company's Growth  [Updated]

A westerly breeze swept across the plain of finely hewn shards, setting the crisp night air ablaze with mystical pinpricks whose echo spoke the language of the ancients.

Jacob’s feet struggled to negotiate the brick-like sand as his tired eyes remained fixed to the North star, as if his mortal bones held no consequence in this journey. As if his spirit had learned to walk on its own and was carrying him now.

“Crazy fucking ideas . . you wasted your life on crazy fucking ideas,” Jacob muttered, his words dissolving into an icy wreckage as his soul warred with demons as his mind raced over myriad possibilities. And yet his feet carried on, delivering him down a road less traveled, without food, without water. But with a strength whose muster did not wane in spite of it.

“Hey! Hey you!”

Jacob turned to find a young girl with black, short cropped hair walking towards him. She wore a blood orange sundress and a faded blue jean jacket, her brown sandals whisking the sand as she strode. Her skin was a brilliant caramel with a dimpled chin, natural cranberry lips, eyes chiseled from an emerald flower and hair that rode off her shoulders like wildfire.

“Marian. I’m the girl, from the bus . . .”

“What are you doing here?” Jacob asked.

“I’ve been walking for days . . no food . . no water. All because some guy at a service station gave me directions that go through a desert. Crazy huh?”

“Gabriel . . .”

“Wait . . you talked to him?” Marian asked.

“He told me to follow the North Star, and it sounded like a good idea at the time. I didn’t think to ask him why, because it’s in my nature to jump first and . . .”

“So he told you the same thing?” Marian repeated herself.

“Yes!”

“Hey man, don’t be jumping on my ass, okay?”

“Sorry. Shit . . I think I’m in shock. That’s got to be what this is. The accident . . I remember the accident. And then I remember Gabriel telling me the way and the steps since then . . I remember this . . because I’m in shock. This is a dream is what this is. But my mind! It’s processing all of this, so there’s a cognitive ability to that, right? . . .”

“Mister, stop . .”

“The road . . we crashed . . head on. Fucking shit! I saw you lying there . . .”

“Mister . . stop!”

“It was . . it was like everything, my whole life was spinning away from me in that moment. Everything was happening in slow motion. You . . you were lying there in the middle of the road . .”

“Mister, STOP!”

“What?”

“Uh? Fuck . . you. How is this your dream?!”

“Name’s Jacob . . and okay, fine. Of course you exist. I mean, you’re here right? And this road . . we’re both here, walking it. And that star in the sky . . it’s there because we’ve been following it for days. And I say we keep following it,”

“Now you got me thinking. Maybe THAT is the light . . didn’t anybody ever tell you to stay away from the light if some seriously bad shit goes down?”

“Alright Marian, it’s like this. Have you even bothered to ask yourself how you can go for days without food or water and not feel hunger? Or thirst? Have you slept since you began this walk? At all?”

Marian shook her head silently.

“No, and yet . . you’re not tired. In fact, your body feels more alive than ever. And you have no blessed idea why that is, and yet . . you won’t turn away. And you tell me not to follow that light, but what have you been doing?”

“I’m scared, Jacob,” Marian said.

“Here, take my hand. Nothing to be scared of, not anymore,”

“How can you be so sure?” She asked as they walked along hand in hand.

“I . . . I don’t know. But I am,”

They walked in silence as their feet brokered a hill painted in the mosaic of brimstone and water with magically incandescent plumes of moonlight showing them the way. When they arrived at the top they saw it. A manger down below with an ethereal light stealing out from inside of its humble structure. Their steps became more certain as they moved closer to discovery, and then Jacob stopped in his tracks.

“What?” Marian asked.

“It’s . . . beautiful,” Jacob said as he began to cry.

“Let’s go see,” She said.

Silent Night

North Star

They sit on the top of a hill overlooking Bethlehem. The air is thick with frost but they are warmed by the light of a single star. Vonnegut, Hendrix and Van Gogh spin on the prayers that are being answered inside a manger down below.

” . .  so there I was, watching this butterfly weave its sacred messages into thin air . .  and I just wept for the miracles that happen inside the quiet . .” Vonnegut says.

“You sure have a funny way of talking,” Jimi laughs.

“And you have a funny way of wearing that suit. And old Vincent here has a funny way of painting stars. And what made us this? Believing. That’s what,”

“Yeah, but to believe . . and I mean to really believe is to know you’re gonna lose. And that’s what makes it the most beautiful thing in the world. Because you do it anyway,” Jimi says as a tear runs down his cheek.

“Being born is losing. The minute you’re born into this world, you start losing things. You lose innocence and teeth, friends and lovers and car keys and memories and recipes. But you keep waking up anyway . . .” Vonnegut says.

“And it’s called faith. Like my paintings of farmers, who worked the lands of their mothers and fathers with the intent to make miracles happen,” Van Gogh observes.

“To think, there came a day when we got too smart for our britches. It seems that progress can be a four letter word if you let it run wild on you. And that’s the sticky part of the label, really . . . the idea that we became too smart to believe in the things we could not see,” Vonnegut says.

“Well, I could have told them differently. If my music taught me anything, it was to believe in that which you cannot see . . .” Says Hendrix.

“Because in the doing, this allows you to appreciate the things you can,” Vonnegut finishes, before digging into another memory. “As a young boy, I would sit in church and try to figure out why dressing up in suits and dresses stood for piety. To me, it was the moments nobody was looking at or preaching on that provided me with the proof of His existence. To me, God was speaking inside the shine of that thick varnish. To me, he was smiling inside the perfectly tweaked stained glass windows that allowed the sun to sing a million different songs,”

“And what did he say?” Jimi asks.

“Don’t take life so seriously,” Vonnegut laughs.

“Easy to say, much more difficult to live,” Van Gogh opines.

“Ah yeah Vincent, but it’s in the trying that you find your soul. I never wrote a song that didn’t write me first. The lyrics mothered me and the melody fathered me and I must’ve created a thousand songs just to get to the one that made vinyl,” Jimi says.

The three men contemplate the mysteries tucked inside a well spent moon as the wind sings in harmony with dragonflies and plums. The ground beneath their feet is a finely stitched applique of grass and soil and water, nipping at their heels with the infinite wisdom of the ages.

“So whaddaya say, fellas? Wanna go down there and see what all the fuss is about?” Vonnegut says whilst chewing on the moon with his eyes.

“I would very much like to stay right here and figure out that constellation,” Vincent says. “But it would take me a million years to figure out its math, but for that star . . that bold and valiant thing that floats on top of the heavens . . .”

“It’s calling to you too, huh?” Jimi says.

“Ah yes, the reason for all that heavy lifting God was doing . . once upon a time,” Vonnegut says before turning to his friend. “What about you Jimi? You in?”

“I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” Jimi smiles.

 

 

 

 

The Miracles In Asking Nicely

Peace and goodwill to all will begin its annual manifestation not too long from now. And for the next twenty four hours, we’ll get cooking on the better ideas of a day. Things like love, peace and friendship will prevail. And we’ll be really good, or at least better at all the little things that matter. Maybe it’s because Christmas asks us nicely, I don’t know.

But it’s always a good idea to pay attention to small sample sizes, seeing as how great big things come from somewhere. So if we abide to its supple plea with earnest and open souls, then maybe we’re not nearly as fucked as we think. Maybe those other three hundred and sixty four days of the year have a better chance than we ever imagined possible.

Maybe tomorrow is a calendar day that bears a remarkable resemblance to your best friend in the world. Yanno, the one who believes in you so bloody much that if you came to them with a body in the trunk . . well, they’d fetch the shovels, lime and a bottle of something 80 proof. Because maybe when you’re busy dwelling on your worst qualities, Christmas day sees the best of who you really are. There is a definitive spirit to such a thing as that. And that spirit is a gift, given to us in a small sample size that promises bloom. If we ask nicely.

Merry Christmas