The Root of Toggle's Questions
Toggle sidled up next to his fifth-great-grandfather, and after a few minutes sitting on the root of the pine, gazing out at the whales, the nine year old asked, “Grand Pauly? I have another question about the world before the Veil fell?”
His fifth-great-grandfather didn’t respond right away. This thick moment, before even simple answers, was one of the ways Toggle could tell how old Grand Pauly really was. And how he moves of course, like he creates gravity like the reactors in the spaceships.
The ageless elder, Paul Tamar loved the name that had slipped out of Toggle’s mouth a few years back. Eight generations for a kid to think up such a natural iteration of ‘Grandpa.’
Paul’s gaze took in the sparkle of waves from horizon to horizon, the pulse of the shorebirds, the breathing of Earth. Without turning, he asked the boy, “Toggle, didn’t you and your mom fly to the museum yesterday?”
Little Toggle bumped against Grand Pauly and said, “But you were actually there.”
Then they both sat for a while. Toggle had learned a lot about patience from the old wizard, so he waited until Grand Pauly spoke again.
“Did you fly on Carter?”
“Yeah” Toggle answered.
“Is she better?”
“A lot. She found some really good fish down at the delta, her feathers look really healthy.”
Toggle pulled some seeds out of his pocket and whistled to the robin that had just landed on the branch a few feet up from him. It hopped to his leg, then to his hand.
“Grand Pauly, why do you love animals so much?”
Paul took in the boy and the robin. “Looks like you love them too.”
“Everyone loves animals,” Toggle laughed. “But you really, really love them.”
The old wizard chuckled with him a bit. “ I suppose I do.”
Paul reached up and pulled some more fresh needles from a branch and crushed them into his tea. He let it steep, then took a sip, enjoying the bitter heat, the lemony pine.
“Companionship Toggle.” He finally said, and after another sip, he asked, “What school are you in?”
“I just started the Adventure Years.”
“Have you been shown The Compass yet?”
“Yeah.” Toggle pet the fat little robin as it finished the last of the seeds.
“What does it tell?”
Toggle didn’t really want to get into this serious stuff, but he answered of course, “The Compass: Learn to connect deeper and treat all things as the great mystery.”
“Can you believe, little one, that I study this still?”
“We are all beautifully flawed Toggle.”
Toggle lifted the bird up to his shoulder and let it chew on his ear a bit. He hoped Grand Pauly wasn’t gonna wizard out too hard.
But then Toggle wondered, “But Grand Pauly, I’m trying to think of a single time you’ve messed up about anything, and I can’t think of one.”
Paul laughed out loud at this, a bright deep laugh that made Toggle giggle.
“Would you like to hear about a mistake I made yesterday at the Symp?”
“Yes please.” Toggle nodded.
“Well we had our first delegates arrive from Zeta Reticuli. Beautiful beings, but I made the mistake of being too reverent, which was a little embarrassing for our new friends. They’re still 4th Density creatures like we are now, but their planet evolved long before Earth, so they’re practiced and wise, and in my awe, I treated them more like our mentors from the 5th Density, than our brothers and sisters of the fourth.”
Toggle stretched his leg down and rolled a pebble around with the tip of his toe. “You treated them too nicely? That doesn’t seem like a mistake.”
Grand Pauly let the kid think about that for a moment, but when Toggle finally looked up with his eyebrows raised, Grand Pauly asked, “Would you want to be given honor that you’ve not earned?”
Toggle nods his head, “I understand now.”
“Yeah, It was a good mistake, our cultures got the opportunity to bond through the humor of it.”
Toggle looked at his fifth-great grandfather and tried to imagine not knowing about people from the stars. “What made the Veil fall?”
“Fall is more analogy, better to say the veil was removed.”
“Who removed it?”
“The Brilliant Ones.”
“Wow! Grand Pauly, have you ever seen one?”
“No, and I wouldn’t be able to see them even if I did.”
“Because they’re too bright to look at!”
“So it’s said about creatures from the next octave.”
“But you couldn’t see the Veil fall?”
“No, it’s not a visible thing. And it took many decades. Noone had any idea about the Veil or any of this, except perhaps a few rare wizards who saw the signs.”
After a moment when the wind swept round and tousled their hair, Toggle said, “I still don’t understand why the Veil would even be there though.”
Paul looked down at Toggle for the first time. Toggle became quiet and still and looked with wonder into the eyes of his fifth-great-grandfather. Then Grand Pauly smiled at him and turned back to the ocean.
“Being able to see beyond this one life seems only natural to me now as well, but this insight guides our choices, don’t you think?”
Toggle shrugged. “I guess I don’t really understand Grand Pauly.”
Paul took some time to ponder the best way to explain to Toggle, then he said, “Veils of Forgetfulness have two main functions. First, they cause the creatures who are born of the planet to forget everything they knew. Second, they keep people from other planets out. Do you see how these two functions might serve a similar purpose?”
“Well I suppose our family from the stars could have come and told us about everything and then that would sort of go against the whole forgetting thing?”
Toggle grinned really big, he was only just beginning to understand when Grand Pauly talked about big things.
“But do you know why it was important that we were kept in ignorance of our origins, of The Compass?”
Toggle tried hard to find an answer, and even scrunched his eyes up for a minute, but finally he admitted, “I guess I don’t.”
“Total free will.” Grand Pauly slowly said. “The Veil offers total free will, so that unguided by the truths of our galaxy, we could make our own choice. In the 3rd Density, everything is a choice, people are free to believe anything they want to believe.”
“Can you tell me a story now?”
Paul grinned, he was still trying to figure out how much the young ones of these times were able to grok the great story of our galaxy.
“What do you want to hear about today Toggle?”
“Plastic! Tell me about Plastic! But start the way you always start, cause it’s scary.”
Grand Pauly chuckles. “All right, little one. Ready?”
Paul moved his toes around and felt the grass, and thought back to running in sneakers as a kid through the old concrete and steel cities. He imagined slowly crumpling a plastic bottle in his hands. Then he glanced down again at Toggle, and thought about how lucky the boy is to be born into such beautiful times.
Then he began his story.
“Before the Veil fell and we slowly remembered, before the Veil fell and we met our brothers and sisters of the stars, before the Veil fell and we began to heal, we thought that the world was dying, and we thought that it was our fault.”