They

They were Beautiful,” The man gazed into the dust and ruin as they walked, “You remember what I taught you about beauty?”

“You said it used to be everywhere,” The boy looked at his dusty feet and repeated words he’d heard his whole life, “And even now, we can still find it in most places; if we look hard enough.”

“That’s right. It didn’t used to be so hard to find though; and they spent their whole lives sliding on its surface, swimming though it, dancing and playing like the shimmering smooth dolphins of the ocean: You’ve seen pictures of the dolphins in your books.”

“Tell me again about them.”

The man and the boy walked on.

They lived in the old world. They ate food that grew from the ground. They drank water that fell from the sky; but so did everyone then. They walked on top endless stretches of white clean frozen water, through towering forests, green and connected with life, even under the frozen water: You’ve seen forests in your books.”

“Most people on earth then lived their whole lives in cities, running in circles and collecting numbers in a giant system that controlled everything. It decided who lived and died, where people lived, who ate and who starved. Most people spent so much time looking for numbers that they had never seen real beauty except on a screen that connected them to the system or behind the glass of their transportation machines. That was part of the problem.”

They cared more about the beauty than the numbers. In their system, those who danced best with the beauty, or captured images and stories of the beauty got the most numbers. They trained their bodies and their minds to find the beauty and to dive into it: to be inside it. They climbed mountains where the air surrounding them was clean and clear. Imagine air so pure you could see through it; invisible. You could breath it into your lungs. It filled you with life instead of death. They slid down the mountains fast: faster than you can imagine; through the clean perfect air and pure white frozen crystals of water. When they reached the bottom they screamed and celebrated. In the old world you could see the moon almost every night: You’ve seen the moon in your books. They made fires and howled to the moon rejoicing or calling for more perfect crystals to fall from the sky. When it was dark they danced and loved below the mountains. They tried to become one with the earth, with the universe. They told stories and shared images of dancing with the beauty. They flew through the perfect cold air off of piles of stones and dove deep under the crystals. They slid silently down mountainsides and through their ancient forests and let the crystals part around their bodies: fast, faster than you can imagine. They are forgotten now and even in the old world most people didn’t understand them or how they lived but they were beautiful.”