The greatest of epics begins with a protagonist who is certain, or searching for certainty, or coming into the interest of certainty.

They are certain, or searching for certainty, or coming into the interest of certainty.

And in their righteousness, or boldness, or blindness, they move through the world until they are caught by love.

They are caught by love. They are caught by love.

It can be a subtle love that grows and grows, or a sudden love that infatuates. It can be friendship, or family, or romance. But whatever it is, it changes them, holds them, and brings them greater joy than they ever thought possible. “For man is the joy of man.”

And Man is the Joy of Man, who is caught by love. Caught by love.

But they cannot relish that joy because something happens- a threat, or an opportunity, or a mission interrupts them and they embark.

A threat, an opportunity, or a mission. And they embark.

Off and away they go, with their love, or on behalf of them, or promising to return, and the story is spent in emotions good and bad, in certainty and uncertainty, with thoughts and intentions invariably circling around those loving relationships.

Off and away, around those loving relationships. Off and away.

Everything in the adventure is contextualised by the positions of those loved, relative to the external threats, or missions, or interruptions. And eventually, when the mission is said and done, the love is sought to be relished ever more, to be celebrated, to be embraced without obstacle.

For Man is the Joy of Man, who is caught by love. Caught by love.

But that is not what happens—at least, not for long. Just as the joy of reunification is expected to be experienced, just as the celebration begins, they lose that which they love entirely, and more permanently than before. Either reluctantly by their own hand, or by a vengeful external fate.

And more permanently than Before. They lose that which they love. And more permanently than before.

While losing a thing once unawares is hard enough, losing it twice after much perseveration and effort to regain it, is unbearable. And the pining that ensues by the protagonist or by the ones they loved, or both, is ever more dramatic and sorrowful.

Ever more dramatic and sorrowful. The Pining is Unbearable is both.

At some point, from the resulting debris of lamentation, an answer is sought for that loss. An answer, or justification, or promise that we all seek when love will inevitably leave us.

When love will inevitably leave us, an answer is sought for that loss.

But the protagonist often does not demand a mere purpose or reason for the loss- they demand that it be undone- or paid for. Because what could justify the loss of a joy so great as the joy of loving?

For Man is the Joy of Man, who is caught by love. Caught by love.

In the stories, perhaps the protagonist ends the tale here- by being humbled, or destroyed in their seeking of undoing fate, in their seeking of recompense.

Destroyed in their recompense.

Or by killing themselves or disappearing into place we’d be warned not to disturb.

We’d be warned not to disturb.

Or by returning to the lull of life as it was before love, or before the interruption, but being noticeably changed and broken.

Noticeably. Noticeably. Changed and broken. Noticeably changed and broken.

Or, perhaps, by seeking something that will fill the hole left by their loss.

An answer is sought that will fill the hole. The hole what is left by their loss.

A permanent mourning is the ending to the epic. Or else, a foreboding closes things out. Or, if the author is optimistic, a dreamed up impossibility is offered that somehow the protagonist attained a deserved state of joy or final reunification with their love, or a love greater.

A mourning, a foreboding, a deserved state. If the author is optimistic, a deserved state.

It is a state that we hope we could attain as well, something impervious to loss, and impossible to be snatched out from underneath of us.

Snatched from underneath of us. We hope. We hope. Snatched out from underneath of us.

And thus, the Epic is sung.

And thus, and thus. And thus, the Epic is sung.

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© 2018 Saying Sooth
Photo taken by Saying Sooth, Fall 2017.