the sounds of echoes…and then….

There’s a sound that a pick-axe makes when it’s plunged into the earth and dragged back out again; it’s the sound of metal opening the history of our lives, slamming into our powdery souls with a thick ferocity of hefted weight and muscle and sinew and limb…a stretching of cloth and skin in the arc toward the heavens of the steel head and hardwood handle singing through the air…and the slight visceral grunt as it lands with that freighted slice and drive through soil and rock, echoes cleaving the dust and clay that is ourselves and then…

there’s a sound that a saw makes when its teeth rip through the fibers of wood and brush; it’s the sound of a serrated blade slicing into our fingers or hands, driving through the cells of meat and unto bone…fine or rusted edges of metal rending our woody flesh, tearing it neatly into pieces that we hone and fit and hammer back together into other forms that cover and shelter us against the elements and gods; we take it with our hands and break it into pieces that will warm us or feed us, sometimes with the muted, wet splaying of green wood that wouldn’t break cleanly…like joints pulled backwards against nature and form…or with the sharp echoes of cracking branches and bones that flee into time and then…

there’s a sound that a scythe makes when it passes through grass and the wheat of the field; it’s the sound of an icy razor lifted and throwing light back at the sun, of muscles on shoulders and hips swaying in a life-rhythm and a whisper through the air and a shhhhhh through the grass as cell membranes burst against the blade and green it in its passing, dust and skin and grass and stem, seed-heads swaying in the breeze of man and his motion, aloft in the sky and a shhhhhh to the ground, the echoes of sunshine and air falling on the riching earth and then…

there’s a sound that flesh makes when it tears in that moment of thrust and climb, of muscle pounding into a hallowed cave; it’s the sound of hinge-less doors opening beneath a fusing flood of life and stranded helices, recombinant forms and particles charging, of a new pulse rising in a hidden place, one cell beating and beating…becoming…that time draws forth as it rips again, that sacred fleshy vault, echoes of life and death in a moment’s strain…and then…

there’s a sound that a house makes when it no longer harbors life within; it’s the sound of a derelict wind stealing through empty window panes and hollow echoes fading into the oblivion of lost time and then, memories disappearing like vapors drawn, weak flashes in smiles and tears, images forming and fading as sunlight passes through dust motes hanging…and when the moon finds night-time corners…sliding feet on worn boards, oil from hands on banisters evaporating molecules at a time, riding the ether of ever and gone, echoes of laughter and pain, no longer anchored with heartbeats away…echoes no longer anchored with heartbeats away…and then….

***Photo used with permission by Gary D. Bolstad at Krikitarts.  The photograph was taken along the side of the road somewhere in Minnesota when Gary was returning home after a vacation in the woods.  I encourage you to visit Gary’s site to share in his beautiful photography that demonstrates his love and fascination with our natural world.


22 responses

  1. An interesting piece of writing Scott. Sound accompanies us in everything we do, I suspect those of us that hear well take it all for granted. Excellent.

    August 3, 2012 at 9:37 am

    • Thank you, Chillbrook…and yes, sound is there in everything that we do and most of us probably take it for granted…. Allen, from New Hampshire Garden Solutions below, has a unique perspective….

      August 4, 2012 at 6:50 pm

  2. Passionate amazing written expression Scott… Held my breath for a few ~ especially at the end.
    … Yes – it’s the sounds – and ‘the words’ I agree. Enjoyed this a lot 🙂 ~Robyn

    August 3, 2012 at 9:51 am

    • Thank you, Robyn…very nice words from you, too…. 🙂

      August 4, 2012 at 6:51 pm

  3. I recently had an ear operation that restored the hearing in one of my ears after hearing only silence with it for close to 30 years. Hearing in stero again was amazing after so long-I hadn’t realized what I had been missing-but everything was so LOUD now. When I’m stuck in traffic or surrounded by humans all wanting to talk at once I almost wish I could turn that ear off again, but then I step into the woods and hear the birds and realize what a foolish thought that is.

    August 3, 2012 at 11:53 am

    • I can only begin to imagine your situation, Allen. While I am very happy for you and your time in the woods, I understand the overwhelming nature of noise very well, so can imagine that it would be magnified many-fold for you. Thank you for sharing your insight….

      August 4, 2012 at 6:53 pm

  4. Me

    No one, No ONE writes like you. You are brilliant and gifted. Astonishing, really, given that I picked you out when you were just a boy, not knowing you were also a miracle. MORE!

    August 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    • Such precious words, Lori Kim…thank you….

      August 4, 2012 at 6:54 pm

  5. Wow. Sometimes you just leave me speechless…

    August 3, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    • Thank you, Miss Gunta…very much….

      August 4, 2012 at 6:55 pm

  6. We heard the sounds and we connected with your thoughts………. they are shared experiences of a shared world. Your words flow like a great outpouring…… poetic and thought provoking. Quite brilliant. Thanks Scott.

    August 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    • Thank you, dear John…for your kind words…for being here.

      August 4, 2012 at 6:59 pm

  7. Love the beautiful tonal range and mystery in this image; your words are of equal tonal range, Scott. So beautiful.

    August 4, 2012 at 11:11 am

    • It is a beautiful image, Karen…and yes, so full of mystery. I was very touched that Gary would invite me to write something to accompany it.

      Thank you for your kind words….

      August 4, 2012 at 7:05 pm

  8. Nice piece, you write well.

    August 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    • Thank you, Mike…and I hope you don’t mind, but I deleted the part about Taryton ciggies…didn’t seem to go with Gary’s photo…. 🙂

      August 4, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      • Of course, and you should have. No worries, just wanted you to see it, however misplaced.

        August 4, 2012 at 6:58 pm

        • Thank you, friend….

          August 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm

  9. What a wonderful piece of writing. It’s been a looooong time since I read anything that transported me clean out of myself into another being, time and place. Really beautiful.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:09 am

    • Hello Noeline…such nice words…thank you. And thank you for visiting, too…and for letting me know you were here. 🙂

      August 9, 2012 at 6:43 am

  10. Beautiful work, Scott. I thank you for rising to the challenge so eloquently. How very nice to work with you!

    August 11, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    • Thank you, again, Gary, for your kind words…and I have enjoyed working with you, as well. It has been a nice little project. 🙂

      August 12, 2012 at 6:55 am

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