Cricket song rises with the waning moon as tender leaves swirl in the slight current and eddies beneath the low-hanging trees…a snake slithers cross-wise over the river making tiny ripples that ride slowly away, lost in the reflection of that fading moon.
I suppose I didn’t know I even existed until the day his mom asked how he thought I felt laying out there in the rain. I didn’t exist as something that could feel or be aware until that moment, so I didn’t and wasn’t, but that reference changed everything for me…and I still don’t know if that’s good or bad; is it a curse or a blessing to suddenly know that one exists or is, to have a sense of being, to know when one is being ignored or noticed, neglected or attended to…or forgotten?
I have fleeting thoughts and ideas enter and pass through my consciousness or awareness and I have started to feel things with my physical self, as well as my inner or cognitive self…if that’s possible for me to do. I understand what it means to be alone, to feel something or someone draw near; I grasp the idea of “used to be” and “what if” and know there is significance in these pairings of words. I used to belong to someone…what if he came back for me? I used to matter, to be important, to be remembered…what if I never am again…what if this is to be the way things are for the rest of my “life…” until I fade away again into the nothingness that enveloped me when my awareness was naught. Or…what if I am found again, wanted again; what if I am desired again, my presence cherished again, if I am cared for again…what if those things happen again? I will continue to be aware, to belong, and to be a part of…to be.
Many days and longer ago…there were colored balloons and streamers and several, small cone hats, more for show than necessity, as the one being celebrated was not so little anymore and had no need for such things. His mother and sister decorated the trees and bushes and fold-up tables to play with his gaining years and the ones left behind…they lovingly mocked his approaching young-manliness and a hoped-for sense of responsibility that just might blossom…any day now. Friends gathered with family, laughing, playing, making a little feast of sausages and rolls with spicy mustard, hot potato salad, and chips, too…tradition brought the chocolate cake and hand-cranked, peach and strawberry ice-cream, buckets of it that had been kept cold in the shaded water running near-by….
The day progressed and shadows grew long with the moving sun…adult voices quieted in the hush of approaching evening as their little ones slowed in their running about…after they chased bits of wrapping paper that had rolled and fluttered across the sand, caught in the breeze…and balloons bobbed-about, still tied to their anchors…minus the one that was loosed from a little hand and went sailing away. I heard goodbyes spoken in the falling dusk and car-doors closing, bright yellow and orange honking from horns that reached into the gray light and caused heads to turn…hands to raise in their waving…the glare of headlights pointing down the roadway…thank you again…see you soon…echoes fading.
The boy and his family all climbed into the pick-up truck, one by one…and drove away…with a shiny, new bicycle in the back…a gift from his Opa…
Photograph used with permission by Gary D. Bolstad of Krikitarts.
Thank you again for the challenge, Gary…for the invitation to participate in the sharing of your beautiful photography.
This is a “story about what’s on the other side of that door….”
There is a new lock on my door again. It is my door, yes, as I’m the one inside and the one who keeps removing the locks every third day or week or month or so, whenever a new one appears. I hide them, tuck them away, attach them to a chain, actually, that is hanging from the rafters in the hidden recesses of the loft, back where the roots from the ancient roof-top garden have pushed through the wood and seek the ground that isn’t there, back where the water from the soaking rain drips in blackened drops of soot and earth and anguished souls. Light hits them sometimes, the locks…at certain hours of the day and in the middle of the night, too, as the full moon shines through the crumbling mortar cracks in the wall. Their absence causes minds to wonder and worry, quickens steps from my doorposts and into the hedges and beyond, out into the gardens beneath the palms and evergreens, among the rolling hills and moss-covered stone-work walls where I used to play with…where I used to play.
I don’t receive many visitors here, just the feeble-minded grandmother of the Earl who claims to hear footsteps in the straw. It must be my rasping breath or the whispering echoes of my fading heartbeat that she hears, for I dare not move when she’s near. Years ago, I rattled a can to scare her away, but that only brought more visitors in the form of the Earl and his wife…and the magistrate, too. They conferred, as wise ones will, and sought the company of the parish priest. He sat and wondered and mumbled against the aging bricks beneath the post…and he thought he heard a nothing that was really something as it brushed against his shin. It’s nothing, said the friar to the Earl, nothing but the wind and a…maybe….. Yes…like that, it’s nothing. The Earl and his wife remained distressed and the grandmother remained convinced that it was footsteps in the straw. They sought those above, as those above will do, they sought those above the parish priest and then the bishop after that. I touched the friar’s robe, when they visited, and scoffed at the bishop’s crown as they offered their hollow words to the Miasma that faded into the ether at Galileo’s waking.
Children know I’m here, of course, as children will know such things…as children will know such things and remain away, and remain away or seek me out on the darkest nights with torches out against the shadows and webs of fright that hang in the corners. They know without knowing sometimes and feel my breath upon their cheeks as I whisper and tell them to go, to leave, and to leave me alone. I don’t want to hurt or scare them, but I want them gone. I don’t want their light tread upon the straw to remind me of other little ones who used to do so before the blazing night…I want them to be away and away.
It was a frosted night and achingly cold with a withering moon when red flames licked the slow-moving clouds. I stood there shivering, only steps away from the oven of my misdeeds, away from the murderer’s weapon that it became within quick seconds of rage and regret in the spilled and boiling blood of those hidden away unknown. Nigh unto three centuries hence, I still hear their short and tiny cries, the hairs on my neck and arms rise with only a thought. So I hide here and away, a stone’s throw from the still standing crematory of an ancient and vine-covered castle. It is a crypt and a memorial, a living nightmare of anguish that still smolders on an icy night as little bones crumble into the dust of time and away, forgotten and missed in grief, they are embers in my eyes and scalding irons on my heart…for I never confessed what I knew. It wasn’t the laundress who caused the blaze…it was me, the gardener’s son.
***Photo used with permission by John M. Smith at Life, Photography & Other Mistakes. The photograph was taken at Castle Kennedy & Gardens in Dumfries, Scotland. Please visit John’s blog to share in his beautiful photography…and the website for Castle Kennedy & Gardens to learn more about their true history.
He snapped alive with a sulfurous urging in his hallowed place, reflecting then on those around him. He pondered, considered, and postulated about what they and he might be. “What am I that, or who, is able to exist only softly, attached for life to my waxen, wick-ed anchor, knowing only what…I don’t know. Of what am I comprised? What constituent parts have been arrested to make my whole? What molecules render me soft enough to flee like a thought in a slight breeze? What have I to do, but to live and reflect? Who is to know? Who.
In a dark room, were I to be placed upon a post to shine from its center, would I be as bright as if I were placed next to a mirror at the side of the room, with only half of my light being real and shining as from my soul? Is that solitary, yellow dart of my being enough to light in half, though reflected, as though from that post in the middle of the otherwise dark room? What design orders this? Why do I live only anchored here and not aloft in the sky? Why do those around draw away from me as if in fear of harm?
I am a solitary, gilded whisper of light, shining upon those from whom I am ordered, without will, or otherwise. My stepward cousins and unrelative conflagrations burn with an unintelligible force, magnified and multiplied beyond reason, my small frame. What soft caress would touch my delicate skin? What gentle lace would adorn me? In the place of never-thought would it live beyond my kiss. It is unknown. For it is, and not being. If a scientist were to analyze my being, would he find only the mist of paraffin, or the shadowing remnants of tallow, rendered from the fatted calf? What am I? And why does my touch bite? I cannot win friends; I cannot feel the embrace of another. If I am drawn nigh unto my own kind I am lost and shall never be regained unto myself. Am lost.”
This is a Favorite Repost from September, 2009.