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.
“…somewhere between here and somewhere else.” I finally saw the cat again, but haven’t seen the old man lately…and have never seen them together. Could he/they be shape-shifting…? Please see the earlier post to make at least half-sense of what I’m writing about here. “a green house on the corner”
Did you ever ask your mom or dad what made that sound, that some kind of something that went “bump” in the night when all the lights were out and everyone was supposed to be in bed? I think I might have found him…lurking ‘neath the bushes alongside a vintage motorcycle that was parked in the front-yard of an old farmhouse…way out in the country where the hants live and walk about on moonlit nights….
It was day-time and I was just passing-by, so who can say where he was headed…who can offer where he might be tip-toeing tonight…?
I will grant that this is an unusual reference for the literal substance that will follow in the photos, but I was struck by the parallel when looking at the images by themselves. The forming ice actually has the appearance of cells…me thinks…and the accompanying photo array demonstrates the allegory or likeness of life forming in a womb.
If the page you are viewing has the graffitied water chute with the beautiful ice formations in the header photo, the “nursery” for these ice babies is located toward the far right side of that picture, at the bottom of the smaller water fall…
I suppose I should add a photo of the graffitied chute in case it doesn’t randomly appear when you’re viewing the page…so here it is…or a large portion of it…the part that I’m referring to anyway….
…and then this is the close-up of the nursery itself….
This next photo has the appearance of the inside of a fallopian tube where the wonder of fertilization takes place…you can almost imagine the cilia inside the tube pushing the little egg along on its journey…
…and these could be little ice cells dividing and making more of themselves, stem-cells that differentiate into their programmed forms…
…with the mass developing into tissues that will flesh-out the body in whole…
…until we can see it in embryo-form…
…and lastly the little buds where the limbs will grow…
…or maybe not…but that’s what came to My mind the first time I looked at the photos.
I woke from a troubled sleep, an uneasy rest, a mid-day slumber after a morning of hard work. I didn’t remember how I got to where I was when the fog of sleep left me, but I felt as though I had been transported somewhere, to some other place and odd. My body sensed that it had been enveloped and moved, taken whole from a place in my past and brought into a place new and unknown. My eyes opened from their unrest and I beheld strange objects, both near and far. The sun was askance and out of its normal place, for shadows moved and danced and were moving still as I stared about and they weren’t in their regular place, either, the shadows weren’t, and then.
I looked around and rubbed my eyes and heard and felt a thing above me, like a thing there and not. It was a presence almost, an electric whir, an electric hum, a tingling somehow and a scattering in the air. “Someone is there,” I said, and “Hey…hello?! Hello?! It’s me; yes, I’m here! Hello?!” I heard myself say those things in my mind, but didn’t hear them with my ears. I did feel a mighty presence, like I said, something or someone more powerful than I, something that caused the air about me to move and swirl, to sing almost in a whooshing Hey. It moved and was gone; it moved and was gone; it moved and….
I wanted to move, too; I wanted to rise and walk around, but something held me fast; it was tight and across my chest and the light was bright still from the sun and sun and it reflected in a prism-like glare as though it was shining through cracks and splinters of glass and then. And that thing was still there, too, that presence and moving something that made me feel small and raised the hair on my neck and charged the air with a static pulse and pulsing.
Was it Him, was it that childhood thing, was it that mover from above, that ever-present something that stirred within, but came from without? I didn’t know; I didn’t care in those moments there; I only wanted the next moment to come so I might be away and awake and alive and somewhere else.
As I tried to rise again, I felt the earth start to move beneath my feet, from deep within the ground maybe, or not so far as that, but close and still. I felt the ground start to quake from beneath my soul, from beneath everything that I knew and that thing or someone was still above me and then a scream crashed through; it was sharp and severe and it screeched into my bones and my brain and I screamed out loud, “Yes, I am here, and here, and what do you want…?” as the thing screamed back at me and the earth shook and still and the thing moved above me and whooshed in a feathered crush and hard and rough and then it moved again and the scream again and the earth moved beneath and within me again and the cells of my bones rattled and I closed my eyes and tried to hide from that unknown thing that I didn’t know, but felt in my soul and body core, that spirit, that god, that reckoning thing, that thing that screams and has no mover…it was the end of time, maybe, or even the beginning, too, I didn’t know.
I rubbed my eyes again and looked around again and shook my head and turned around and around as much as I could again and I was still held there and was taut or tied or something. I looked for anything I knew, maybe a person, too. I strained and saw near and behind me a little face with rounded cheeks and gray-green eyes; a little man or boy, and smiling at me…and he pointed there, out and away from me, from us…and he said…
“Hey Dad, look at the train!”
There is a green house on the corner between here and somewhere else that appears to be a remnant from an earlier time; it is not alone, though, as its neighbors are similarly styled and worn. This house is of a faded green and has golden frames around the windows and doors and bears the same color along the roof trim and on its decorative and side-ways awning. The colors, faded and stark as they are, remind me of certain football uniforms from a high-school in my past. The boys who wore them were fast and young and full of new life and the house seems staid and tired, like a left-over, as I said, from an earlier time.
Around the front and side of the green house is a green and slatted fence, vertical boards of like hue and wear that hold a gate in their center grasp, a gate that is often left open to swing with the breeze or storm of a particular afternoon. I have passed this house and yard and fence innumerable times over the past year and then, and have only seen as occupant of the property, an oldish-looking gray tabby cat. I have seen this cat some several times, but have only seen him resting in the deep grass near a grated basement window. It was long grass, and green, too, with a richness that might shame the green of the house if an old coat of paint could feel such a thing. Anyway, the tabby usually lay there in the late morning or early afternoon sun with his eyes closed and his ears pivoting or twitching at the sounds of my passing on the nearby sidewalk.
It has been some while since I’ve seen the cat, though I walk or pass by the green house still frequently. I have not seen him there by the basement window with the gold and faded window arch of squared or molded brick; I’ve not seen him walking past the opened gate or curled up on the welcoming door mat as cats sometimes do, nor have I seen him sitting on the inside windowsill licking a paw or rubbing his ears as cats I have known have done.
When I passed that old green house today, on the corner between here and somewhere else, there was an old man with gray hair and green pants standing in the yard watering a skinny tree, a bush, or some other such living thing on this sometimey summer morning. He was a tall old man with long and wirey arms that were covered to a moderate degree with thinning old-man gray hair. As the tall old man stood there with the gray hair on his head and long arms, with a green hose in his hand, he was facing the sun with his eyes closed. I noticed that he didn’t open them as I passed, but slightly turned his head so he could better hear me in my passing.
I wonder if the tall old man used to be the oldish-looking gray tabby cat that I haven’t seen for so long…I do wonder so.
There is that other place, that other realm, that inside curve on the edge of a hidden thought in a different something where the conscious mind travels to and from, migrating there and back as moments allow, as lucid instances of concentration escape their purposeful attachment to what is at hand and demanding a sorted and sort of focus and attention. Imagination and day dreams intersperse the required attentions and monotonous happenings between the wonderings of either and when, running clock and otherwise in free-falling moments of risk and fantasy and desire and what-ifs and then. The phone rings or a person is suddenly there, materializing out of their own thoughts, instantly demanding something of a mind and consciousness that is traveling on another plane, living and wandering in a place that is unattached to the present, existing in a future that is unknown and daunting and hopeful and defined in a dreamscape of glowing mountains and rippling streams and greens that exist in the artist-philosopher’s imagination as possibilities in another world, or a perfect one, or in another dimension in his thought or mine. To exist in that other place and time, to live within or among those other boundless boundaries that define what isn’t yet, but longed-for…this is what fulfills and informs the moment…this is the spirit or soul that treads the paths of the wandering mind…maybe….
I like that hidden one-some who sneaks his face into the mirror and moves just a bit faster than my reflection should. Double-take. Then he moved slower than I. He is there, beyond the glass in recognition, just making that barely noticeable twitch, itch, move; awake and know. There. The frightened one stood imperceptible upon the edge.