September 28th, 2009

Wake up, on the edge of a forgotten town. Weathered houses, fences, green grass overgrown. Silent except for the wind whistling through trees. A rusty hinge creaking softly on the edge of memory.

Step outside the front door, walking down the sidewalk. Avoiding cracks and potholes, stepping over long-lost tricycles. The fluorescent paint of childhood toys faded to pastel. Walk quickly, then jog, then run. Houses turn into a white and grey and brown blur, whizzing past. Looking for something, anything. Jump and don’t hit the ground. Take flight.

Up and out, past the town’s edge, growing even now distant in the green and brown. Water below. Traveling far and fast. Wind pushing up and in. Eyes squint against the whiteness of the wind. Majesty spread out, the vision unfolds. Forested and forbidden peaks, whitened cliffs. Pushing jagged against the broken horizon. Gliding past stormclouds, black heads of purpose tunneling past. Scattered drops of rain dampen hair, clothes, skin.

Moving towards distant land. The ice of wind’s current against the cheeks, the upper arms. One thousand pinpricks of sudden cold. And yet, joy. A smile forms, rising up from terror. From uncertainty. From underwater blue with sopping horror. Flying vibrantly, a whirl of bright color. Life in the honest wind and rain and brown and green. Rushing away, and up, and towards a distant shore. Below, miles below, shadows of clouds whisper past the ocean’s blue carpet. Soft and undulant, past the earth’s curve. Past everything.

Where? Here — a long and verdant coast, lined with maples and pine. Land and rest and recover. The soil warm against the soles of feet.

Climbing inland, uphill, pushing past vines and tall grass.  Over the last hill, a ridge towers above the trees. And the horror of what waits on the ridge!  A meeting of beings. Creatures. Things unknown, things secret and solemn. Hidden by crags and rocky spires. Obscured by inland fog. Bicycles and fences could never imagine. Electricity, no. Gasoline, computers, pianos and hotels, shopping carts and indoor pools, no!

Birdlike. Tall and red and black. Legs like blackened birch trees. They stare forward, resolute. Clutching elephantine fruit, apple-like, brown with dried humus.

Faces coated in black feathers. White eyes. Oh, the secret shore. Oh, these tall and terrible cliffs. This ridge.

But what lies past? What purpose?

Guardians. Keepers of a shelter past recall. A place of peace. Pushing forward quickly, on foot, rising up to meet the blackened things. Scared, yet purposeful, long strides pregnant with primal lust. They rise and stare. One of them upturns a long, black wing, coated in feather and tar. Points. Two others crouch, pick up a large woven basket. The rest pull the brown and red fruit from the basket and stare forward. Throwing the fruit like weapons.

Crashing sounds surround the ridge. Running faster, from branch to branch. Jumping, leaping on tree tops, each tree destroyed by the brown fruit. Sprinting now, dancing atop the highest leaves. A burning bridge left behind on the distant and grassy ground. One piece whizzes so close. The sound of it unearthly, the fruit somehow screaming of its own accord. Alive, insectile, swollen with black desire. The keepers howl from the ridge, closer still. Baying like dark wolves at some unknown satellite. The shrieking fills the world with sound. The void, the light of day, all things shut out with piercing cries. They say:

“You are awash in a vast sunless sky.

A bubble drifting through the air.

Your surface is endless, without flaw.

But you will pop and be gone all the same.”

At last! Gain the ridge and look down at what is there. The keepers turn away, forgotten, yielding to the rain and fog. Look down into the valley before the ridge. A deep bowl of slumbering green, sloping away to the deepest point. A calm pool sleeps there, sky blue with mineral and water wet. Surrounded by the tallest trees and sloping hills. Silent like the first day. Tiny drops of rain echo in the bowl of verdant green. Walk down. Slowly, do not fly or run. Feel the wet and damp between the toes. Connected. Feel the leaves and branches against the skin. Connected. The taste of rain against the nose and mouth. The smell of dirt and salt and rotten bark. The sight of ants making their home, of caterpillars munching on leaves. The sound of deer clomping in the soil. Sit at the pool and wait. Become.

A humming fills the valley’s bowl. Soft and sweet, filling every pore. Sing with it, sing deep and full. The valley’s song swells and soars. The trees and deer and ants all sing in key. The water hums a soft blue tune. The leaves cry and swoon and plead. The sun serenades the crescent moon. Join the song, forget the words. Life is but a dream. Float unseen, untouched, unheard. Gently down the stream.


Wake up, on the edge of a forgotten town.


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