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Sunday, May 20, 2012

...and On

~The path hemmed and hawed its way through tree lined latticework, mountain laurels and magnolias, bloodroot and bluet crowding for space in the meandering dirt and stone strewn expanse. Larger rocks and stray boulders some cleaved in two stricken perhaps by lightening or from earths great hellish heaving’s during some long ago terrestrial cataclysm and then pitched down the hillsides hither and yon to stand randomly like sentries from another world. Marauding old and twisted knees and elbows of larger trees broke up and through the surface of the lane as if requesting help, pleading their case.

An occasional glimpse through wrecked and fallen timbers displaced a thick and gauzy haze exploding heavenward from out of the earth itself, silent, erect and vertically swirling, smoke-like apparitions, the ghosts of morning dew, damp fire pouring forth from the dawn of the newly baptized day, as if the mountains themselves were aflame and retching out some demented and forsaken anguish.

The beaten trail worked its way through the densely forested mountains up and down breaking left and right so abruptly at times it seemed to be creating its own unique glyphs on the surface of the hillside, writing prose that no one save aliens could cipher.

Wild birds braked and belched forth from behind fallen lichen and moss fluted logs as if flung out of the worm festered loam and scattered skyward to look abruptly earthward in speculation at some ghastly miasma upon the downward scape.

Great infestations of flying insects swirled haphazardly about creating gray and transparent curtains, gnats and no-see-ums, mosquitoes, horseflies the size of half dollars, spotted moths with great cat’s eyes painted on their diaphanous wings. An intermittent ground squirrel labored away collecting meaty shelled parcels from beneath the crashed down limbs of fallen oaks.

The grisly half eaten remains of some obscure beast wedged up under the scree of a large bolder, it’s gnarled head gazing out towards the path as if requesting assistance which had never arrived, its final story earmarked here forever a mystery, its only witness long since vanished back into the thicket.

The trail stretched on and on for uncounted miles its history rich and much forgotten. Its recent travelers mostly of the four legged or no legged variety and seldom seen by the men who now used it for hiking or jogging. These hikers and joggers themselves really no more than local touristry steadfast in their belief in some notion of regional sustainability and their own godlike stewardship towards it as if the land needed some divinely human saving from itself. Like penitents seeking their own salvation through the saviorship of that which came before them and would ultimately see them dead beneath, their ecclesiasticlike musings shuttered beneath the grounds which they had the audacity to think themselves the wiser of.

 In times gone by Creek and Cherokee had scrambled up and down these forested highways in search of food and wood for their fires. The ancients before them a disremembered and alien lot, savages, ill clothed hooligans from another time, disheveled and as animal like as the species that they scavenged for in the surrounding woodland. Skirmishes fought with rocks and staffs of hardwood, sharpened flint stone and animal thighbones. Territory battles, their outcomes long ago decided, had raged up and down the beaten way since time forgotten.

 This the newest Age of Modern Man now seemingly at the helm and much like the savages before him certain in the knowledge that his stewardship the cleverest of the Lot. Time and weatherworn these thoroughfares which were carved out of their terrestrial pinning’s took hold and many a man and beast who’d trodden there before and would surely come later mused about their bitter place upon the land,  their role, what their great contribution should be. The legacy of the land was the land itself and the people and animals who traversed the plane of it were but a blemish, some eruption of activity to be tolerated until some newer Epoch emerged from the chaos left behind from that which came before it still.

….On and On and On again~

Thursday, May 17, 2012

...The Old Man

~The Old man snatched up his cards and ferried them broadways across the table to the dealer. He’d stayed long into the night and the time to leave this place had long since passed. He scooped up the tokens that were his and counted them out stacking them orderly by color and pushing them forward towards the man whose shack he and the rest had been sharing the evening with. The host recounted the stacks setting them back neatly into the stained  and leathered box that housed the chips and cards along with an old worn Texas Instruments calculator he’d used to total up the dividends of many an evening past spent.

The host tallied up the count and uncoupled the hasp of the old cigar box that he’d used to ferret away the notes and coins which the players had traded for earlier in the evening and as necessary throughout the game. He pulled out a small sheaf of bills and a handful of assorted pocket change and handed the folded notes and coins to the old man. The old man crumpled up the evenings take and pushed it all into his pocket. He lifted his lighter and cigarettes from the place where he’d sat and ushered them away into his clothing as well. He thanked the host and the other players still seated around the table and rose to take his leave.  

The night air greeted him as he stepped to the walk leading down the hill from the shanty house. An ocean wind serried and rocked about his ankles blowing sand and cut sedge grass from out of the yard as he made his way down the path. Seabirds and crickets called out softly before him beckoning him forth into the darkness.

Setting out on foot beyond the broken and crumbled concrete paving’s he headed east towards the dunes. The moon had ridden high up into the vault and the Pleiades shone brightly above Orion as the heavenly objects in the firmament spun downward in their declination towards the rim of the earth itself. Wild oats and sea grass hissed and chaffed as he descended the roughhewn narrow boardwalk that cut its swale across and out over the combs. The strand was broad and solemn and lay out before him his path dimly lit by the light cast down from the orbits in the breach above.

He walked on at an unhurried pace the sound of the crests breaking along the hard packed sands thundering their arrival upon the shores and the slurry of their recession back into the sea carrying along with it sand and aggregate bits of shell signaling their endless return, waters forever giving and receiving back and forth throughout all of eternity droning on and on their ceaseless hellos and goodbyes delivering parcels from beneath the waves and depositing their secrets upon the apron of the world.

He ratcheted a cigarette up and out of his pack and cupped his hands around his lighter to fetch off the wind. The day yet lay ahead approaching somewhere from behind him in the heaving spin of the planet.

He walked on for some time before he sat and removed his over shirt placing it beneath him a barrier against  the grit and fine scrabble, the sea breeze carrying with it  a light mist blowing leeward, an empty chill in the salted air and everywhere all about him a hushed silence like some promenade of despair.

He reclined back his knees pulled skywards and perpendicular to the earth his vertical gaze toward the speckled void. The great expanse of the heavens above pierced the sparse and delicate cloud cover that lay out before him, some great unreckonable mystery. He closed his eyes and his thoughts drifted silently away the sound of the waves hypnotic Gods own metronome.

  Memories, glimpses of some former life long since passed floated before him, specters of former acquaintances, their voices, their faces unlined unscathed by the harshness of time forever placid and young, vibrant, carefree as if the earth itself could somehow stay  times ceaseless appraising of them. Haunting remembrances displaced and ageless like some atavistic and alien beings whose shapes, whose existences could only be memorialized by him.  A parallel imagination of sorts specific only to him, some inward and personal recollection of his own doing although real and mentally tangible as the night sky before him caressed his soul, soothed his spirit and carried him away towards some friendlier plane of interior awareness. 

... He drifted off.

The shifting distance between cognitive reality and dreamscape ebbed and flowed, like some tidal hyper reality ordained and baptized by life itself.  Images of time spent, of things done and undone forever sifting together seamlessly in the ether world of unconscious being.

He dozed. His dreams of better times, of times well spent with friends, with loved ones. Realities cobbled together with fantastic imagery, emergent possibilities that could only take place deep inside his very core. Hours past as days, as years even, in his reduced state of sub-cognitive awareness. Future histories made real and tangible only through deep slumber, only to become lost again though wakefulness and reclaimed later, perhaps in future dreams, only again to be disremembered and cast aside forevermore.

He awoke to the crashing sounds of the sea by which he lay prostrate and sprawled out on the sands just below the dunes. The sun had just begun its ascent, its broken shape articulated upon the waters blood red, burning, seething, making known its own timeless indisputable course.

He rose dusting off the granular chaff from his legs and ankles and shaking out his sleep wrinkled shirt. He stood and turned away from the water and made his way towards the dunes above. The dawn of a new day, a new chance, some unknowable set of possibilities lay out before him. He stepped forth and the earth beneath his feet hurtled out upon its own endless enduring course doing its best to keep pace with him.~