Just a few more days. If I can hold out for just a few more days then the minutes carrying me up to that moment will be forgotten. I keep telling myself that. I don’t believe it. I can’t believe it. I’ve been here before, sat in this very same chair. I’ve watched and witnessed an eternity of failed attempt’s pass by. Nothing ever changes. Not even the name.
The Traveller sat dumbfounded. How was it he had managed to become lost in such a familiar world. The directions and landmarks had been worn like an old cow trail into his brain. Yet for some reason he had managed to make a misstep. The Traveller had become lost. Standing in one place and waiting for a rescue was not an option. Panic wasn’t an option either but it was going to be.
“What the fuck…”
Pat sat disinterested in the menu before him. The choices were many but the flavors they offered bland. The same old thing with the the same old spices. Pat was sick of the choices. Pat was ready to go somewhere new even if new was some greasy meal wagon in the slum side of town.
“Change would be worth a case of the shit’s’.
The Sage sat tensely in his seat. His body rigid, head bowed, forehead covered in sweat. On occasion the old scholar would let out a low groan, then catching himself making the noise, he would shift uneasily in his seat and clench his hands in pain. Before him sat a book opened to a grotesque drawing of the large intestine. A bookmark dutifully protecting his place.
From one of the dark and disembodied corners of the room a familiar voice was muttering.
I have been here always. Knelt before the same wooden altar. Bathed my mind beneath the ever shifting light of stained glass. I have read and pondered the stories that remain framed within those panels of glass.
They are glittering jewels that dazzle the eyes. Drawing the mind into the inner light that radiates out filling the void of the room beyond. Marble floor with the patterned grain of darkened stone tracing out it’s ancient markings from time long lost beneath the sea. Here in quiet remembrance the candles burn, and none but I know why.
The Watcher sat just beyond the doors of the great hall. The large metal rings which had been fastened as the doorhandles and knocker lay flaccid against the ancient wood. Their immense diameter and thickness making anyone’s hand look childishly small. No one as far as the Watcher knew had ever tried the rings to gain entrance to the rooms beyond. He had though witnessed the rare occasions when those within had swung open one of the doors to come out. Usually they emerged suddenly and in silence. The great doors hinges effortlessly giving way, and then with little effort reversing back to the closed position. It was during those random moments the Watcher was able to see the doors construction. Thick as a man’s forearm, and framed with metal bracing within. Definitely stout enough to slow any intrusion of people or sound. As for the room beyond it was shrouded in an eternal darkness, but at the distant end one could just make out a sparkling of jewels upon the floor and a dazzling wall of colored light. The Watcher imagined that between the brilliant glitter of jewels and blinding light a dark figure knelt silently. Any certainty on exactly what lay at the far end was to never be known by the Watcher. Some places he knew well enough to stay clear of. It’s just the way it is.
My mind wanders back to the day I sat watching the slow drifting mirages dance across the hot valley floor. Almost as a dream a desert goat appears munching on dry twigs and leaves. I silently watch as she moves on. Just like the petroglyph that lies close beside me of a goat and the blazing sun. Time immortal, I understand what life is about.
It has been a very long time since I sat staring out the coffee shop window. The last time it had been a rainy day just like today. A full blown gully washer that causes the culverts to back up. On a day like today everything definitely floats down there…
The sky is just one solid sheet of Paynes grey. No white clouds to mark a boundary between the blue above.
Just me and the rain going about or days unchanged.
“I’ve been here before. Sitting in this same room, staring at these same four walls, relaxing into this same old chair.”
The Watcher smiled. It had been a very long time indeed.
The soft muzzled cough brought Alice back from being lost in her usual daydreams. It had been months since she had walked freely about the streets. Even longer since the blind run through the dark forests of another world. If this insane self-imposed quarantine had to continue for very much longer, Alice was going to leap back through into the brightly lit hall beyond. Once there she was more than willing to try her luck at some other random doorway. “What then?” muttered the low voice of the sage. Alice could tell he was talking more to himself than to her. Alice replied anyway, “Anywhere but here.”
The look of the old mages floor length beard partially muzzled by a soft swath of mask looked ridiculous. The rope ties for the ears could not reach so Alice had helped him braid the ends into the facial hair just beneath the cheeks. The effect gave the ancient librarian a hipster grunge look. The ink stained hands of the sage had been hard at work rubbing his face again. Either an allergy from the ink that now tinted his nose or from the dreaded Covid virus had been making the elderly gentleman wheeze and cough. He had coughed enough times that Alice had demanded the face covering. The sage grumpily complied just to silence her complaining. The whole request struck him funny since it came from a woman wearing no clothes at all…
The doorman had been busy hanging invisible signs about the hall. Each had been hung so that an individual entering could see them with little effort. He was certain when the complaint department was called he would be found blameless in the spread of such ignorance. Each entry had been clearly marked with a request for a mandatory fourteen day quarantine, and each infectious destination properly marked. The Gatekeeper had even replaced his usual Welcome mat with one that read, “Masks Required”. “Yes”, he thought, “in a reality of inexistence the flattened curve wasn’t going to catch him in another surge, hoax or not.”
Pat sat watching the falling leaves. The peace autumn brought was a welcome change from the dry hot days of summer. Still the thought to lay naked in those golden rays made his pulse quicken with youthful memories.
“The seasons change with the turn of a word,” he whispered to the quiet room. Though there was a large crowd, no one heard him.
Pat was aware that the sentence could be thought of as political, as well as environmental. Opinions were changing. Impatient populations desperate for a miracle. Come November another four years of greatness would be chosen. Hopefully one that meant the destruction of a party founded in racism. If not then things weren’t going to look too good for the home front. It had been bad enough that this man-made virus was unleashed by corrupt policies of the criminal elite in the attempt of a one-world-order coup. To have to suffer under the heavy-handed tactics of the cosmopolitan could lead to an actual armageddon between good and evil…
Pat watched the falling leaves. The beauty was not wasted on him. The mix of yellows and reds drifting down. Sometimes in soft spirals, sometimes in a direct glide. Individual leaves and groups all randomly blowing about with a kaleidoscope of color. None of the meaning was missed. Everything had a purpose; Pat just had his own preference in how things should end.
All this change from the green leaves of one tree. Nothing was ever missed…
I remember days that lasted weeks. Left alone to many nights at port, to many times on dusty roads. Mirages appear and disappear like the voices in my brain. Slowly becoming landmarks burned deep into my soul. Out there somewhere I’m looking for something lost or maybe it’s just something I’ve never seen. You never know what’s waiting there just beyond what you know. Crazy ad it is, that’s exactly where I want to go…
The oddity of life. It’s razor thin slivers slicing across shallow veins of truth. Passions play out upon the same nerves that transfer pain. Rocked with pleasure not meant to be enjoyed. Then just as dilated eyes gain their focus the fire light dims and the last vibrant tone fades into inexistence.
She’s yellow ocher to me. In words muttered beneath audible sound I often express dislike for her. Preference usually given to the pristine colors of ebony and titanium white. Crisp lines shape the image. Tethering reality with math and logic. Rarely do any of us separate from the uniformity of their use.
Unmistakable. She is yellow ocher, and that is what makes her beautiful to me.
Alice sat distracted. A nuthatch was slowly making its way down the trunk of a nearby sapling. It’s funny head-first hopping reminded her of the her own first moments leaping through worlds. As nauseating an experience it had been, Alice was secretly hoping to get the opportunity to do it again. The only thing that was holding her back was the how and when. Alice had gathered from the many frequent visits of disembodied voices that the portal from here to there ( where something she never knew) was always opening and closing. To use it, one simply needed to be determined and fully willing to accept the next outcome. The concept of outcome being as close to exactly what the event actually meant. Alice couldn’t quite understand that piece of information either. She just took it to mean 1+1=2 but to get to four the possibilities increased as well as the path. Everyone understands 2+2, or 1+1+1+1, or 1+1+2, and even 1+3. But doing the possible backwards or even not at all could cause a bit of stress. 0+4, 5-1, and so on into infinite realms could get a person marooned, even completely gone from before, during, and after. As insane as that sounded, Alice was not yet willing to prove anyone’s theorem’s just yet. Why did everything have to involve math…
Alice could bring herself to accept that it had only been three days. What she couldn’t believe in was the constant transition of the garden outside. She vaguely remembered the first time looking out of the window. The season had been late spring. The butterflies and hummingbirds fluttering amongst the many wildflowers and well planted rows of perennials. Annuals like irises taking over where daffodil and hyacinth had earlier flowered but now becoming just green leaves and dying stalks. With later glances outside, Alice noted the crepe myrtles had begun to bloom with deep purples and reds. Their many branched arms spreading outward casting a welcomed shadow from the hot blazing sun.
And today as she gazed upwards in a daydream daze of building castles in the sky, Alice’s distracted eyes watched as oak and maple leaves began drifting down from leaf clogged gutters. The browned yellows and crimson reds slowly sailing down, down, down carpeting the flower beds. Alice even noticed amongst the brown blades of overgrown grasses the aster and goldenrod turning to seed. The planting of daylilies she must have confused for irises being nothing but withered yellow and brown mulch piles beside dried stalks of gladiolas.
No. Though she was not a naturalist or expert at gardening, Alice knew the changing seasons without the need of flocking geese or migrant fish swimming up stream. Without a doubt, and without need of the old sage explaining things, Alice knew she was sitting in the middle of 0+1 or something very close to it.
Across the room the sage let out a humourous chortle.
To Alice the old man always seemed to take great interest and enjoyment during her most confused moments. It’s was almost like he knew her mind, and saw all the outcomes before she did, and thought her ignorant.
Along the waters edge where sand and ocean meet The worlds first words are spoken By the soft and whispering breeze
It speaks of the many kingdoms and of ageless palaces carved of stone All the chambers filled with musical laughter far below in the surging sea The echoing ripples flowing Splashing playfully upon the distant shores above
Alas the people of the land no longer remember the beauty Nor can they walk the halls Time since it has passed deep beneath a sea foam gray
Softly the wind summons back the memory As the crabs solemnly standing guard lament And flying high overhead seabirds call out a sullen praise
There at the waters edge where sand and ocean meet