I am …
The rustling of the autumn leaves
which hang tight for now amongst the maple and oak
The borderland at the far edge
A small stack of stone piled up along the imaginary lines of a map
Even the rill filled trickling down between root and rock
Sparking gentle reflection beneath half shadows of this wilderness before seeping down
Disappearing into the land
No one cosmopolitan will understand this simple satisfaction of a season
And the acceptance of the passage of life
Before we go our way
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…
To what value do I set the scale
With incremental movement a clock measures out moment by moment
But that has no existence
The vapor and steam of things unseen
Passively touch then dissolve
And yet you and I watch it’s coming pass us by
Left in the wake that follows
We reach out as if to hold invisible threads of thought
Something unattained in the passage of life
And burdened by our own purpose
Feel fulfilled or utterly emptied by the experience
The mind wanders the seven seas
Counts the seasons by the leaves
Lost between the sun and moon
It drifts along
amongst unsounded shores
Time but ripples between the waves
My beard is scruffy
Growing it longer on the chin while cutting back the rest to stubble
Thread worn clothes
Constant use has kept shirts permanently stained
Unwashed jeans carry damage from friction, time, and thorns
Like some art nouveau palette
Many vibrant colors of oil, acrylic, and grass, harshly dye the denim
Weathered canvas and leather finish the form
Twisted shoelaces holding together boot
The hard rubber tread walked down to slick smoothness
Odd cuts through the edges giving a unique pattern in the mud and grime of the city
It could be the sleepless nights or just constant sickness reddening the eyes
The slightest breeze bringing out a tear
Blurred vision of advancing age
The fingernails are clean
Every opportunity taken to maintain that air of godliness
One other thing shows through the layers of unkept rubble
An even, straight smile
Without gap, bend, or chip
White tea stained teeth
Another glimmer of some other existence
Who would ever know or care to guess
The judgemental quick to label
Uncaring for their own commandments
Incompetent in a lackluster religion
They would unknowingly look down upon Jesus, John, and a host of martyrs
Confused as to those burdened beneath the cross
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.
For as long as he could remember, the man knew he was different. Not a visible defect or an observable point of perfection or beauty. Even his test scores blended in seamlessly with the upper portion of the bell curve. Not in the middle, mind you. He was always just above average but off a mark for honor roll.
The boy he was and the man housing still those childish ideas still could blend into the population. He could excel in any field if he chose to. That’s where the special and different was. The boy and man never needed to. Never had to bother with choice. The path he walked was already lined up. Lined up not in a material or financial way. Neither was it a hereditary or surname position in life that granted such a privilege. And it was definitely not a thing of chance or luck. Through out life that theory had been tested. No, luck and being blessed by the Blarney Stone never entered the equation.
As long as the man did what presented itself and tried his best, life was good. The Golden Rule of do unto others being the biggest lesson he ever learned. Many of those times and lessons administered across the palm with the ruler.
I would like to point out that the ruler used was not golden and being the other never was given the chance to do unto the other. Lesson learned, those who control the gold control the wood. Since the boy nor the man were destined to have control or the gold it was best to tend to the business at hand, never draw attention to yourself. Good or bad, attention was only trouble in the end…
The sage blinked away the cobwebs of his Irish coffee. With a quick read of the words before him he was once again up to speed.
The Man in The Grey Suit was a fitting title for him. More fitting than calling him John Smith, or Joe Bloughe, and even thinking Steve or Martin was just humor gone bad. So The Grey or The Man was a good enough fit.
The background of growing up was new to the sage. Very rarely was information like that provided by the Author. The Author usually leaving off the less important details on first read, leaving those details for the magic and dreams which filled each page, newspaper, magazine, and book.
The sage was fully aware of the fact it was his hand that did the work. The staining of his hands provided plenty of evidence of those marathon journalism events. The thing was he was never fully there when it occurred. By the size of the library and piles of written material that gift of trance was definitely a blessing. If one cared to gather more evidence to prove or disprove who truly was doing the work, the comparison of hand writing and style changed about so much that one would think a legion of writers were at the task.
A Legion was not far off the mark either.
Every day is a new day, and every day was just the same as the one which proceeded today. And as always everything made perfect sense but only if you chose not to sweat the finer points and details. If you did decided to be one of “Those”, and fell into the dangerous trap of actually thinking then insanity would soon follow. So in the linear line of time (time being abstract; a line being a curve with zero radius; zero being undefined) all things end as they began. This story being a poor documentary on events leading up to that very beginning, and will only make sense in its ending. That is where this story begins… at its ending but only after. Don’t worry, you’ll eventually know something of what I talk of, just be patient and you will see.
A wise man once said that life meant forever and that is a mighty long time. Well since that time he’s gone on another kind of elevator ride but even today those words ring true.
Life has it’s own energy. Try as you might to snuff it out, life will always find a way. As the arrow of time moves on life will always begin again even if it has to kill itself to do it.
“Here I pause”, so says the sage. “The black ink runs, staining fingers and page. Letters written, soft words spoken, all take time to settle in upon the fresh medium of paper and mind. As said before there really is no need to hurry. We all find our way back to the beginning in the end.”
A feathery pen lays perched upon it’s rest, and the stopper is securely placed upon the ink well. Atop the desk a powdered page lays waiting to join another… and an old man sleeps slouched in his chair if for but the moment.