There isn’t time to say hello
Nor will there be for long goodbyes
Even now cobwebs creeping threaten weary eyes
The tide ceaseless carves away
Each wave claiming more of the day
Leaving only to return in the night
Man that is good was often just as evil
So choose your way and be just and nimble
For we all await the somber gavel
And He that bears witness on judgement day
With the setting of the sun
And rising of the moon
Stars unseen glow with new life
I watch in silence
Becoming lost between worlds
Filling all my sight
Even more expansive
Filling my thoughts
With mystery and hope
I’ve been here before. I’ve sat in this dust filled room watching the same spider weaving her web. Sitting slouched with the wait of eternity perched cumbersomely upon my eyelids. Through the haze of blurred vision I have been witness to a life time of war and decay. Still the day is not over.
Time wanders independent of reality. Change only the product of some other force combined, separated, absent.
After all I exist as a simple closed system. Only one has ever been able to open the door or close it when through. The one is, that’s all anyone need know.
You and I live connected. Forever entwined even during the trials where effort is wirepulling or sanguineous. From the salt of the sea, and water of the heavens, you and I are. That’s all eternities secrets told upon a gentle breeze.
Rambling on, two old souls… (Here the sage began singing in his head. A song about fish bowls and endless calendars. – the author)
Invisible hands scrawl out variations of lines. Words both cryptic and plain fill margins and footnote. The simplest thoughts hidden in the most compounding phrase. Only the distracted eye can see clearly the misspelled word while the clearest mind reads on.
A tale of two, you and I. A circle folding in often looking out. Neither seeing the end nor ever beginning the race. We chase the clouds as a dog chases it’s tail.
A rambling of time ticking out life with everything existing as fundamental interactions balanced upon a needle point tip.
Pat sat patiently in his garden. The watcher was in no hurry to get anywhere.
The soft buzz and fiddle of insects drifted about on the sweet summer air.
There were birds singing and calling back and forth. They too appeared in no hurry to fly off to some distant place.
Here the rose and columbine flowered amongst the ironweed and goldenrod. A clash of season mixed with the pastel colors of the sweet pea vine.
Only Adam strolled these garden paths. Lost in wonder. Idling away the moments… (Here again the sages attention drifted of into another song. Something of dull days and thinking that he has something more to say. – the author)
Alice sat perched high upon a stack of books. She had been busy thumbing through a few of the older ones trying to look interested.
Ever so often she felt the need to put the book down and gaze out the one window of the sages library.
It was a beautiful day outside.
Alice had asked the old grumpy man if it would be okay to throw open the glass. With a distracted angry scowl the sage had signalled a stern no.
Alice had went to the window anyhow. After a Herculean effort she had found it impossibly stuck.
The old mage laughed quietly beneath his beard. Since the change of humidity and weather he had been unable to open the window himself. Alice probably would contrive some mystic use of magic to the sage preventing her from doing what he said no too. He laughed again a little louder.
Alice had stalked angrily back to her stack of books. Secretly cursing the old mans powers over nature and time.
With a fish eyed gaze out of the window, and a pleasant tune in his head, the sage went back into his trance. ( It was at this point I, the author, came to the conclusion the sage was going to be absolutely useless today.-the author)
And time flowed on…
The katydid and tree frog chirping out a lullaby
In the shade of the great oaks
The summer sun now just breaking above the distant hills
Filling the air with warmth
A soft breeze moves the green leaves and tall grasses
The passing cooler air drifting down through the hollow
Carrying with it the smell of flowers from beyond sight
Lulling tired old men into a quiet reflection
Silent as a shadow
Breathing in the peace of the world
The mountain folk were a completely different nation unto themselves. They were proof that a drawn line wasn’t what made a mixed group of people into a country. They were proof that it would make them enemies…
The forest underbrush had nearly completely obscured the trail. If not for the occasional bent reed or bare patch amongst the bracken a traveller could easily become lost in the half light of the bottom canopy.
Other than the man made tracks he was leaving behind there appeared no other sign that any other human had passed this way in generations. That was something very disheartening and troubling. The traveller had more than a lifetime of training in tracking and survival. He had even more memories of the countries landscape. Images of before and after floated across his vision, each step made on the internal magnet that could guide a homing pigeon or smart bomb to their final destination without error.
The only problem came with the now. The now could throw a wrench into any plan. The now could be raining or blazing dry, a flooded landscape or a burning forest fire. Only the Author knew for sure what the now would be. It was in that way He made sure the traveller would stay true to the story. At least that’s how everything usually went.
Alice nether knew where she was or when she had been there. The whole tumble from the one next into the other had left her a bit addled and confused. If it wasn’t for the sugary scent of strawberry glaze frosting that was currently drifting about the place Alice probably would have stayed in that kaleidoscope frame of mind for quite some time.
Hunger… Alice was very hungry. The first sounds to reach her ears was the growling of her own stomach. Soon after that conscious thought came the pain of the tight cramping knot of her guts slowly churning. The need to separate reality from delusion was to take second seat for now.
With a quick scan of the room Alice saw that presently no one was there. The rows of shelving and stacks of literature were present. The large ancient writing desk stocked with and ink well and piles of parchment paper was located just how she had seen it. The only thing absent was the box of pastry, the old man, and the ever increasing mess of sprinkles and jam about the floor.
“Damn”, Alice thought. “Missed out and stuck here, where ever here is.”
A almost unheard voice spoke from the dimness of the library. Alice almost mistook it as one of her own thoughts spoken out loud, then as the return of the insanity from the night before. “From where does the strawberry grow? From what does the hunger know?”
“Through what path have you vaulted? For what reasoning has time yet not come?”
Alice felt as if a door had opened and with the fresh in flux of air slammed yet another doorway closed. The sudden shift of pressure bringing a bit of nausea and the threatening kaleidoscope of confusion she had already overcome.
When the room returned to normal Alice noticed a few more lit candles burning, the box of pastry opened and set within arms reach from where she stood. The strange old man was busying himself with an even stranger white container with blue labeling. Without a single gaze back over his shoulder the sage asked,”Glass of lactaid free milk, Honey? I mean Alice… I fear we haven’t any honey at this moment.”
Pat sat once again in his garden. The summer heat had came earlier than expected but not so early that it would ruin the plantings. He’d have to run the drip hose more than usual until everything had set down good root.
The sky was filled with white cotton candy clouds; Each set drifting on a sea of pastel blue.
Many years ago Pat had hung many small wind chimes about the wood that surrounded his home. He had set so many so long ago that the watcher couldn’t remember where they were exactly. All Pat knew was on beautiful days like today the effort had been worth it. The native songbirds with a musical accompaniment by the wind softly off set the rustle of the trees in the cool summer breeze. “I know that reads as a horrible sentence, each word exactly accurate and the moment perfect.”
Pat was for the moment at peace with the world.
The traveller gazed up at the midday sky. Overhead two blazing suns burned down to earth. This was the first time he had ever seen such an event in his lengthy lifetime. For the traveller to acknowledge that fact was a scary thing. He had thought he’d seen it all. Now here he was stranded in a reality of time that quite honestly looked to be the end for his career and the rest of creation.
The only intelligent voice in his head was uttering the word fuck, fuck, fuck. At the moment all the other voices seemed in agreement.
After an eternity of quietly contemplating the situation one of the voices pointed out that as the earth rotated only the larger of the two orbs seemed to move in the arc. The other seemed to become more of an oddly formed orb which reflected more than it seemed to be burning. A few other voices began to chime in with agreement, and after a lengthy discussion it was agreed that fact was true.
“So we’re good then?”asked the traveller.
“No.”said the leading authoritative voice. “It’s probably a massive meteoroid. Even the fact that there still isn’t a visible smoke trail may mean it’s further above the stratosphere than it looks. We are screwed.”
The sound of sneakers running away on smooth concrete and then the loud slamming of a metal door was what Pat heard first.
It was a familiar but funny sound to hear over the speaker system. It reminded him of his high school days and the loud racket one could hear over the public announcement system will the principal was going over the days events. Those were the glory years for sure.
On this occasion though, Pat was a good twenty years older, and working in a tower miles away from the originator of the sound. As a joke Pat was buzzed up on the speaker. A familiar voice on the other end began a rant that unless privy to the joke itself would sound very offensive to the receiving party. The joke would have been hilarious to Pat, but as fate often intervenes it was not Pat that first answered the call… It was Pat’s boss
After a three sentence rant of blasphemy and expletives Pat’s boss began shouting expletives back and yelling “Who is this!” back over the speaker.
The only reply was “If you don’t know mother-fucker”, and the sounds of tennis shoes running on concrete right before the slamming of a door.
Pat tried not to laugh. He knew that the anger would soon enough be turned towards him.
“Do you know who that asshole was?” the boss asked.
With the straightest face Pat could muster, “No sir. I’ve never heard that voice before.”
Alice slowly slide through the small sized opening. At first what she thought to be only a thin gap she had discovered to be a hinged door. With a little coaxing the portal could easily be made to open out wider.
Alice thought how odd to have a door hidden inside a tree. Even odder was the fact she knew it couldn’t have been there before. The door opened into an immense room with vaulted ceilings that the tree she had sheltered in could not have held.
Cautiously Alice looked out into the room. Fully aware of the funny old man that even at this moment was busy wolfing down strawberry treats and having some sort of discussion with the thin air about him. Perhaps if she kept in the shadows and used the massive stacks of books between the two of them as cover the old man wouldn’t realize she was in the room. By the way the food was being consumed Alice knew speed was going to be of the utter most importance.
The doorman was partially surprised. It wasn’t a frequent thing to see the sage away from his writing. It was even less frequent that the sage would share a tasty strawberry glazed donut. Later the gatekeeper would blame those events and the sudden sugar rush as the reason he was surprised for a third time.
Even as Alice stretched out into the room she realized something wasn’t right. Where shelves of books and piles of scrolls should have been there was suddenly nothing.
Nothing was actually not quite right. There was a brilliant white, a worn mat, and a strangely uniformed man eating a pink colored pastry that at the moment was shedding rainbow colored sprinkles about the area.
Both Alice and the doorman stared blankly at each other. Neither seemed to know exactly what to do at that moment.
Alice was the first to take action. In a dead run Alice leaped past the uniformed man and on into the doorway behind him.
As quickly as she had come the trespasser disappeared into the next. In all his lifetime the gatekeeper never had this happen to him. He was pretty positive the Author would already know. What that meant wouldn’t become clear for a great while.
“Oh well”, he thought.
The gatekeeper scarffed down the last of his donut. There was going to be a long wait until the next one…
noun: revenant; plural noun: revenants
a person who has returned, especially supposedly from the dead.
Pat awoke into a word of skyscrapers and high-rise apartments. The new realities landscape was a random mix of Italian Renaissance and a modern art deco. Here and there Pat’s will could change some of the architecture into a more attractive Parisian nouveau but only the structures that felt sympathetic towards him.
The sidewalks were full of people out for a leisurely paseo before dinner and bar hopping.
Pat drifted back and forth through the crowd listening to the chatter. He could hear stories of how their day went, plans for after dinner, and on a few occasions the pleasant words of couples in love.
Nothing he heard helped him understand his current presence in such a peaceful setting. By default Pat was always a storm bringer, a gore crow, and the toxic side effect of a beneficial medication. Finding himself comfortablely walking the promenade was a bit unnerving. The only satisfying thing about it was the ability to redesign this world about him as he walked.
Pat did go out of his way not to make physical contact with the others strolling about. Practice had given him the delicate like a glimpse of shadow caught from the corner of the eye. By the time his movement was detected he made sure to be clear with their only view being of his back. When the path seemed too crowded everyone would become suddenly distracted by the amazing transformation of the surrounding buildings.
Pat slipped down the first side alley he found loosing himself into the comforting arms of darkness.
Amongst the discarded boxes and battered garbage cans Pat felt comfortable. Here was a place that served his purpose. Here was somewhere he belonged and from every dark corner draw out energy.
Without concern the dreamer sank back against old mortar and brick. Knees bent and elbows resting crossed upon his chest he listened quietly lost in thought. In all his travelling he had never had time to be at peace. It was not a good sign.
A large cat ran past his left leg. Seconds later Pat could make out the same cat with rat in mouth slowly tearing it apart. The soft crunching of bone chewing and a cats pur drifted out of the alley to mix amongst the sounds of laughter…
I’ve been here before…
Same tired chair, mildewed and stained…
The same ancient cobwebs drifting lazily in a draft.
Even the sounds creeping in beneath the crack of the door.
Everything is familiar, even you.
On the end table sits an empty glass, white chalk stained, with a half decayed bowl of something once edible but now rotten beyond recognition. The passage of time doing us all the favor of removing the stench.
It’s been awhile since the mold gnats and bottle flies maggots paid their visit to such a meal. By the way the dried remains peel and crack away from the glazing of the bowl a considerable amount of time has passed. Other than the ever increasing volumes of books and stories, one of the few signs that things here do change.
Infinity can be found between zero and one, and only understood by those that seem to never make sense.
The old sage sat silently in prayer. He often did. Head bowed, eyes closed, hands folded or left resting motionless upon his lap, palms together.
Unlike most people, the sage would often have his replies by the end of each sentence. If any curious onlookers were able to ease drop they would find the whole moment more of a discussion between a teacher and pupil. Which was which was easy enough to discern. The sage was ever the career student. To know is not enough; understanding is the true gift.
During his lifetime of service the only true peace he ever felt was when in talking to the Author. The serenity and calm making his responsibility to maintaining the library a worthwhile sacrifice.
A quiet voice spoke out from the nothingness of empty air,
“Stone walls do not a prison make,
Minds innocent and quiet take
As if in reply the sage spoke back, “These heavy walls to me had grown A hermitage—and all my own! And half I felt as they were come to tear me from a second home: With spiders I had friendship made and watch’d them in their sullen trade, had seen the mice by moonlight play, and why should I feel less than they?
Had it been seconds or a lifetime of ages since the last time a visitor had past. The doorman was starting to wear thin like the door mat he had been gifted by an old travelling salesman.
At first he saw the humor in the gift as a poke at his own purpose in being. Often the thought had been contemplated that his only purpose was to keep the mud and dirt from getting through the door. Even though the wording and color was beginning to wear away, the doorman still felt “Welcome” in the stylized flourish of flowery writing. After all it never rained or snowed here in his land of make believe.
After all, in all the land of entrance and exit, only he had a comfortable mat to stand upon. Without a doubt a true gift to someone bound to stand until forever ends or begins. Whichever came first no longer mattered to him.
On some occasions the doorman would move his mat down the white halls of light. In picking a new place he had hopes of changing the view for a time. Nothing ventured, nothing gained was the latest saying he had heard. It made perfect sense to him. Of course the only change was in the mind of the doorman. A cityscape of blinding white never dimmed or changed in contrast. In truth the only purpose in seeing at all was his purpose as watchdog. Never open, never close, never allow another beyond the threshold. Absolute and uncompromised in that one task this whole time… Orders he never did really understand. Why have a door then?
The rules never applied to the Author, or Dreamer, nor even to himself should he venture beyond. Somehow they were the same as he or she depending on your train of thought.
Another was someone like the man in the grey suit, but not like the traveller. As hard as it was to tell the two apart only the traveller could gain entrance while the grey suit would just fade away into the darkness beyond the portal.
The thought of the grey suit saddened the usually cheerful doorman. “Could you imagine being aware and completely capable of communication with another sphere of being? Only unable to bridge that short distance of understanding to join. It could drive a being to do horrible things, all the while thinking you had a purpose in stopping something.”
The doorman stared out into the white patiently waiting for an answer. After what seemed an infinity to him he heard a reply.
Some days it felt that it was a wasted effort to take the time to go to work.
And with that the doorman moved his mat once again.