Cleaning House

Tonight I set upon the task of transferring a bunch of files from my old computer to the new. I had no idea how many files I had that I didn't want to get rid of yet. Most of them stupid pictures that I'll eventually get rid of. I had a lot of writing to copy over too. Not having a CD burner on that old computer made it a bitch to copy all of that stuff too. Many trips back and forth with little diskettes. Anyway, I came across this short I had written a while back. I wish I could remember when I did it because when I read it tonight I was surprised I had written anything this good. Not that I'm patting myself on the back or anything, I just really like the thing. It touches a cord, as some say. I'm sure some of you have seen this but I'm going to post it anyway:

The yellows and oranges, splashes of red and greens, that’s what I see at my feet. Colors so often seen in nature at this time. The leaves cover the sidewalk and the bench space next to me. Creating a sunset for the ground, one to walk on and to know what it is to be a part of something beautiful. The hills ahead of me, the rolling hills. With the sunset in front of me, the hills seem to look like waves from the sun, just increasing the awe of the world surrounding me, enveloping me in it’s warmth.
It’s not that warm though. I still have to wear a sweater to protect me from the gentle winds. Winds that blow the paints from the trees to fall at my feet. The winds that create the whistling and rustling of the leaves that haunted me in my youth at night. Now I rely on the sounds to remind me that I’m still alive and not on another plane of existence. Sometimes I forget the wonders that this world can create within its’ self. I often believe I’m dreaming that this could never be real. Only in a dream would one ever think that something so wondrous could exist.
The simplest things bring me back to realize where I am. The honking of a car horn, ringing of a telephone, or the sound of so many noises not needed in this place. This time there are children running in the leaves, stirring them into the air. The sunlight just seems to make the colors glow, more radiant, more amazing than one could ever hope to see. A handsome black dog runs up to join the children, trying to catch the leaves in the air. Making the children begin to giggle and laugh. These are some of the sounds meant to be heard by human ears, just to remember what innocence really is, and just how to love something just to love it. Their laughter grows as the dog is desperately trying to catch a single leaf before it hits the earth. The children start gathering piles of leaves together and throwing them at one another. The dog’s frenzy increases and the sight of the poor dog just causes the children to laugh even harder. Soon the children are on the ground laughing and wrestling with the pooch.
I take some time to look into the trees. Most look more like a skeleton of their prior selves. Even the birds that would be hopping along a limb to tend their nests are gone. The only things I can see are a few sparse pieces of that gold paper that are so magical, and a random squirrel. So gracefully the squirrel jumps from branch to branch, from tree to tree. Taking what would be a sure death for any other animal, but a jump that comes second nature to them. They almost look like they’re trying to fly, with their outstretched arms trying to hold on to as much air as possible like a man jumping out of a plane before he opens his chute. All the while the squirrels are carrying acorns collected from the ground to hide in their homes for the long cold months ahead.
I return my glance to the children and there they are, still at their little game, rolling on the ground, for what seems like hours. I’m just sitting here on my bench, following the sun sinking into the horizon, watching the children play all at the same time. After some time the children’s laughter slows and resembles now more a gasp for air, to recover from the excitement. The boy and girl sink into the ground and become shadows among the leaves. One sits up and starts to look around. It must be the girl; her long hair is caught in the gentle winds. She waves to me and I return the gesture. She is nothing more than a silhouette behind the setting gold, red, and orange hues behind her adding to the magic of the moment. Then she leans over and pokes her friend. He rises to his elbows and looks in my direction, I wave at him. He sits up and waves right back in a spastic back and forth of his hand. The dog’s head pops up from beneath leaves that the children had covered it with. I can hear it’s panting, faintly but rhythmically. It looks around to see what made the children rise from the colored earth.
Off in the distance there’s a voice. One unfamiliar to me, but the children react to it immediately. They quickly hurry off and leave me once again with the seemingly never ending sun and its’ rolling glow. As I sit there the sun slowly sinks deeper and deeper until all that is left is the sunburned leaves and the cool soothing breezes. It continues to get darker and soon nothing can be seen in the vast emptiness of the night. A haunted feeling comes over me; the lack of light is not a comfortable one. But, the breeze is still here, and so am I. And like the sun returns, I will too to see it return to its beauty in the sky, the beauty that can never be reproduced by camera or brush, only in my mind.

1 comment:

Danny said...

I really like this piece. In writing short fiction I've declared a war on Character and on Story. What's left? Well, emotion. Heart survives. But more importantly Narrative. Without story or character a short story is all narrative. I'm a big fan of that style of art in writing.
Nothing happens. Nothing is gained or lost, nothing learned. But I like it.