Saturday, 28 September 2013

Fall Days

I was up North again for my off days so there's not too much dementia to go around this week.  Gotta sit in the sun by the lake as often as I can while it's still feasible, right?  Beats staring at a silly computer monitor...

Actually, being up at the cottage in late September when the weather is good is a little too nice!  It really makes me question why I would bother spending time doing anything else...I mean, yesterday I woke up and drank some coffee and went for a boat ride and dipped my feet in the lake and took some pictures of trees and generally had a nice Fall day.  Today I woke up at 4:20 am to spend all day in a filthy tunnel driving a filthy train around in a filthy circle.  

I suppose without the latter, I wouldn't appreciate the former quite so much.  For that matter, without the latter, I wouldn't be able to afford the former (or anything else).  That's what it really boils down to for us all, isn't it?  Doing what we have to do almost all of the time so that we can do what we'd like to do a tiny fraction of the time. 

Doesn't seem right...

But hey I'm not complaining...not really!  I'm grateful to get the good moments when I can, and to have the job to pay for them!  It's more than a lot of humans ever get, I know!  It's all good...

Friday, 20 September 2013

The Lonely Entrapment of Star Girl

Once upon a time there was a young girl who glowed like a star and she lived in a tower on the edge of the Eastern sea.  The girl's skin shone with such brilliance that she was always obliged to keep covered with a huge black cloak and to stay sheltered in her tower room, for all who gazed upon her were instantly struck blind!  Thus the girl stayed locked in her tower room, where she lived a satisfying but lonely existence.  Only when the girl became so lonely that she dared to peek through the heavy drapes that covered her window was their ever any trace of her in the world, as her light would twinkle spectacularly from the top of the tower for a brief moment before being hidden once more.

For many years the Star Girl was very content to live in her tower alone.  She was well taken care of by an order of blind and silent monks, who brought her food and water three times daily and often brought her books and trinkets and various sundry items to amuse her throughout the day.  Due to the monks' kindness, the girl was well educated and learned in the ways of the world.  However, it was a world that she could never join or even truly feel a part of.  Sadly, all of the monks had taken a vow of silence and thus even they were little company for the lonely Star Girl.  

As our young protagonist grew older, she felt the sting of loneliness increase.  She began to tempt fate and gaze out of her tower window more and more often, sometimes not even bothering to cover herself with her heavy cloak.  Her brilliance at these times were such that her light could be seen far and wide!  Occasionally a traveler would be drawn towards her tower due to the light and Star Girl would long to call out, but instead she would quickly withdraw!  Although she was lonely, the Star Girl would never wish to be responsible for blinding someone simply due to her restless negligence!

Despite her best wishes, however, the Star Girl's carelessness inevitably drew the attention of someone from the outside world.  One day, the girl heard a strange rustling noise on her windowsill!  As she was quite high up, this noise confused the girl and she cried out in her rusty, rarely-used voice, "Who's there!"  She looked towards the draped window, curiosity and apprehension warring withing her.  "I warn you, to peek in my window is to lose your sight forever!" 

Shockingly, the girl heard a strange croaking voice from the windowsill in reply!  "Don't blind me I am but a simple Raven I won't look I promise I won't I just want to know what's so shiny and mysterious that it must be kept from the world at the top of a tower!  What light keeps teasing me as I gaze east from my nest in the evening?"

The Star Girl was amazed!  Could this be true?  A talking Raven had come to investigate her tower room?  It seemed unlikely.

"Please sir, do not tease me," quoth the Star Girl, "for I am a very lonely girl who glows like a star, and I am trapped here in my home, desperately in need of like-minded company! Yet I am quite certain that ravens are unable to speak!  I would open the curtain and prove you are no Raven, but to do so would instantly strike you blind!"

"So certain are you of this?" replied the Raven.  "You must have great and inexplicable knowledge of the great wide world, despite being trapped in such a tiny bit of it!  How can you be sure that a raven cannot speak when you cannot descend from your tower dwelling or even dare to but peek out and verify your claims, for fear of blinding me?"

"Although it is true that I must never leave my home," replied the star girl, "I have many books brought to me by my caretakers and thus I have learned a great deal of the world through my studies!  Never have I heard of a talking Raven outside of fanciful storybooks!" 

"Perhaps you are IN a fanciful story, my dear!"  replied the Raven.  "For I have never heard of a girl who glowed like a star and who would blind any that dare gaze upon her outside of fiction!  I suspect that you are lying and simply do not wish to show yourself, as you are too shy!"

And so it went.  The Star Girl did not believe in the talking raven and the Raven did not believe that a girl could glow like a star.  Yet the light in the room came from somewhere, as did the voice on the windowsill!

"I must go and hunt my dinner now," said the Raven to the Star Girl, "but I will return each day at this time, to speak to you some more until you reveal the truth!"

Thus the Raven flew away, returning each day to converse with the Star Girl.  At first the pair simply argued about each other through the heavy drapes, but eventually this became boring and their conversations became more diverse.  They began to discuss philosophy and art, music and the state of the World.  What of the happenings in the far-off land of Nod?  What news concerning the riots in St. Petersburg?  And so on...

And still, the Star Girl could not believe that her companion was a raven.  Still the Raven could not believe that his newfound friend really glowed like a star!  And yet in order to prove these truths, the Raven must necessarily be struck forever blind!  So they must agree to disagree.

Well, the seasons passed as they are wont to do and the Raven continued to visit the Star Girl every day.  Eventually, their friendship changed and blossomed and feelings began to develop between the pair.  Despite their differences, the two fell in love.  This, of course, proved to be torture, for although the pair were nearly always together, there was forever a barrier between them.  Until one day, whilst studying an ancient scroll, the Star Girl found a possible answer!  Running to the window she called out for her feathered love!

"Raven!  Come quickly!  I've discovered how we can be together!  I have found a map that shows the location of a secret pool far to the North...according to the legend, if we travel to the pool on the night of the full moon, and bathe in the waters, we shall be transformed and joined as one for all eternity!"

Raven heard the cries of his love from behind her concealing drapes and flew to address her.  "How can this be, my love?  How can we get to this pool?  For you are trapped in your tower and I cannot even look upon you without being struck blind!"

"If you are really a Raven as you say, then you can fly us both to the sacred pool," replied Star Girl, "for I am made of light and weigh nothing at all.  I can wrap myself utterly in cloth and hide my light.  Then you may fly into the tower and lift me in your talons to carry us both to the pool!" 

"If you are really a Star Girl as you say, then this can be done," the Raven decided.  "Despite the fantastical nature of your claims, I will take a leap of faith.  I love you, and I believe you!"

"And I believe you and that you are truly a Raven, for if not, then I must plunge to my death on the ground far below my tower window, being unable to fly myself." Exclaimed the Star Girl.  "I too must have faith!"

So the Star Girl wrapped herself as tightly as she could in her heavy cloak, taking care to cover herself completely and, when she had finished, called out to the Raven.  He finally, with much trepidation, entered the now darkened tower room, where he saw the Star Girl's bundled form.  Even wrapped in many layers, she glowed softly in the dark.  Raven flew to her and gathered her up easily in his talons!  As she said, the Star Girl was as weightless as moonlight and Raven could fly and carry her effortlessly.

"To the pond, my love!" whispered Star Girl from inside her coverings.
"With all haste!" replied the Raven.

And so Raven and Star Girl flew to the secret sacred pond and immersed themselves in the water beneath the full moon.  As Star Girl felt the touch of the water, her clothing fell away and she was revealed in all her brilliant glory!  Raven glimpsed her blinding light for the first time as his feathered head sank below the water's surface.  Thus each finally shared the truth of their being to the other, and, having done this, they each began to change!  The Raven, rather than being struck blind by Star Girl's light as feared, instead began to absorb the light and to glow!  His form grew large and his dark black feathers lit up in multi-coloured flames!  Rainbows danced from his body and his eyes shone like suns!

Star Girl, meanwhile, began to feel herself change as well!  Her long, slender limbs began to fluctuate and change form while her light infused hair began to grow and transform into feathers!  Her old form melted and poured like liquid into a new shape!  She became a huge falcon-like creature with lightning for wings and starlight pouring from her eyes! 

As the ancient scroll promised, Raven and Star Girl were transformed into birds of a feather!  Raven looked at Star Girl and Star Girl looked at Raven and the two were the same!  They called to each other and took wing together, creating a massive light show that caused the North sky to glow for all eternity.  The two were Star Birds now, a Phoenix and her mate, and they flew high into the night sky together, searching for a new home.  They flew away from the Earth, abandoning the trapped, confused beings that they once were, and found the Sun!  Here they made a nest and stayed, living amongst the forest of flames, soaring above the surface of the Sun, where they lived happily ever after.

The End. 

Friday, 13 September 2013


The air inside was close, dusty and dry.  A whiff of smoke scents the air in a vaguely menacing way.  The only light source in the room is an alter in the corner with a few sputtering votive candles slowly giving up on life.

When he first entered the room, the boy felt the sickly crawling sensation of webs against his bare arms and face.  In the background he imagined he could hear tiny skittering noises, the sounds of things with thousands of legs.  Maybe the sound of scales rubbing against scales.  He couldn't remember exactly what had caused him to flee into this place, but his panicked mind could easily recall the urgency of the need.  Trying to remember images are too frigthening to view...

A sharp pain in his shin and the boy stumbles into a wooden pew.  Only then does he recognize the church he attends every Sunday with his family, dressed in their best, all shiny and sleepy after being torn from their warm beds and scrubbed and rushed out the door.  Made uncomfortable and bored for what seemed like eternity, all the while being lectured about how terrible you must certainly be.  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Now the church building is dark and abandoned and strangely ancient, as if no one had entered it for decades.  How can this be when there is a Traveling Circus is right outside?  But no...musn't remember the Circus yet.  Don't want to remember the jugglers and the clowns and don't want to remember her or...

She was wearing a blue sundress with yellow trim and a silly floppy straw hat.

The boy clutches his knee and whimpers on the old hardwood floor of the tiny chapel, slumped between pews.  Pain brings him back to the moment.  The smell of smoke is growing stronger, along with the sounds of the bugs and way off in the distance is it the sound of music?  The boy can hear the organs from the Circus in the back of his mind without ever letting himself hear the screams or the sirens.  A brief glimpse of her bare white thigh and something dark and shiny dripping onto the dirty pile of rags underneath.

The smell of smoke is getting stronger.

The boy turns and tries to regain his feet but his limbs are strangely leaden.  His fingers and toes feel far away and strange and he barely manages to roll onto his back before all mobility is lost.  He hears the clicking and snapping of all the things in the darkness coming for his face and then he hears the Voice.

Quiet and sibilant, the voice of a snake.  The Voice tickles his ears and paints pictures in his mind.

"What if it was inevitable?  Are your actions really yours or were they preordained?  If everything you did was part of your inevitable destiny anyway, what part does morality play?  What if time is so fixed that, even were you able to find a way to turn back the clock, the events would play out exactly the same?  If that is true then it's not your fault that it happened.  Then nothing that happens is ever your fault."

The boy can see the clown.  His pale, grinning white face and dark fierce eyes.  The lips so bright candy apple red smeared and dripping with her blood.  The bloody palm on her thigh in the moonlight seemed to glow.  Her pretty dress is torn and her eyes are closed.

"It's OK, my boy," the voice proclaims.  The boy is not particularly reassured.  "All the blood burnt away while "Entry of the Gladiators" played on and on and no one can blame you because it was always going to happen...don't you understand?  You don't have a choice.  Your suffering was decided long before you came along."

The smell of smoke is stronger than ever and the chittering of bugs has resolved into the bright angry crackle of flames consuming the ancient, well-oiled wood of the chuch.  The boy suddenly, helplessly recalls the stables behind the circus tent.  The stable boy he knocked out with a piece of wood from the church's log pile fell to the ground like a puppet whose strings were cut.  Dousing him with gasoline next to her prone form made the scrape on the back of his hand sting.  He tried not to look at the angry dark gash on her thigh or the unnatural bend of her neck.  When he threw the burning match did he see her eyes fly open?  Did they widen in sudden helpless awareness?  Or when the flames rose up was the high pitched moan only the steam escaping?

As he ran he had been able to forget these things.  Now the voice reminds him.  "It's not your fault.  All of it had to be.  Where is the evil?  Where is the blame?"  

The room is quite bright now, illuminated by the flames.  Inside the boy's mind he sees the clown with the blood red lips and the sharp, sharp teeth.  The clown is laughing and licking the blood off of his fingers.  The clown grins at the boy and speaks.  The voice of a snake.  The voice of the boy.  

"It wasn't your fault.  The pain was too big for you to contain.  Everyone needed to feel it.  Now, they'll remember forever.  Now they will know.  These things had to happen.  They already did."

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Season's End

I was excited yesterday to welcome the soon-to-be Fall season by buying a new pair of jeans, wearing multiple layers without fear of overheating and putting an extra blanket on the bed, all within the span of a day.  When the season changes, it just can feel it.  Even though the temperature is only a few degrees cooler, there's just something in the air...

And then today it's rainy and cool and mellow and grey.  I like it, even though it makes me moody...

I've been feeling restless, anti-social and pensive lately anyway, and the weather seems to be exacerbating the situation.  See, I have a lot of plans and schemes (or hopes and dreams) for the future, but almost nothing that I can currently act on.  Everything I want to accomplish lately takes a lot of planning and saving and waiting for the opportune moment.  This is not something I'm particularly good at...I tend to conceive of something I want to do and then immediately do it (or immediately discard and forget about it).  All of this long-term planning has me feeling a lot like I'm just spinning my wheels.

I am trying to be patient and simply enjoy the journey, but it's not easy.  At least there's always lots of little things to do to occupy the time.  Although I worry that the little things will gang up and overwhelm the big things and nothing important will ever get done.  Hmmph.  Sometimes it's hard to retain focus.

Oh well it is as it ever was!  And all the little things combine to make everything radically different once enough time has passed anyway...or at least so far!  Every time I think I'm stuck in a rut, I only have to think back to see the dramatic twists and turns my life has taken...everything is always changing and the status quo is nearly always tissue-thin...shockingly so, usually! 

Just sometimes it seems like everything is taking too damn long...