My theme for you today is: Passing through time.
Sometimes I would bitterly resent there would be no time machines invented during my lifetime. Other times I have the grace of an adult to say we are all time travelers, passing through, at a speed of one second per second. If I allowed myself, I guess I could get twisted up—but I never do—at the thought that I will have passed from this earth before the first manned rocket gets to Mars.
Once again, as you know, I offer you pieces from my subconscious, from my Freefall Fridays, unedited pieces, as it would be unethical to edit Freefall. I wish I could show you what my FF peers write too.
My childhood nemesis was big and black and very dark. If I had any stolen chocolate—watch out. If I tried to sneak home along the back tree line—no go. And if I tried to walk along, innocently whistling Dixie—I would hear the sidewalk patter of four big feet, getting closer and faster and faster. The only way to save myself was to be already “roar!”-ing as I turned around—only then would Kaiser dig in his nails and tumble to a stop.
I remember one day I was just not listening. This was in my younger childhood. Suddenly I was knocked down from behind… I was quite shook up. Luckily I didn’t need band-aides but I never did recover my shoe.
Luckily time is a great ally. Soon I was old enough to carry a five-foot Boy Scout staff. Just call me Little John. Soon I was older still, carrying my staff across my bicycle for my paper route. The dogs were big and vicious, but I was a human, I had technology on my side.
And one day, just before I went off to Rover camp, I visited old Kaiser. His eyes were half blind. I walked up to him, where he lay, and his tail wagged oh so slowly. I stayed with him for a while, this old childhood nemesis while my life had moved on. I think tomorrow I will share this story at the nursing home with my great uncle. He used to be mean to me too. Time heals us all.
I’ve got to admit it. I like spring. But only back home. I so miss my home. We used to all talk about when we get home. That changed to “if I get home” Now someone has written a poem, “I have rendezvous with death, when apple blossoms fill the air.”
Yes. I hope the trees will bloom with beautiful bountiful blossoms, so delicate and white. I liked those days when the fields had such promise. I used to marvel at how the big animals moved so slowly, and the little ones were so nimble. Remember how fast the cow moved every time Gordon left his guard post? Galump, galump, straight to the corn-field? Remember the ducklings? When I colored them for school that first time I used crayons of every color. I mad the sky purple and the grass blue. Then Colin said I had the colors wrong, —then he checked himself and said it was art. But I never used nonreal colors again.
Where I am now no one makes any art, tells any fantasies. A few make poems. No one cares a hoot about the natives. No one ever admires the “landscape.” It’s only “terrain” to us. I wish now I had taken up watercolors. If you sell off any of my old stuff then please buy Liam a watercolor set. I don’t know if he would ever use it but I think everyone in this sorry world deserves a chance to have some imagination. Tonight on sentry I will think about those old apple and cherry blossoms.
I hope all is well with you folks.
Prompt: I was robbed
Seconds become minutes. Minutes become degrees. Degrees are 360 to a circle. Is that fine enough? No, there are one thousand mils to a circle, and an object two mils wide at a thousand meters is two meters long. A handy way to estimate range, if you notice a two-meter long automobile.
An angle of one degree, extended out one light year, obtains a difference of three or so light years: call it a parsec. Oh, you parse the angle by one second, not a degree.
A base of ten is fine if you have ten fingers, or if you’re a French revolutionary eager to go metric, but if you have two feet with the toes too small and far away to count, you need to go to a base of 12. Then you have minutes and hours and a week—oh, better add an extra day there, just to be safe. And the months and years go by and each day I go outside and glance at my sundial which gets out of whack and then back into whack again, year by year, and some days I just stare at the sundial and the birds and feel the breeze, and once in a while I start to plow through a mathematics textbook to understand geometry better. I make progress and become friends with old Pythagoras. I get it! I’m so happy!
And then I sit in the breeze and glance around and my brain is as tiny as the brains of the birds. And the sun turns and the seasons turn and one day I realize my geometry book is all mildewed and I understand almost nothing. “I was robbed!” I robbed myself.
Writer’s note: I looked it up—a parsec is indeed from a second, not a degree, but the term is not from parsing, it’s from combining parallax and second. It is 3.25 light years.
Prompt: Just beyond the woods
Just beyond the edge of the woods is a ditch. Then comes the grass—not a lawn. Perpendicular to the woods, dividing the grass for a ways is a line of bunchy cascara trees. On the other side, the other acre is tall yellow grass. We left it untouched most years. One year we burned it off and discovered all sorts of U-shaped channels: mouse runs. Also some charred mouses.
Along the bunching cascara was a perfectly circular big tunnel in the grass: a rabbit run. I daren’t get too close, lest it be a rabbit run no more. Later the tall grass part began to get clumps of green reeds, of the sort you made little firing spears out of. This was after our cow Sandy was changing the ecology of the field.
The ditch was dug with a machine by my uncle Joe. He’s gone now, but I still have little good to say about him, although at least he raised a son to win the provincial golden gloves award. Joe was an alcoholic who burned many lives, and reneged on a deal with my dad. Good riddance says I. “When we grow up,” said my brother, “let’s not have any relatives.”
Beyond the ditch the woods were a refuge. There one could repose, far from any human misery, listening to chittering squirrels and the far off friendly drone of little fixed wing aircraft. My school principle took me for my first ride, showing me that you can have excitement legally, above the cool green woods.
from Fridays during 2013 and 2014
September of 2015