The rising and the falling, an arc traced through time and gravity, a spiral of the starry host: these are evidence enough of our passing. Trace a line in wet sand and reveal the message I left for you, touch the dewy petals of the first blossom; a breath transposed into wire, a net to capture my words and set them on fire. Laugh as we tumble down the face of the sand dunes on our way from yesterday to tomorrow, gathering crow’s feet at the corner of our eyes.
Somewhere, in the garden, down under the ivies, if you brush away the gathering dry leaves, there is a rope attached to a wooden hatch that opens to a secret passageway. If you can find it, the passageway leads to a darker place, a place where the light of your eyes will be challenged to see what skitters and slithers and crawls across the earthen floor and along the cobwebbed walls. Do not stop in the dark place but continue on through to the next room, where you will find a light and a desk with a quill pen and parchment ready for you to write the truth that you dare not speak above.
One day Lilly decided to explore the neighborhood. Mostly, she felt safer staying indoors, or spending time in the park across the street; some days she almost felt safe at school, but the adults there took care of her so she didn’t need to worry about things. Mostly. At home, Mom and Dad looked out for her. So, stepping out on her own, without her parents, was a pretty big deal, big enough that she didn’t tell her parents.
Still, she was only so strong, and decided it would be best to keep her eyes closed and explore only with her other senses. Perhaps, she thought, the world would be easier if she only had to contend with sound and smell and touch. No seeing, and she certainly wasn’t going to taste anything, so three out of five felt manageable.
She knew the feel of the cool iron hand-rail and the sound of her shoes as she stepped down the front stairs to the red flagstone sidewalk. This part of the neighborhood she knew with all of her senses and felt confident using only three. Usually the pink and purple of the pansies caught her eye, but now their floral scent came to her. She felt a little disappointed that she couldn’t tell them apart.
Another smell came to her, this one made her feel hungry. Fresh bread. There was a bakery just down the street, and as she followed the smell, she imagined creamy butter and the warmth of fresh rolls in her hand made her wish she could taste the bread.
The bell over the door dinged when she entered the shop. She knew the counter displaying all of the baked goods would be to her right, and the small tables where people might enjoy their pastries or baked goods would be to her left. The kitchen where the smells were coming from, would be straight ahead. She stepped into the middle of the room to avoid any customers who might be coming or going. The door dinged again.
Lilly raised her nose to follow the wonderful smell, stood up on her tiptoes to get even closer. She caught a trace of raisins, could see them in her mind, the dark nuggets of sweet fruits.
A hand rested on her shoulder and she settled back down to the floor on her feet. The hand felt warm and reassuring. “It’s okay mom. I’m strong today.” The hand left her shoulder, and Lilly listened to the steps that followed her all the way home; the rustle of a paper bag from the bakery in her mother’s hand, a loaf of raisin bread safely carried home.
Is it wrong to judge the guy sitting next to me on the plane, after he polished off three beers and a package of skittles, two trips to the restroom, waiting until the last minute to finish off the last beer and hand over the can to the flight attendant collecting trash, or when he stuffed the candy wrapper under the seat because he wasn’t quite finished, or maybe it was the annoying backwards-style cap he wore, or just the overwhelming vibe that this guy epitomizes all that the rest of the world would consider what is wrong with Americans?
There is, in a remote corner of the world, a certain promise in the form a flower that blossoms only in the presence of a true heart. A young suitor might find this flower to convince his intended of his sincerity, and so win her heart. There is, however, a catch, as the universe is filled with complexities and challenges. In order to obtain this blossom, one must convince the man who grows the flowers, and his demands that you complete a task; in most cases, one involving a bit of mischief and larceny that puts the suitor at risk of staining his reputation and blemishing his constitution, risking the ire of the flower such that it rarely performs as originally expected.