October 12th, 2019

  1. The River


    Vines reach from a trellis which looms lovingly over all.

    Succumbing to the heavy somberness of the day, she sat herself by the leaden river at the place where it curved through the center of the city, wide and slow, the water hesitant as it passes beneath bridges, shrunken in the shadows of the tall buildings which line its banks, wide and slow on its weary way to the bay.

    The wind was strong that day and its repelling gusts caressed the surface of the river, sending rippled shivers up the water’s tingling spine in such a way that it appeared to be flowing backwards, back to its origins far away, a place which she imagined as being small and quiet, near nothing and removed from everything, though close by is a cabin, in a clearing within an evergreen forest, the air minted, sharp and clean, perfumed by the greenish blue tones of camphor and rosemary, her thin figure bent over the paper where she drew things just as she knew them to be.

    Here was a portrait of a child, out in the cold, banished from the house whilst inside his parents argued violently. He stood in the middle of the yard as a gentle snow fell onto the bare skin of his outstretched arms, his unshod toes tightening on the blades of grass which remained steadfast to where they pierced through the frozen soil. The shouting continued and he grew colder as he grew older, shivering now as the afternoon gave way to evening.

    She sat by the river and thought about what may come next—if there might be a possibility for a correction, if she would ever again feel less disturbed. She sensed that this place did not think kindly of her presence, or perhaps she simply was not suited for it, that herself as a conception had somehow become misaligned with all of that which presently encompassed her.

    “They were dividing”, she concluded: She was not wanted here and thus she must be separated from it. She felt herself being removed and she found herself outside, standing there as an evening awoke, the world cast in a shaded blue which was interrupted only by the soft warmth behind the windows in the house which now stood before her, a flickering orange glow obscured only slightly by the falling snow.

    She turned back to the river and stepped into a small wooden boat which had been tied to a post near to where she had been seated, its chipped and peeling red paint giving it the appearance of a battered and abandoned thing, a thing with which she felt a certain empathy as she climbed in amongst two broken oars, the boat swaying eagerly beneath her, as if it were pleased to have been given purpose once more.

    After finding her balance, she fumbled with the simple knot which secured the boat, her fingers creaking and stubborn with cold. Once the boat was freed, she pushed away from the bank and out into the river, out to where the wind catches her, its gusts pulling her into their embrace. She is propelled away from there, against the flow of the river, the crests of waves breaking against the weight of her thoughts as she moves between them, up and away from there, tossed to and fro until a secluded solace is presented to her, the hidden air still and calm, a place which had been awaiting her with hushed breath.

    She steps from the small boat onto the shore and promptly feels the warmth of the welcoming soil beneath her toes. After pausing briefly to bask in the benevolence she senses emanating from this place, her eyes close as she tightens within the affectionate embrace of an unseen yet perceptible security. She opens her eyes and turns to see the boat slipping out from view into the darkness behind her, along a small stream which runs between her feet on its way towards something far off and forgotten.

    Before her the sun rises tall and strong from behind mountaintops, its new light spilling warmth into the valley, down where a clearing breaks itself free from the forest and a small cabin is revealed. The fondest feelings flood forth and a sensation of furtherance washes over her mind like turpentine; those prior miseries now dissolving into a future’s possibility. Without quarrel or question, she draws herself upon a path, the paper unfurling before her as she scrawls, herself skipping mirthfully with the dizziness of maypole merriment, unbridled by the frenzy of a hope reborn, herself desperately clutching to each peaceful moment as it passes, herself now herself as an entirely separated thing—a difference quite distinctive from all of that from which she had been so recently shorn.