If life is to be measured like sands of time, running from the upper hourglass to the bottom, I think it only fair the sands possess different colors for different periods. Not all of one’s life is the same color.
Once the sands of time have fallen through to a beautiful mountain at the bottom, the hourglass being flipped over to do it’s thing again resembles reincarnation. Even if I were to buy into the idea of reincarnation, (or purgatory for that matter) does it not seem ridiculous that one would have the same amount of time in the next life?
Perhaps the sand measures something else… Love, for instance…. However, if one hopefully were to progress as in evolve, would not there be more love in the next life? Looking at history of human beings on the planet, one wonders. Perhaps it’s the opposite.
Where the alchemical meets the mundane in etchings of hourglasses, they have wings. These wings signify that time flies. But it doesn’t always. We all know that. Sometimes it drags.
Then there’s those shattered hourglasses. Those tragically smashed all over the pavement in sharp shards. Like so many young black guys killed by ignorant policeman. A mad man with a gun in a school or a shopping mall throws that hourglass full of sand in the upper half against a brick wall. Sands released too soon.
Let’s forget about time altogether and consider the hourglass as a female form, in ephemeral youth, temporarily full of wonder.
Yet, maybe there’s something outside the physical realm. It’s like that sometimes. Sometimes things get lucky. Perhaps even magic exists and there is something that is not bound by time.
I’ve been writing a short short story a day for eleven weeks, I am doing this as a participant in a Round Robin at The Writer’s Salon in San Francisco. I now have 77 stories. they are piling up so I have decided to share some here. Each day there is a prompt which starts me off. From there, anything goes. Rule is: one can only write for 12 minutes and can edit afterwards.
Two TREES on the edge of a cliff
~I’m tired of being here
~What do you mean you’re tired of being here? You can’t be tired of being here. You are a tree. We are trees. We’ve been here a long time.
~Right, & we’re supposed to be here for a long time to come, but I’m tired of it. Sorry, but I am even tired of you. You and I, all the time, here on the edge.
~It’s better than being on the edge alone, you know that.
~Right well, you got me there. UHG..this time of year…I hate the gray skin. I hate the nakedness of it all. Truth be told, I’m tired of the whole winter, spring, summer, fall thing. It’s same old same old all the time. So predictable. Nothing happens.
~Yeah, but you gotta admit in the winter we have a lot of fun and in the fall our leaves are the brightest, orange yellow-ish color anywhere on the planet other than some sunsets which never last very long.
~It’s true I like the splat contest. I like that we’re not on a farm and that the people who live near us hardly ever come at the right time to get our persimmons. I like how we play the game who can get the most splats in the day.
~True that’s a fun game but we always know at the beginning of the day how it’s gonna end. Always depending on WonderWind and what mood she’s in that day and the way she cares to gust, blows the surprise out of who wins on any given day she’s around.
~Yeah, But it’s super fun and she’s not always around being the deciding factor.
~True, but I’m tired of being taken for granted. We are saving these humans lives, and they are so busy they can’t even see or appreciate us.
~Remember that time when people used to hug us?
~Yes, that was nice. I think the worst time was when that idiot Shel Silverstein wrote that book “The Giving Tree”. I mean what the fuck bullshit message was that? What was he doing? Trying to teach people how to have a dysfunctional relationship?
~Yeah, I don’t think people read that to their kids as much as they used to.
~I hope not. If that guy walked under my tree, I would make for sure to have a big branch fall on his head giving him a headache for a couple decades. Better yet I’d have one of my roots trip him, so he’d fall off the edge a little bit, not so much as to kill him, but just enough to injure his right hand.
~Hey, wait a minute! hold on there! Why would you ever want to injure anyone? Those human beings are in such a mess. They are constantly injuring themselves! Directly or indirectly.
~Yes, I know it’s true. Even I, a species able to maintain complete equanimity feel sad for them. I wish there was some way I could help.
Just then a young woman comes up to the tree. She has a stool with her. She sets that down under the tree. Forlorn, she pulls a rope out of the bag she’s brought with her. Dejected, she stands for a long time at the edge overlooking the chasm. Is she considering jumping? What is she going to do with that rope? It’s for sure she’s not going to play with it. She has an agenda. She comes back to the stool, stands on it while she ties one rope end around the tree branch and the other around her neck.
WindWonder starts to gasp and move quickly around in a flurry. The trees start to wiggle and wobble in the wind. The girl pushes the stool out from under her. There is a moment inbetween, when WindWonder wooshes, and the wanting tree yearns. The branch breaks. It all falls down.
The young lady gasps “THANK GOD!” She lays down beneath the tree and looks through the intricate lace of the old grey naked branches. She watches the clouds in the sky pass one after the other. For the rest of the afternoon, she looks up through the maze of the tree’s pattern at the clouds changing shapes, appearing and dissolving moving across the endless sky.
She comes back many years later, with two small children, gets on a stool and hangs a swing.
Because of daylight savings time, my walk around the lake is quite a bit darker than usual. It’s Sunday, and a few family outings are ending up. I park a little irregularly, not quite exactly between the two lines because I back up in order to head out easily. I know it doesn’t matter how I am parked because no new cars are going to be coming in at that hour.
Three quarters around the lake, I notice coming towards me and then notice as they walk by me, two people dressed entirely in white. I don’t look closely, but I think they are dark skinned maybe Indian maybe African-American. That’s not the unusual thing. The unusual thing is that they are dressed in white. Part of the Lake Temescal in Oakland appeal, is all kinds of people are happily enjoying the park.
As I get further along the path by the lake, to where the field accommodates larger groups, I see one large group of many many people dressed in white. Not all of them, however. They still look Indian or African-American. There are some stragglers away from the group, people with baby carriages and babies in them and couples without carriages and pairs of friends. The majority of them however are centered in a circle around a sound similar to the hindu chanting I know from Amma’s. A place where people used to dress in white.
The sound I’m hearing is far away so I can’t know exactly what it is. I stop and ask a straggling couple what is going on. The young man doesn’t know exactly what to say so he says, “Church”. “Nice” I say and add “Blessings to you all” before walking on.
The woman with the guy who said ‘church’, disapproves of me. I can see her body grimace, and tighten up when I ask them if I am hearing Hindi. She is dressed in full length white with blue trim around the edge of her head covering. This resembles the clothing Mother Theresa nuns wore in the early 90s going to and from Saint Pauls, where they were housed, near 28th and Sanchez.
Mother Theresa, even occasionally went to that building. I had a boyfriend, who lived a block from there. He broke up with me, and started to become best friends with my housemate. My housemate would, of course go to his house. Once housemate saw Mother Theresa in route. I found that infinitely unfair. I thought I was the one who deserved to see Mother Theresa.
A decade or two before that, I spent a lot of time going to meditation classes and meditation retreats. My best friend was interested in no such thing. She was interested in marijuana and occasionally a lot of alcohol. One night after a bottle of rum or something she teleported to my apartment.
The next day she told me what I was wearing and everything that I was doing the night before. There’s no way she could’ve known that. Again, I thought it was unfair. I was going to the meditation retreats. I was the one trying to reach god. Somehow she was already there.
Funny how the mind works and how I went from the gathering to the blue trim of Mother Teresa to that night.
Walking back to my car, two young men from the group but not dressed in white, stop me on the dark path.
“You come here much?” One asks.
“Yes” I answer.
“Where is there a bathroom?” he asks.
I tell him.
“Thank you so much” The other says sincerely. Perhaps he’s the one in need.
“Of course!” I say.
I realize now, after having a bit more time with these two, that the group is Ethiopian. Not that it matters.
Still, I wonder why they are dressed in white. I could look that up no doubt but I’d rather leave it unknown.
I am on the plane looking at the clouds. I needed to get a Lyft at3:30 AM to make this flight. The window view is more beautiful than usual. It is dawn. I always get the aisle seat if I can cuz truth is I can still see out the window
i am looking at these celestial clouds and remembering when I flew after my sister Sally died young leaving three small children. I was in the airport talking to a person dressed in an air attendants outfit that I didn’t recognize.
Suddenly someone alerted everyone to get ready and others stand back. I was told to stand back, out of the way. I didn’t know what was going on. I obeyed.
Then low and behold, Steve Martin appeared. All the people I thought were waiting passengers and airline ticket counter people and attendants, were actors in a movie. Steve began arguing ridiculously with the ticket counter lady.
The experience left me with a strong impression that our real lives are not our real lives. Somehow I felt this had something to do with Sally. Like all our lives were plays and we were actors and it was her time to get off the set
After this experience I was on the plane. Wanting Sally to appear to me in the sky. Much like as a child I wanted God to come down from the ceiling. And do what ? Give a blessing? No. I think I wanted just to connect. I never got farther than God coming down because God never did. Or maybe God did.
Today in the airport cafe, I heard a concerned young lady asking her partner and wondering whether the cafe had hot chocolate because it was not on the menu. I looked hard at the menu and saw mocha this and mocha that. I said to them, “I think they do, just ask” and I went on my way.
Several minutes later I ran into them and asked
“Did they have it?” “Yes, they did!” She said. “Oh good, I’m happy for you”. I said. We all smiled.
And there you have it, God. Simple ordinary love here and there.
Walking in my neighborhood, I notice tiny red flowers on a gigantic stalk of giant thorns. I guess they need a lot of protection.
I read in the New York Times today that there are more guns than people in the USA. Some people with guns say they have them in case they need protection. Unfortunately these guns are often used aggressively towards people with no protection. Protection is a slippery slope.
Reading the news is bad for my mental health. Neuroscience can now prove the brain (thanks to the amygdala) will remember the bad things more than it remembers the good things.
January first is a beginning … of course I know that is not really true. But I guess all I ever want or need perhaps is a rationale – a validation – an encouragement. A carrot. So that I can. Get the horse before the cart. Again, to move
In choosing the title, it was either the word “murder” or the word “rain” to be put first. In this world of social media, we are always considering what has more the draw. So I chose “murder”. No judgement there. Full disclosure, I’d probably prefer to read or watch a mystery over any other genre (feeling appropriately guilty about that and all).
On with the story. Because of the rain, this morning I arrive at my kitchen counter to find hundreds (at least) of ants scurrying around the honey jar. it is closed (thank god for something) but they are all over it. Without thinking, I pick up the jar and wash it off, killing a few score ants in the process. I open the honey and am glad to find none inside. I do all this automatically because my mind’s focus is on one one thing: my coveted morning black tea.
Afterwards, I witness the tiny debris of death in the sink. I also notice the hundreds (at least) of ants still on my counter now searching for something that is no longer there.
i watch them as they communicate to each other, butting heads for a scond and moving on, the way they do. I think about how they are sentient beings with mothers and children. how they work so well together. Without a queen bee, they seem to be one for all and all for one. I am moved by their ability to cooperate far better than humans. I remember how they can carry six (is it six?) times their weight.
As there is nothing left for them to be there for, I decide to wait it out. I don’t kill anymore. The unthinking mass murder moment is over. I am thinking since there is no more honey, the ants will eventually leave. Over the next couple hours as I go in and out of the kitchen I check in with the group. The ants that are all in a tight thick circle around where the honey was, I thought were dead as they were unmoving for hours but later in the day I came by and they were gone. By the end of the night they were all gone.
I had the great good fortune to have a spiritual teacher for 34 years. He died suddenly. We didn’t know he was ill. A few weeks before he died he said if he were beyond alone in empty starkness and the only other being around was an ant, he would try his very hardest to communicate with that ant. It was sort of a crazy thing to say but I liked it and I always remembered it.
It’s a rather impossible situation like one hand clapping. I don’t know how one communicates to an ant but I do know that you don’t have to kill them. There’s always another way.