The river overflowed the trails.
The brown cattails
And lilies there
And birds don’t care.
My disappointment flickers though.
I’ll let it go
There’s much to see.
When blocked from going on my walk,
I want to mind
Can rest, unwind.
Linked to dVerse Quadrille celebrating its 6th Anniversary and hosted by Grace with prompt word “flicker”.
Photo “Exterior of the Trail” by the author linked to K’lee and Dale‘s Cosmic Photo Challenge with theme “exterior”. I am on the outside or exterior of the Des Plaines River Trail at Half Day Forest Preserve. High water from the rains a couple days ago overflowed the river onto the trails although that overflowing is not evident in this picture. The collage below contains scenes in Half Day Forest Preserve that I would have missed if the trails were usable. They are also part of the “exterior” of these trails.
If my imaginary friend had more brains I’d trust her advice, but when Alice tells me something I have to examine it from all angles, especially those angles I forget to check. It might be the best advice I’ll get today, but I really should be getting it tomorrow–or yesterday.
I once told her that a neuroscientist would likely think she was some configuration of neurons acting up in my head. She observed, “They don’t know jack. Do you really think I’m a figment of your imagination?” She expected an answer, and silence wouldn’t do, so I tried dodging the question by saying, “I don’t even know what my imagination is!” She didn’t think I had one either.
“What do you think that crow means in the sky?” Alice gazed at some bird.
“The one in front of your face. And you think I’m in your imagination? You’re too dumb for me to fit in there.”
Then I think I saw what she was referring to: “That bird?”
“You better get your phone out before it’s too late–Ah!! Too bad. It’s too late. It’s gone.”
That saved me from getting out my phone.
“So what do you think it meant?” Her questions are not speculations for someone sitting in a parallel universe or falling through a black hole or bobbing back and forth in some time wormhole to contemplate. She demands real answers in the real world.
“Well, you know, it could mean anything.”
“Come on, brainless! Black crow, blue sky, flying by. What’s the message?”
“Do you know?” I might as well ask the one with brains.
Two lovers lie upon their bed
Made from a tree. They rest their heads
While in the distance there is strife.
They safely rest, imagine life
Without those worries and it’s then
They find their love alive again.
But when to them the fighting nears
They arm themselves in spite of fears
And fight defending what they know
Of good, of truth to help them grow.
Whatever happens that is when
They find their love alive again.
Bernard lived with his aunt, a widow without children, for the spring semester of the third grade. He was familiar with his aunt’s home where she held Christmas Eve parties late after Midnight Mass. His parents enrolled him in the nearby parish school.
His aunt would send him on errands to the grocer. On his first errand he brought back a loaf of bread, among other items as requested, and his aunt frowned. “See how you’ve pressed this loaf? It is ruined. How can I toast it? You think my money grows on trees! You’re selfish!” On future errands he paid special attention to the bread.
Realizing Bernard didn’t have a rosary, his aunt gave him one. She pointed out the five sets of ten beads for the Hail Marys separated by a bead for the Our Father. She explained the three sets of five mysteries that one had to think about when reciting the prayers. Although eager to learn and fascinated with the beads’ magic, Bernard was confused. He had more questions than his aunt had time for. One night he walked into her bedroom holding the rosary. “I don’t know if I skipped one. My fingers slipped. Does it count? Do I have to start over?” She told him to go back to bed and not bother her. The next day he was sent to the rectory after school.
In the rectory Bernard was told that his aunt wanted the priest to talk to him about “scruples”. Bernard was embarrassed and he didn’t remember what the priest said, but this was his first realization that the magic was very deep. Over the decades he came to understand that it was not just Catholic or Buddhist rosaries or Hindu mantras. The magic included every single word humans said or even thought to each other. He looked back on that five-minute visit with a parish priest as a life-changing miracle.
After that semester, his parents took him back to his old school. The parties at his aunt’s stopped. In a few years, his aunt moved to a drier climate for her health. He did not see her again, except unexpectedly once many years later when Bernard rented a house with five other graduate students.
As Bernard was heading toward the kitchen, he saw the top half of his aunt appear about ten feet in front of him. She was walking away as she turned to him. Her words appeared in his mind: “I’m sorry.” What could she be sorry for? Bernard remembered the deformed bread. He mentally thought, “It’s OK.” She vanished.
Three days after seeing his aunt, his mother called him. She told him his aunt died a few days ago. They were just informed. His aunt did not want his father to drive the distance to the funeral and what little she had she left to the church.
Bernard told his mother that his aunt appeared to him. He didn’t tell her about his aunt’s message. He never told his parents about that damaged loaf of bread and he didn’t want them to think badly of her now. Simply saying he saw a ghost would be enough of a shock and maybe worth a joke the next time they met. He didn’t mind. He was too old to be sent to the priest.
I met Bernard when he was retired living in a high-rise condo. Looking out the window at a party, we saw two pigeons playing like children over the tops of houses as the sun set deepening the shadows. They reminded him of his father and his aunt, now both deceased. He found it hard to imagine either of them as children although now he had no problem imagining them as birds. It occurred to Bernard that maybe his aunt’s message wasn’t for him but for his father, her brother, and he failed in his task that day to pick up the phone and tell his dad that he should give his sister a call.
After hearing this story from Bernard, I teased him. “Hey! Did all this really happen?” He thought for a while and said, “I suppose this story is a mixture of truth and fiction. The part I can’t forget, and the part you probably found unbelievable, is the part that actually happened. The rest, the parts you probably found believable enough, are the parts I can’t remember so well. It is as close to the truth as I know but telling the full truth about anything is thankfully impossible and unnecessary.”