Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February Made Me Shiver

So they came upon a field of empty trees, stark and witchlike against the country winter sky. The ground was dirty, muddy, the patches of frozen ( then thawed then frozen then thawed still tenaciously clinging to it's green) grass, now petrified in a permanent taxidermy of an orchard. The gnarled and burned branches lay broken haphazardly underneath the victims. He pulled over, and she got out to take pictures, but the farm dog tied up to the distant barn heard them and sounded the alarm. So they drove further down the empty road, and found a more inconspicuous spot for her to pretend to be a photographer. He stayed in the car.

 "What do you think they are?"

"I think they are monsters."
 "I think they are trees. Probably apple trees."
"I think you are wrong. They are monsters."
 "Well if they are not apple trees, they are too sad to be monsters."
 "Don't you think monsters are sad? I think monsters must be the saddest of all animals. They are all alone. There are very few of any one kind, they are all different and alone and have no one to relate to their own particular monstrosity."
 "But all these trees, they aren't alone. They are just dead together. They must have been alive together at some point too."
 "What if it's not just lots of monsters, but only one monster, buried under the ground, with lots of arms sticking up and out, all connected by tentacle roots, and they all look dead together because only one huge massive thing underneath our feet is dead?"
 "You are a weird funny girl"
 "It's not weird or funny. It's tragic and sad. You only think I'm funny cause you feel like somewhere deep in your chest I might be right. And that's why you put up with me."
"I put up with you because you are brilliant and beautiful."
"That isn't the point. The point is I am right. In some world, these are not trees, this is the brittle rotting skeleton of a creature we might only see in our dreams, something low and long and buried and slow like a glacier or like that giant fungus that is basically the whole state of Washington. That makes much more sense than individual lifeforms that grow up uniformly despite being separate creatures, then die every winter and come back every Spring and just magically give us stuff to eat."
"So that would make sap blood."
 "Yes, and apples would be..."
 "...or warts...."
"something that falls off."
 "right, falls off a living creature, and then we eat it."

Suppose that each black and wizened broken trunk was broken open, that you drove your car straight into the field and mowed them down like kindling. Then as you get out of your Cadillac in the middle of the orchard, looking at the path of dead tree devastion behind you, your radiator starting to smoke, the ground around you starts to sparkle. Slight at first, then stronger, building momentum and light. Gathering like fireflies, only it's daytime though a dark daytime, and yet you can see them clearer and clearer. A thousand pricks of light, little diamonds rising out of the organic wreckage and war, floating hovering through their own pulsing a few feet above their former prisons.

 And every single one is a wish someone made before winter began, something that grew shimmering from a bit of dirt or bark or glass that got lodged one day in your chest, that was coated layer by layer over time with hopes you had for what might happen next year. Then the new year came and went, and February's winds stole all these pearls while we were sleeping, sucked them out of our mouths like cats sucking souls, blew them out of the houses and apartments and into the outlying forests and farms and jesus we're all hidden out there, our real selves and the prettiest part of ourselves, stuck cursed little summer souls in cold dark lifeless magic trees.

 So obviously, you have to knock them all down and free them.

 "But wait, what if our wishes need to hibernate and sleep through the winter like the trees, or they won't bloom when it gets warmers? What if I let them all out and then a frost kills them?"

 You're right, of course. But she doesn't like that conclusion, because it smacks of sentimentality, and spirituality, and purpose. And she'd rather have everything made of conflict.

 The little sparks from the crunching wreckage are now milling about, gusts of wind making them eddy and flow like Northern Lights. They haven't got anywhere to go, and so they blend and bleed with each other until it's a shimmering indistinct fog, diluting with the mud and asphalt of the road as it drifts up and over and into other fields.


  1. But February made me shiver
    With every paper I'd deliver
    Bad news on the doorstep
    I couldn't take one more step

    ...a brilliant piece of writing. Monsters and fire flies and magic of all sorts, just the thing for a cold February day.

  2. Well that's just about the grooviest thing I've read in awhile, at least much better than Sanskrit masquerading as Captcha.


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