The clouds languidly flow across the azure sky, besetted with fading golden rays of the setting sun. The sparkling but dying rays valiantly attempt to stay alit for one last instance before they seep away into nothingness.
Cool evening breezes rustle through the trees, slowly fluttering the leaves of autumn above like multi-coloured hues of the rainbow. Birds flitter and chirp, flicking from branch to branch, tree to tree.
In the background can be heard the distant and occasional automobile as it passes by, out of site and momentarily attracting one’s attention. Then its passing is quickly discarded as a mere distraction.
The branches and bramble enflamed within the fire-pit emits the pungent aromas of the surrounding forest of oaks, birches, pine and other underbrush . Shadows thrown by the overhead branches lazily plays tricks with the last remaining rays of sunlight that has absorbed my attention …..
What?! Sorry, it’s my day off. Yes, it’s a beautiful evening. Great for communing with nature. Fall is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year.
No, I live in the city. Lived in the area for a while but moved away.
Hey! Look at the size of that tree house ……..
My attention returns to the sky as those gathered about turn their attention to the tree-house pointed out by the excited child. But by now twilight had slipped its veil over the backyard in the countryside.
Against the thin dark mask of nightfall that was slipping into place was the puffy shape of the clouds pinned against the sky like patchworks of cotton. If you looked carefully and long enough the barest hint of the distant moon about to begin its march across the night sky was discernible. Playing hide and seek or attempting to break through? The game is entered.
A radio suddenly blares on, spewing out a discordant clashing musical instruments clamouring for superiority. All of which is counter-weighted by the sound of raw voices, angry voices, sad voices, dazed voices emanating from the throats of individuals who, apparently, have not yet learnt how to find themselves.
A voice in the crowd eventually intercedes and asks one of the children to change the radio station. This was then momentarily followed by the distinctive static that one hears when swiftly twirling the tuning knob through the various radio frequencies. Disjointed communication.
Then, just as quickly clear sound once again breaks forth from the speakers. The children slowly and subtly disperse off in various directions. Looking back up at the sky one notices that the stars are starting to sparkle through the occasional breaks of the now silver-lined clouds.
Scanning the sky once again, the moon is now completely obscured by the clouds. The earlier breezes seem to have died off, now gently caressing the shadowed and framed branches against the night sky.
The bumps and indentations of the ground under the carpet of grass cushioning mould themselves to the back; and the pleasure lulls you into a deep sense of relaxation. Just then, a big husky dog strolls over and lays beside you, hunched on its forelegs, eyes and ears alert to the sounds of the night; the children wandering and playing amongst themselves. The dog, a guardian of the night.
I am slowly slipping under, holding on to nothing.
Voices dissipates. Sounds meld into nothingness. The song comes on at that precise moment and the imagination takes flight. The senses sharpen; and I am drifting away from the shore to what’s out there. To where it all began. Where it all comes together. The beauty of the infinite, the unknown.
Grey mornings. Blue skies. Red evenings. It doesn’t matter who’s around to feel alive. All you’ve got to do is crawl out of that hole that you’ve dug for yourself. If you stay the night would not give you up. If you want, the morning would keep its trust. The demons would get their battles and you can be assured that the voice of reassurance would reach out from close-by to steady you.
Some days just slip away ……
Want another beer? Sure, thanks.
Look what you made me wear! I look and feel like a peacock. Everyone one else here is so casual. Don’t worry about it. No one here will say anything to you. Besides, you look good. But you said that we were going to a party?
(There is petulence and accusation in the tone and the words).
Well, we’ll say that we’re going to a party over at ……..
The conversation is whispered between the man and woman going by.
People are clustered in random groups and engaged in various conversations around the bristling flames among the logs in the pit. Introductions are made all around. Jokes are shared. Personal and intimate news are exchanged. Social issues are discussed and commentaries made. Music appreciation and the hopes of mothers and fathers are given vocal expression. The atmosphere overall is quite easy-going.
The tongues of the flames hungrily licking at the cords of wood within the fire pit have their own magic. Whipped here and there by the passing breeze. Sculpted by the random positioning of the upright or fallen logs. Fuelled on occasion by the still fresh sap that bursts forth from within the heart of the stumps as the outer layer of bark is scorched and reduced to smoldering coal.
The radiant heat of the flames reaches out in waves across the open expanse of space that surrounds the pit and makes its presence felt to all those within its radius. Beautiful things, flames are. Their unbridled form and energy. A panorama of liquid colours contained within those elemental gases. And, at the same time, deadly to the unwary and uninitiated. Death and rebirth – dancing and weaving they are entwined from spark to dust. Insignificance to brillance.
Looking back up at the sky it can be seen that the stars are more clearly seen; and they are also out in greater numbers. The sliver of the moon is clearly visible overhead as the cloud cover slowly dissolves away to expose the majesty and beauty of the heavens and the night sky. A new sense of moisture is detected within the featherly touches of the breeze. Sounds in the night take on a new tone and generates new perceptions. Voices do not appear to simply disappear into the nothingness of the surrounding landscape. Instead they appear to be contained within the somewhat intangible boundaries created by the blanket of the night.
What do you think about the Clinton and Lewinsky scandal?
The opinions, pros and cons are bandied about all around. No side comes down clearly on either side of the subject. But there is a concensus that Clinton is a disgrace to the Presidency of the U.S and to men in particular. Monica, both the men and women agreed, was a little too naive and was used by everyone involved in the incidents and ensuing investigations.
When do you think the teacher’s strike is going to end? I say that it is time the government legislates the striking teachers back to the classrooms. We are, after all, their employers?
The teachers fared no better than Clinton and Monica.
The radio, forgotten in the distant background, is turned off and everyone realises that it is quite late. The beer, fire and conversations are slowly fading away. The dog rises and goes off in search of the children, most of whom have by now disappeared into the house. The dying embers of the fire are beyond the attempts of the ever-present breeze. The black and vast canvass of the night sky is now clearly awashed with sparkling stars. The silver crescent of the moon begining to dip toward the western horizon – the whisper of another dawn waiting in the wings of the eastern horizon.
Day and night. They will and always have been with us from the very begining. Tomorrow is just another day. Tonight is tonight. And there are days …….