Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

I wandered lonely as a cloud

An excerpt from today:

I'm sitting in my car on a very windy cold day looking out over the grey river at Fabyan Forest Park.
I have just run errands and the last one is the library.
The snow has been gone for so long- it's hard to imagine the woods with it. I can still it see somewhere in my mind- white, grey and blue.
The clouds above the line of trees on the opposite bank take on a purple grey color and I wonder if it's because of the brown trees below?
A mass of trees always put an aura in the air around it. Always, a sort of mist hangs around it even though it is no mist at all. It is just the different height of branches and twigs all delicately interlaced in the sky. So now the clouds are purple instead of merely just grey due to these brown interweavings.
And there's the tiniest big of purple in the river because the river always reflects the clouds. The color of purple in the river is so faint, you wouldn't notice it if you didn't see the trees touching the clouds into color.
I feel like I could go on forever about the trees, sky and river. A thousand years could go by and I wouldn't say it all. Not at all.
Can I know this place? If I moved away would it gain clarity and grow starbright? Or would it writhe and glower in my mind and become hidden in homesickness. This place did both when I was away in college. It gave me my best essay and it scored my heart with a hundred missing cuts and bruises. The lakes of Minnesota did nothing to satiate the need of this particular river and forest.
Why does a place do that? This place has memories in my mind from childhood but the memories are like dreams and I've never been sure if I went here with my parents and aunt or if I dreamed that I did, over and over as a child.
I am here now and I'm still not sure of those memories. I am simply glad to be here.

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Ouroboros in the Park

Japanese anemone flowers open blush pink petals in the park.  Their tall, delicate stems hold up the tender flowers, and in the centers glow tiny pistil-laden suns. Furry carpenter bees buzz in a frenzy, adoring the tiny suns. Like all true worshipers, they circle round and round the yellow centers, smearing themselves in joy and pollen.

I also circle a center, but the object of my adoration is the park itself. As the path guides me around and around, my body, full of the usual tensions and distresses, takes the cue, finds the beat and the measure and walks to it.

The English Romantic Poets of the early 19th century were great walkers and believed that walking was essential to writing to poetry. With the body busy, the mind can walk freely, investing in its visions and tunneling down into what were previously subterranean thoughts.

This small park is my open field, my verdure, my ramble through hill and dale. My feet move on, sometimes slowing to a near pause, other times hurrying, suddenly propelled by a new and vivid notion.

About the fifth time around, a sort of mesmerism occurs and I fall under the trance of the day. The circle becomes a mantra uttered by my feet—knees, hips, shoulders, and arms follow along and we head down the path. I must walk, I must keep walking, I must continue to walk and the resolution becomes a reassurance as a cool breeze fills my lungs; I am alive and refreshed.

I pass under the oaks and dodge their falling acorns. Sometimes I entertain the notion that squirrels are hurling them, but when I catch sight of their small triangular faces they look as startled as me. It is the oaks themselves that are throwing the acorns down. I momentarily consider bringing an umbrella, opening it when I walk under the oaks, but this an old consideration that I’ve been contemplating for years of autumns and I’ve never acted on it. Instead, I dodge and the squirrels stare hard.

Finally I have to go but the revolutions and bees in the park stay with me even after I leave, continuing  with their wheeling. They pass through the days and nights, rapturous and serene, monotonous some days and a miracle on others, and on most days both. They exist in the circle that is sometimes opened, sometimes closed. Within the circle, everything changes and nothing changes each time we pass through.

 

Kazuaki Tanahashi, Miracle at Each Moment

 

Pocket-Sized Photo Diary

There are small moments that must be filled. They open and expand while waiting in doctors’ and dentists’ offices; in long, slow moving grocery check-out lines; or in those few, empty moments before leaving the house or office for another destination. Staring into space is my favorite pastime and generally fills up all the minutes given (and much more), but there are other waiting times when my spirit needs a gentle pick-me-up without doing much conscious work.

That’s when I open the Photo Album on my phone and start scrolling. I discovered this delight quite by accident while lounging in my therapist’s waiting room one afternoon. I was feeling flattened by living with PTSD and other health issues, and I wanted muster up a little hope before I went into my session. So in a despondent, weary way, I opened up the photo album app. To my surprise, I was greeted by pictures of flowers, landscapes and book excerpts that I had busily taken days ago and had already forgotten. I scrolled back farther and it was much the same, mixed with pictures of friends, family, pets, and friendly dogs I had met on my walks.

I discovered my photo diary which had been my pocket all this time. “I never travel without my diary,” Oscar Wilde wrote. “One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” It still holds true; nothing is so interesting as what we took notice of days ago, weeks and months ago, be it written in a journal or snapped with a viewfinder.

As days spin into weeks, months, and years, it is hard to catch hold of any kind of underlining rhythm or purpose. A photo diary offers a kind of consolation. There’s nothing sublime there, it simply marks changing seasons, interests, travels, and friendship. But perhaps on the difficult days where everything is too much including our own thoughts, a photo diary is a moment of gentle release. The lightness of ephemerality eases the heavy load of living.

 

“But life itself is short, and so you are terribly agitated by everything that is eternal.”

–Eileen Chang, On Music