Pieces

June 13, 2017

The bell. It rings. It will always ring. When I hear it, the sound first bouncing off the inside of the bell and then flowing out into the air, its clear note, however loud and sudden it may be, is like music. You do not need many notes for music, but one. A bell can be your instrument, ringing through the air, coming to both ears at once and then fading away slowly from first one and then the other ear as the seconds tick by. It goes back and forth inside my head, thought the note does not sound as though it goes back and forth. It stays clear as if it had nowhere to go but straight ahead. It arches around my head like the clouds around a lonely peak, but settles in one place as it fades away. It hangs in the air like mist before the dawn with no breeze to shift it, and when the sun rises and the sound expires, it fades away like the mist leaving small drops of water on the ground, leaving small drops of thought content and at ease to listen for the last audible sign the bell rang. The bell. It rings. It will always ring. It will always ring even if you hear it just once. You remember it, keep it with you, and ring it without ever touching it.


"What color will everything be the moment I come for you?" [-Death] For me, it might be green, if the last color you see is meant to comfort you. I love green. All the many shades of it. Or it might be a violet, soft, like lavender, to pull me from a dream while I sleep. I might be one of the various shades of blue, like the sky at dawn, dusk, or midday. It might a golden sunset or bright, warm spark of flame before the light goes out. I could be a dark, wine-rose red to release me from pain or pluck me from life's garden on a cloudy day. It might be a rainy, beautiful grey that falls like soft whispers on my eyes before I close them. It could be a pink-fringed white, like a last dawn, or a mountain purple like the shadows on the Sandias before the sunset's fuchsia light. It could be the golden bay-brown of a horse, like in one of my favorite books, or the calico pattern of my first, loving cat. It could be the dappled mix of greens on grass from under a tree on a sunny day, or the yellow leaf that stands out perched in a dark, rolling grey sky. Or, it could be the lovely deep blue that surrounds the bright moon in between the stars, as seen from the Jemez Mountains.


It is clear, blue day, with the sky spread out like a blanket. The sun is out, like a white spotlight, but the air is cool, and a chilled wind winds its way around campus as if it had somewhere urgent to be. The air has been chilled for a few days, like the first few days before and of autumn are, and it feels crisp and refreshing when you breathe in and out quickly after running with the wind up a hill. The bright leaves are starting to fall as they caught up in the wind's urgent rush.


The moon is bright yellow, like a rounded street light whose light sends pulses through the sky like ripples in a puddle. The stars are miniatures of the moon, shining bright and warm as the wind swirls across the sky like light waves rolling over one another. The light from the moon and stars reflects off the roofs of houses and trees, lighting up the town as though it lay beneath a thousand Christmas lights hung in the sky. The air is cool and calming, the breeze feeling like a cool blanket wrapping you up when you sit down to watch the sky. The stars and moonlight bring out the colors of the flame-like mountain nearby, reds and dark greens, even some yellows that seem brighter under the light of the yellow moon. The church tower stands tall and joyous under the light, as though dancing under the lanterns at a carnival.


Outside the window, stars watch, changing position each night like the guards of a palace. A song drifts in through it and sings me to sleep. A close friend arrives for dinner. Snow has dusted the front yard, freezing the brittle stems of roses. The chickens come running to the door, always looking for food. The hills race by almost endlessly, dotted with flashes of color from the animals. And outside the window, gunshots echo. Cars race past at midnight. People sit coldly still, poor. And yet, the window remains an open door.


Inside, it is dark. I have no way of truly seeing an imaginary landscape within me, through my mind's eye. So when I fall, I feel like I fall into a dark chasm, following a rushing waterfall into endless darkness. I am a stone, as insignificant as a leaf and yet older than the oldest man alive. One person in billions, though I still wish to be heard and remembered for all time. The water at the bottom is cold, and I start to sink to the floor of the pool. The koi swims around me, its fins setting me down gently. "How does one truly die?"






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