Tuesday, 4 September 2007

For Mikara

Autumn. It is time. Time to slink close to the ground, which is growing dark and sweet and heavy and ready. Time to feel the soil pulse with the last nutrient push of the harvest, birth nearly finished, life nearly given, the imminent final sigh approaching. The long grass becomes a pallid decoration of death, dry but still dancing against the pale blue sky. The stones deepen their grey and seem always to skim with moisture. (The stone’s heart learns to clinch with cold. Hold fast).

There are still hollows of green – small dips where the faeries hold their final summer parties. They lay with their spines stretched against the veins of wide, fat-celled stalks of grass and they laugh in that full, belly shaking way that one does during the final crest of a truly fantastic story. All around them the bushes are puckered and popping with red and purple berries, which this year are hard and miserly. Perhaps a few warm afternoons will infuse them (or trick, for trickery is alive and well in all realms of nature) with heady gold and desire, open them up into giving a little more juice.

Time to move the cinnamon and nutmeg to the front of the cupboard. To stock up on almonds and vanilla. To start thinking about gravy, and mushroom stroganoff. It is time to step from innocence to experience, but with a retained slyness and an extra layer of plain old-fashioned comfort.

Nearly time to start planning the Christmas party at the Old Schoolhouse. Find a way to ignore the loose floorboards for one more year and focus instead on how to get Santa up into that sled after his hip operation. Some kind of pulley will be needed, as well a team of strong men to play backstop on the other side of sleigh in case it works a little too well.

But not yet. From now on, nothing will be rushed. So many ideas will be unearthed, carefully, like turning potatoes with a pitchfork. Even periodic piercings are opportunities for discovery, as you hoist the giant’s cutlery to eye-level and study the sacrifice, stabbed through the belly and hovering halfway down the tine, which itself has been wiped almost clean in the process. This potato will not be wasted. It will be sliced in half and its flesh cut deeper (perhaps in the shape of a star, or bulky evergreen tree), before being dipped in cheap paint and slammed down on a folded piece of A4 paper with all the power that a six-year-old fist can yield. The paint will smear, and the card will never stand up properly and will have to be leaned up against the wall above the mantel. But the tale will have been told.

And subtlety, before you know it, the seasons have moved again. Magic is like that. A pinch of this, a dash of that. A memory bubbling to the surface and mixing with the cranberries.

Because we were children once. I swear to you, it wasn’t a dream.


Anonymous said...

great great imagery. i still feel like a kid. today while making yet more pie crust, i pretended i was creating a grande experiment. at one pointe i was perfecting my dr. frankenstein cackle and ava said, " wha doin' mama?"
o yeah, i am the only adult in the joint, better smarten up...

Anonymous said...

and thank you. can't wait to see you.