Archive for March, 2014

You think you’ve won. But you haven’t destroyed us, and you never will. We’re impossible to get rid of.

DSCN4142Yes, we’re melting. Fools that you are, you see that as a retreat. How blind, how stupendously, comically blind! Ha ha ha ha haaaaa!!!

Yes, we’re covered in the filth of your planet. Pollution is a weapon we didn’t expect from you. Congratulations.

Just kidding. Anti-congratulations, feeble Earth beings! We love the filth, it only teaches us more about you, it teaches us your weaknesses. In fact, we may adopt this new carbon-grey coloration permanently. We’ll absorb it into our very cells, and along with it the knowledge needed to annihilate you. Even now we’re transmitting the data to our homeworld.

Yes, we appear to be sleeping now. But you’re the ones who are asleep. Soon, very soon, you’ll wake up from your ridiculous dream of dominance. And it will be too late.

DSCN4143Go on, put your shovels and plows and tractors back in storage. Bring out your shiny motorized mowers and your voracious gas-powered hedge clippers. Pretend your puny lives are warming up.

When your world freezes over for good and we’ve assimilated you into the fabric of our icy existence, remember this warning…

You never had a snowman’s chance.

Lone figure w ice

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Sailing Home

Night Flight 2.jpgThe trip to Seattle—he told you about some of it, but not about getting there. And getting there is half the fun, so they say. Bothersome things seeped through the Illustrator’s head while the plane sat on the tarmac, things that needed answers, things that begged questions, but the long-cultivated excitement and brewing sleep of his children comforted him. The baby already slept in his arms and appeared to be out for the night.

The Illustrator’s wife sat in the row ahead, her seat directly in front of his, the older kids to her right. Who would get the window seat posed a minor problem at first, but the twins worked it out non-violently. Although some violence of language may have occurred. Which was probably why the octogenarian in the row beyond felt she should issue a scolding. Evidently she mistook their brief and zealous negotiation as an omen of all-night rowdy behavior. The Illustrator’s wife got angry.

Words were exchanged but the octogenarian’s son or son-in-law proved to be extremely level-headed. It was all settled without the Illustrator’s involvement. Then the engines began their spiritual Tibetan chanting and the seat belt and no-smoking lights winked on, both of them the color of cigarette fire. A color he’d always liked. It reminded him of his best friend’s mother and her tobacco-encrusted laugh. A key Seattle memory.

The great winged salmon hurled itself skyward, up the ladder of clouds and currents into the glassy hemispheric darkness. Cushioned in its belly, surrounded by his quieted mate and spawn, the Illustrator rested his head against the seat back. Stupefying to think that the seat, his family, the old lady were all moving at 500 miles per hour, 30,000 feet in the air, and yet the gravid vessel felt more beholden to gravity than ever. He appreciated this miracle. He put his trust, as he did almost anytime he flew, in the competence of the Boeing Company, his father’s former employer.

On fathers and families: it occurred to him, and he was pretty sure this wasn’t an original thought, that a family is a solar system with chaotic orbits. Ideally there is at least one radiant parent at its center. But it was hard work, shining for the nuclear family. He wasn’t completely sure that he was shining. In fact he doubted it.

He eclipsed when he should step aside. He got eclipsed when he should glow and guide. He was just along for the ride.

He spent most of his time flailing after his little wanderers, trying to keep them in the habitable zone.

His best hope was to prevent crashes.

And the Illustrator, wobbling now and then with the turbulence, asked himself if he ever intended to shine. Was his goal all along to sit inert, blinking in the dark like a cinder? Like a moviegoer or a passenger on a red-eye over the continent? Ensconced in semi-plushness, he imagined the behemoth’s metal fins reaching out for a terminus, an ancient destiny, a homeland. The luminous sea at the western end of the Universe. Over the mountains of the moon lapped a saltwater forest where schools of his loved ones still mingled and where he so rarely ventured, but always his thoughts were there, there, there.

He knew he should sleep the way the baby in his lap slept, because he wanted to be ready.

But sleep came only in mists and crests and stars. On and on they all swam, fishtailing across the celestial sluiceway, their fortune nearing wave by wave. It would come in the form of a beautiful church concert. His aunt, the woman who raised his three cousins radiantly and for the most part on her own, would be playing the piano. Her older son and two of her grandchildren, all gifted musicians, would accompany her. This was what the Illustrator was traveling for. He wanted to sit in a summer church pew with his wife and children, wanted to sit on the coast where he was born and let the music wash away his inertness.

All he had to do was get there.

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