This word I like... We architect our life...
A song, a sigh... developing words that linger...
Through fields of green, through open eyes... It's for us to see.
Interanimate: To animate or inspire mutually

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Dais - Part 1 of 7

Dedicated to William Henry Anderson 1920-2012
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This time, when she found herself, she was looking down at her shoes.  They were shiny red and now adorned, if not blanketed, with many strands of long reddish-brown hair. Alarmed by the vision, she spotted more hair between the fingers on her right hand.  She realized that she must have been stroking her hair for quite a spell. She kicked the hair from her shoes. Her neck was sore from supporting her head's position, turned to one side, left cheek to a cloudless sky, eyes down.  She observed the small, familiar reed picnic basket hanging from it's usual spot on the inside of her left elbow. Her arm was sore on that spot. The basket had been there for as long as she could remember, maybe 3 days. The basket was light at this time because it was empty. She did not know why she always carried it. Her thick wavy hair was getting rather thin on just the right side. Why didn't she ever switch the basket to her right arm? Many things in this instant were a great confusion to her.  She did not know why she stroked her hair or for how long. She could not recall actually stroking or watching it fall down to make the canopy over her shoes.  She felt little sense of time. She knew the darkness was still near, even after she had thought she had learned to understand and avoid it.

Straightening her head and looking up and to her left she saw something that melted the darkness.  There was this glistening light from dozens of silos, wrapping around her vision, each rising and expanding to its own height and girth.  Streaking from the ground the towers were of brilliant green, like miles of August corn husks, sometimes they touched each other to create a wonderfully warm and rich silo city and a feeling of intense belonging.  Each silo was different, yet very much the same.  They were familiar and she liked that, in her world of so many new and wondrous things. She came back to remembering the dream.  Until recently, the dream had always given her the most comfort. In it she remembered a vast country side of silos sliding across the landscape as she traveled in a very noisy and smelly train.  She was on her way to visit her uncle in the heartland.  She began to remember more about the time before the train and the darkness began to push in.  There was an unbearable emptiness.  She ran through tall rows of  corn with her younger brother, Pike. He was only a faded memory in her dream; not real, not here.  She remembered helping her father on the farm, her mother with the chores.  She remembered getting on the train in a place called Omaha with her Aunt and she started to cry.

As tears streamed out of the inside corners of her eyes, the very hairy man standing next to her all this time leaned over.  She felt his humid breath and his long whiskers reaching out, waving.  She took in the curly long amber hair adorned with a red bow, the thick eye brows pointing down to the bridge of his sharp nose. She leaned away from him with slight revulsion.  But he was no stranger. He had been with her for days and she remembered that she liked him a lot.  He was crying too. As he dabbed his eyes with the furry end of his pinned and rigid tail, the man sobbed a quiet message, "Stay with us Dorothy, we all love you. We don't want you to go." She noted that this was one of many strange occasions when she heard words directed at her from someone nearby but their lips did not move.  However, she recognized that the voice belonged to the man sobbing in front of her.  She met him only three days ago on the road to Emerald City. She also realized that she dreamt about another version of him.

Toto, who must have been quietly dozing behind her, was awakened when Lion, as Dorothy affectionately liked to call the hairy one, drew near. Before Dorothy could react, Toto snarled and leaped for Lions oddly shaped pug nose; his snout lips raised in preparation for a quick sinking of teeth. Her dog could really jump. Dorothy surprised herself with a quick reaction.  In a miracle moment, she reached out and snatched him back just before the ferocious puny teeth reached the man lion's face.  In the next instant she remembered why she carried the basket. With a quick, but gentle and well practiced move, she ushered the terrier into the basket and latched the lid.  She remembered why Lion always held the end of his tail in his hand when Toto was around.  Lion's tail was a tattered mess with multiple teeth marks.  For some reason, Toto never liked Lion. Dorothy started wondering when she last fed Toto.

In the reoccurring dream she knew Lion as Zeke, a worker at her Uncle Henry's farm.  Zeke was one of three farm hands. Dorothy remembered Uncle Henry explaining to her and Aunt Margaret that he met Zeke in town one day.  This was before Dorothy started living with them. Zeke had asked Uncle Henry for work.  He was a mess. Hungry and unshaven, he was the hairiest man Uncle Henry said he had ever met.  Uncle Henry said he took a liking to Zeke and offered him walk-on work at the farm - no strings attached, until the end of the summer.  That was three years before Dorothy arrived from Nebraska.  Dorothy liked Zeke because she made him feel safe, and he made her laugh. He also had a beautiful singing voice. One time he saved her when she slipped and fell into the pig pen. But she knew this was a dream.  Zeke's real name was Lion; she was pretty sure.  She wondered why she kept thinking about the silly dream. She spent more time remembering this dream than creating new dreams.  The problem was that she knew dreams were supposed to be created when sleeping.  But sleeping is only something she did in her dream, except once.  She remembered sleeping once.  It was in a very large field of flowers; maybe two days ago. Lion slept too but her other friends did not. She woke from that sleep because of some cute talking mice and from the cold brought on by a sudden snowfall.

The Uncle Henry dream man told her on one occasion about how he met the other two ranch hands that worked at his farm. Zeke reported to Henry one morning that two men had arrived from town the night before looking for food and shelter from the spring cold. Out of compassion, he let them stay through the night. Their names were Hick, and Hunk.  Hick and Hunk! Hunk had been traveling to Henry's farm and met Hick riding on a train to Topeka.  Both were looking for work. But Hunk was hoping to specifically find work at Henry's farm.  Times had been tough since the drought began two years back. Farmers were leaving fields fallow for lack of water.  The two of them were quite a mess and did not look much like any farm-hands Dorothy had seen in town.  Uncle Henry was quite used to tending his farm on his own but had a large pond that still had crop water. He took a shining to the two new men and decided to give them work for board but just until after the fall harvest. He could not afford to keep them through the following winter. Uncle Henry told them they would have to join Zeke and sleep in the barn. There was no place else to bed down.  He told Aunt Margaret and Dorothy that they were so grateful that Hunk did a curious little happy dance.

Zeke was an average looking middle aged man who wore a light grey reed hat. Sometimes he was so hairy that all you could see of his face was a small egg shaped area between his nose and his eyebrows.  His beard dove all the way down his neck, disappearing under the buttons of a charcoal shirt. Later, Uncle Henry told her Zeke was Amish earlier in his life.  Days after Zeke started work, he had shaved and looked very much like any other imaginary dream man Dorothy had ever met. Every now and again, Zeke would go unshaven for a couple weeks and his alter appearance would quickly return. Dorothy formed a deep friendship with Zeke and discovered his personality was not as menacing as his occasional scary looks. He was very timid of everything and everyone. He would never hurt a mouse. In fact, mice scared him. The day Zeke saved Dorothy from the pig pen he was so scared afterwards that she thought he was going to faint. Hunk and Hick came over to help him regain his composure.  She wondered why Zeke looked like a normal man in her dream when he did not look that way in real life.  The lion man standing next to her now on the dais had lots and lots more hair. Not only that but most of it was curled into thick coils. He sported a ribbon on the very top of his head.  Lion had very large pointy ears that were located farther up on his head than any man she had ever seen. His eyebrows were remarkable because they were also located much farther above his eyes than most anyone. After they started, his brows travelled well up his forehead before they thinned, almost reaching the ribbon. His large upper lip, situated below a strange brown, round nose, continued on well into his cheeks, which sported a very thick forest of straight whiskers.  Thus, his mouth and chin were set back and gave way underneath to a dense curly mess that one would be tempted to call a beard. Apart from the ribbon on his head, Lion wore no clothes. This was not a problem because, except for his paws, Lion had thick fur covering the rest of his body. She had never seen anyone like Lion. Dorothy knew that Lion was connected to the Zeke in her dream.
She felt a darkness creeping into her thoughts the more she thought about the dream. She realized that thinking about her dream was exhausting and confusing. She had to find a way to let it go.  As she fell deeply into a darkness, she was aware of others near Lion on the platform.

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