ONCE

Posted: March 1, 2015 in Chat
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Around_the_Campfire_Header-13171355

I was waiting for the day to end before I could begin.
Then the night started up. I sat back down as a dutiful man, and listened attentively again. It was tiring but I knew my duty. I had to pace myself, be ready when my turn came.
The night sat back down again, its wild escapades fading in the memory. Some, I admit, stayed with me. And in that hiatus I stood up again, a little shakily, for my turn. Over my shoulder, though, the day was already in its introduction.

The day told a tale of the Sun. The Sun ladled the clouds, it said, stirring them around with its light, until the clouds thickened, clumped together, and some fell. And in the gaps the fallen clouds made could be seen new continents, and in between them the primal source of clouds, huge seas waiting to be called. I knew how they felt. But they were called in time. Here was hope, I thought.
And the Sun put out its pincers and hammers of sun bursts to the land and the annealed soil gave up vapours of running things, animals, that blew here and there across the baize and stone table tops of land. Billiard balls of beasts knocked here and there by the cue, eye and hand of the Sun.

I was so enthralled with this tale I had not realised all had gone quiet around me. They were looking at me. My turn at last.
I doubted by now I had anything to say as glorious as the Sun tale.
Apologetically I began
The tale I told wove in the night’s and day’s tales. I saw out of the corner of my eye their stern looks, felt an icy atmosphere descend. There were embarrassed coughs; what were worse were the silences of the other listeners. Was I parodying their tales? Was I such a naive, unimaginative and dull fellow that I had nothing to say of my own? Or was it, they were thinking perhaps, I was so arrogant I could claim their tales as just a small part of the large and all encompassing tale that was mine?

To pull this off I had to know more than I knew.
I let the tale roll on and followed it, elaborated on details. Frequently I lost direction altogether, but as all directions were one, I claimed it did not matter.
The tale created its own impetus; I could not stop. Tiredness gave it a wild edge; the time after time of being put back gave it a deeper and darker intent.
I told of mechanical suns made to outshine the sun, of lights at night to beat back the darkness; I told of heaped up earth of dug out ground’s flesh that was burnt, melted and moulded into objects that mocked, caricatured living things.

I had to make the tale bigger, wilder; the telling was driving me on – there would never be quiet again, there could never now be a return to order. My tale had to take itself beyond all limits, duties  and regulations. Many times I faltered, I felt them all stir around me, tensing to jump back in, but I revved up and careered on.
Inside a part of me was begging them to stop me, to stop this because I had lost control of it, no matter how well I played at being at ease and….

But the leopard was by now so incensed by my telling of the Sun tale’s using the animals as billiard balls, and her fury roused the other animals sat around listening.

Soon the whole congregation was jumping up and shouting, howling, blaming each other, growing angrier and angrier. In between outbursts of growls, roaring, barking I tried to continue. I was shouting myself hoarse to be heard above them all. My anger blended in with theirs.
We made a continuous fabric of sound, movement and energy.

It is how the world as we know it began.
The animals still blame me; it was the day’s tale of the Sun, it was not even my tale.

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Comments
  1. This is so lovely. I particularly like the personification of the sun stirring up the clouds. Now I’m off to look at clouds myself – with thanks and best wishes to you, Michael.

  2. Thanks Karen: the glory of clouds to you.

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