The pain of transition
Consume natural beauty or wither, there's a choice; choose the path of sterile science and crippling logic, or feed at the trough of annual reincarnation.
I ready myself for bed.
My ageing eyes close, and I wonder if they'll ever open again. I pray to something; thy will be done, let the jailer's keys rattle.
If eyes are the window to the soul, then surely, I've witnessed evil on the streets below, on the rooftops above, and in the faces of the frozen. Yet never have I glimpsed a god, no matter the empty sky; she is absent in thought and memory.
My solitude stems from a heart of darkness. Can the holy not see but for light?
The bedside radio secretes the soundtrack of dreams - the impetus for screenplay and the music of nightmares. Flakes of black snow build in depth to crescendo in seven-eights time. Blankets and sheets surrounding like armour, defend against bullets of ice.
Morning arrives three days late. The sun, long departed, slaps my cheeks hard, knocking out a tooth. Golden rays shine through crystal figurines, balanced on a dresser, splitting apart to tie-dye streams, drenching black and white photos of the dead. Brilliant hues reanimate history, spectrums of anger and love; blue for winter's cold disdain, red for the passionate rage of August, violet for my dearest aunt - may God rest her soul.
Thick planks of flooring attract photons like rain on the Salt Flats; timeless desert dust, skin cells to rebuild my Phoenix; on Wednesday it rises from ash, a soul of flaming indignation. The blind ignore my story, my depth of guilt, the black soul of the executioner, for it was I, October, who watched her die, and turned away.
I push open the stubborn protesting window; it rolls away like the stone. In my story, someone waits for me. I am euphoric, but I won't leap to her arms, the fall is too great, and in my impatience, she would flee like a doe. She'll come in if she wishes, then I'll welcome her to my arms, into my heart, into my bed; if she could ever trust me again.
The gravity of her splendor weighs on tired eyelids and weakens the knees. Timid but vigilant she cowers, around the far corner, under a bridge; she waits for a signal, a sign death is done, concluded his slaughter, boarded the northbound train.
She wonders, is it safe to emerge, to show herself in all her gentle splendor, for there's much repair to be done?
Bare trees hum with existential matters, triggers for the buds, foresight for the leaves. I stare through the branches and imagine the final canvas; eyes open wide in anticipation of the canopy and shade. I wonder if she remembers me; will I again be sanctified - the promise of her sex - procreation beyond my selfish need for immortality.
She's always known my needs, from the very moment I died in the fall, she was with me, she comforted me, held my hand. Promises I would rise and not decay; she waited with me in the basement where I keep my fears.
There, over there, by the fence - she stands alone in the garden, radiant, innocent. I remain at the window, a monster, simple in my desire - a pardon, a reprieve.
My bitter soul erupts from my chest and constricts my throat, my very voice; I want to cry out, "run, forgive me, I'll only forsake you again. I will greet you, love you, then neglect you, yearning for greater warmth and pleasure - the arms of a newcomer. I'll surely cast you aside, forget your very nature until once again I need you; need your hand to exhume."
And there you stand again, smiling, forgiving, and eternally naive.
The rivers burst their banks to share their excess; land consumes the fluid of life, quenching a parched desire. Once trapped and bricked with ice, unrestrained she gleefully feeds the young, the weak and the forever hidden.
Death's grip, at first slipping, has now let go. The molecules, the very atoms and building blocks of nature, vibrate with thanks and adoration. Never a battle lost, always a temporary retreat. She will never stay under for long, the equinox her flag and battle cry.
As the daylight dwindles, I remain by my window, the flat screen to my tomorrows.
The sun pales, draws up its knees and shrinks in a corner, fending off shadows with a dwindling orange sword.
I rejoice in tears, laughing in pain, breathing her air on the first day of life - again. In love and solitude, I worship the one I will ultimately betray.
She will forgive me again; as always, some fifty years or more. She cradles no hate, no memory and no midnight. She exhumes from the ash, from filth and the dust, every year, without grievance or invoice.
Over the hedgerow and near the barn of Jonathan the Carpenter, I spy a family of young rabbits at play; they chase the mother, stretch their legs, trying to make sense of the biggest room they've ever seen, complete with a pale blue ceiling and infinite walls. They spend a moment in the setting sun, worshiping the heat, wrapped in a pelt of purest innocence, ignorant of the white ruin that consumed their world.
She sees them too and greets them as a mother. They bounce and play to her wispy songs, they bristle, nose first, to her warming breath. She watches them for an instant, prophetic tears for determined innocence and purpose.
Twirling her yellow dress in celebration and joy, she skips up the riverbank, head tipped to the sky, bursting with childlike laughter. She embraces a gust and lifts skyward as a home-bound angel, eastward to the dark.
She'll be back I know, she promised, tomorrow and tomorrow and forever I hope, but I know she won't stay.
She will spend the nights caging the days of my childhood, re-wrapping them with golden twine and endless promise, then return them to me each morn as she has always done. Her gift - the memory of innocence.
But this time, I announce to my reflection that stands in an unlit corner, I will banish complacency, bury it with the months of exile I too quickly forget. I shall commit to memory the thrashings of ice, the blackness of days when sleep offered more than life itself. I'll cradle cruel images and curse them each morn, to balance the gift which she brings.
Suffering exists only to compare. To presume a reprieve is to squander the gift.
So, come in at last. Charge my waning vigor, bruised but still unbroken. This time, I shall guard the gift. This time, I'll not forsake the reincarnation, forever praising the Equinox of Spring.