The doors of the Hub are mysterious. When you approach one you seem to feel an isistant plea of "choose me!" while in the hushed background the murmur of the remaining doors sighing "no, choose me." They give you no clue what lies behind them, just beg you to enter.
Second floor, in the middle. A door like all the others in appearance but not like all the other in attitude. I approach and the door is mute. A normal door in the hub? What kind of Hub door acts normal? An abnormal, subnormal, not normal door, the kind of door a wise man would step away from.
Wisdom doesn't come one to a customer, you know. I opened the door.
Before me is a vista of Eden. Lush garden, well tended. Don't remember reading in Genesis the angels were gardeners but not reason why they couldn't be.
Fountains with Roman statuary. Ponds with golden fish. Trees with hanging vines and heavy leaves. Sunlight pouring through the branches spackling the grassy areas with dancing beams.
Without thinking I step through. Goes without saying, really, that I stepped through without thinking. The door is gone when I turn to look for it.
An Edenic garden and me. The combination jars more than a bit.
In a pond I check my reflection. It's me. Light shirt, denims, boots, Stetson. Little belly, almost tall, almost grey hair, glasses. Yeah, it's me.
The good news is this me has cigarettes in his pocket just like days of old. Without filters. The real thing. Know some people who will not be happy but I light one. Have a Zippo in my pocket to perform the chore. Oh, I missed this.
Something is going to go wrong. I know that. You can't have me in Eden smoking a cigarette. Next thing you know the dancing girls I'm always asking for are going to troop through jiggling their Irish frames in disciplined synchronicity.
That doesn't happen. So, it's not heaven. Close enough though because of what does happen.
May 16th, 2003, 04:11 PM
"Don't" I glare at the rabbit eyeing up the expanse of the vegetable patch. It twitches its nose and I swear it grins at me as it begins to move forward. "I said don't" The Rabbit stops one paw raised. "You want me to tell?" The Rabbit sits back on it haunches as if considering what I had said.
"Here, have this.. " I throw the creature a carrot from the pile I am sitting peeling. It sniffs the long orange root and then begins to eat. "Wise... very wise......"
I sigh and pick up another root and begin to strip the greenery off the end and brush the soil off the length. I place the semi cleaned root down by its companions and roll my shoulders the large open necked shift I am wearing slips off my shoulder. I hoist it back, rub my nose and squint at the sun.
My eyes narrow, becoming mere green slits as I realise the time. The sun is high over the oak. I swear under my breath and get up shaking soil and bits of carrots off my clothing. I place carrots, peeled on one side of the basket and the rest of the yet unprepared crop I have picked on the other. Then tuck the knife in the middle. Place my large straw hat on my head and lift the basket.
I walk back down the path, the warm stone tickling my bare feet. I cut across the grass and notice a figure by the carp pond. Well its figure shaped. Can't quite tell. Anything more than fifty paces away blurrs. Could be a new statue. They appear now and then.
Just hope it is not wanting dinner. Got enough to feed.
May 16th, 2003, 09:27 PM
It's definitely a garden. Check this out.
Suppose that someone wanted some of these next to their bed, delivering them from this garden is beyond my technology but I'd wish real hard, and clap my heels together three times, and say out loud: "These plants need a home."
Now beginning to get hungry. Lady passing by has that "have enough of my own to feed, don't ask" look about her. Has other looks about her. Bare feet and ankles. Wakes up my my Japanese training so that I would like to check the nape of her neck but decide that may be too forward. Being a stranger in a strange land does not excuse strange behavior.
Pretty soon I'm going to begin investigating because the golden carp do not look particularly appetizing.
May 17th, 2003, 02:19 AM
I duck under a branch and hear a whisper "Roses......"
"Roses" The word comes from the branch or rather on top of it. A small Robin is sitting there, head cocked to one side.
"Did you say something? " The robin hopped along the branch till it was barely half an inch from my nose.
"Roses, wishing." The bird said.
"No I didn't not that stupid." I retort.
"Who?" The robin tilts its head indicating behind me. I turn.
"You mean the new stature?" The robin nods.
I sigh and shout... "Don't do that?"
The robin takes wing and flys away. I carry on muttering. "That's all I need someone in the garden wishing."
The house appears. It tends to do that. Sneak up on you. The building leans sideways, like a drunk, onto the outhouse on its left side. The windows have a glazed half cut look about them and the door never shuts properly.
I make my way into the kitchen and get on with cooking. I glance at the long table in the dining room. Four places set at the far end, yes that's right. Five a third of the way down. Two close to the second third. All correct. And one at the..... no that is not right.
"Ok.... who is the wise guy?" I shout to no one in particular and carry on. As I poddle round the kitchen , stiring this , poking at that. My feet start to ache. Damn. Someone is up to something. By the time I hit the dinner gong. They are throbing like a pair of members in a bodice ripper.
As the dining room fills with whoever has invited themselves to dinner. I make a cup of tea, pour the rest of the water into a bowl with some lavender. This I place on the floor by my chair in the kitchen. I put my bum on the chair, my feet in the water and the cup to my lips... God does that feel better.
May 17th, 2003, 02:25 AM
Twenty-five and unmarried, I am the oldest daughter of the Village Shepherd. And since my seven sisters and I all still live at home, we each have specific functions. I am supposed to be tending the sheep. But I can't figure out what I am supposed to be doing with them. They graze and they do sheep things. Sheep are sheep, little else. Why do I need to watch them?
Before I leave Father and Mother's house each morning, I sneak my sketch pad and colored chalks into the bottom of my food basket. I lead the sheep up from the valley and into the foothills near the Perfect Garden. I leave the sheep to graze and I always seek out a tree.
Climbing trees has been a passion since childhood. I don't really know how I do it or how I get down. I fancy that the trees actually swoop their branches down, let me climb on and then they whisk me back heaven side. But with my basket of food, my sketch pad and colored chalks, I tree seat daily and paint the vistas.
I choose some place different every day. Today I am near the coy pond and watch the appearance of The Unknown Man. I frown when he lights of firestick. So disgusting. And he is so handsome I have to draw him. I leave the disgusting firestick out of my drawing. This is the Perfect Garden afterall.
I draw him at several different angles, collaged all on the same page. I can't waste sketch pad paper. Too expensive to replace. But he makes an interesting departure from my normal vistas.
I see HER and almost wave, but then she doesn't know I exist either. I sit in trees, observe and draw. My vista drawings are as perfect as our environment, and I am never in any of them. I watch HER, the rabbit who is HER constant companion. I have drawn them dozens upon dozens of time. HER existence is far better than mine as a Tree Climber or as a Shepherd.
May 17th, 2003, 07:24 AM
A rabbit comes hopping up to me as if to begin a philosophical discusion on the nature of carrots. "You're late," I say and the rabbit cocks his head. "For what," he asks.
"There's a hole around here somewhere and you're supposed to go diving into it clammering on about being late."
"You're not a girl and that's my uncle you're talking about. I am not cursed with a watch for another ten years or so."
"Rabbits live that long?"
"If the coyotes don't catch them, they do."
"Got any ideas about a good restaurant around here?"
"What's a restaurant."
"A place to eat."
"I hear her place is pretty good."
"What's the rate?"
"What the traffic will bear."
"Did you know you are marvelous conversationalist?"
"How much chance do I get to hone my skills?"
"Don't you talk to her?"
"D'you think she's mad? Talking to a rabbit?"
"I heard her."
"Yeah, but you didn't hear me answer."
"I hear you now."
"Tells you something, doesn't it?"
"Time to eat."
I stand, grind out the cigarette. Field strip it. Scatter it to the six winds. Beging heading for the tilted house that appeared not too long ago.
May 17th, 2003, 09:46 AM
I dose. My feet in the warm water. The cup in my hand tipping so the dregs threaten to fall out. My head is on my chest. I half here the clatter of plates and voices from the dining room. I am not really bothered who eats as long as their payment is suitable and useful.
As I dose I start to dream. The garden shifts as I do. New growth begins. A small shower of rain and the heron is after the carp.. It lifts from the disturbed pond a fish dangling from it's mouth.
The balance has tipped and something else comes into the garden. Or was it the fact that it was already here that caused the end of the carp.
I hear the sound of booted feet and I stir from my short slumber... Who on earth wears boots in the garden?
May 17th, 2003, 11:00 AM
I noticed The Unknown Man begins to head for HER house. Strange development it was. A rabbit came close to him and he started talking to it, like it could talk back. Then he started towards HER house.
I was almost done putting the finishing touches on the collage I had done of him, when the rain started. But I didn't have to move, I couldn't have hurried no matter what. But my friend, The Tree, shifted its branches quickly, overlapping the lush growth so thickly that I was protected from the rain. How do the trees do these things for me?
They feel guilty, I know. But I have told them time and again, it was not their fault! The fault was all mine. I climbed trees recklessly, jumping from limb to limb, climbing, swinging and laughing. It was my fault I missed the branch and fell, bouncing off limb after limb until stopped by the rock. Back broken and both legs broken or crushed. Month followed month, season followed season, while I healed and finally learn to walk again. Well I sort of walk. With my crude crutches I can manage to get the sheep slowly to pasture.
Then I manage myself as close to the tree I want and somehow, the tree will swoop and lift me, guiding me onto a sturdy limb. They care for me and help me and protect me. They are my only friends. They are the only ones who have time for a disfigured and crippled shepherd girl.
May 18th, 2003, 09:33 AM
The boots walk into the dining room and I hear mumbled words as the owner of the footwear sits with the others. I open one eye and see the rabbit sitting on the hearth.
"So.... risking it in here then? Not afraid you will end up like them?" I point in the direction of the rabbit's once relations hanging by their rear feet from the ceiling in the back pantry.
The rabbit rubs its nose as it thinks on what I said then gives me a rabbit smile. It bounds forward towards me then turns and hops towards the door. It stops and looks back. I sigh and lift my feet out of the water and paddle after it.
The rabbit stands on it's rear legs as if pointing. My eyes follow the line of its paw and I see the familiar shape in the Elm tree.
"Still up there I see. Time she got down and walked in the garden. Or doesn't she trust it or me yet. You could do something about that." I address the large elm. it shakes as if shrugging its shoulders. "Damn trees, take forever to make up their mind about anything."
Then a bellow and the sound of breaking plates tumbled out of the dining room " Oh Pooh" I mutter. The rabbit stiffens and glances behind itself. "You better not have in here."
May 18th, 2003, 06:03 PM
Table set for a mob and no one in attendance. Onion soup there is with bread and I can't believe it's butter, real butter. Tea as well. Why are all the secret gardens British?
There could have been gin and dry vermouth but there was only gin and tonic. There could have been olives, black or green, there were only lemons. Well, I'm certainly a man who can take a hint. I mix a gin and tonic.
After that elegant first course, you 'd now expect a crown roast beef or lamb brisquet but all I find is ground beef in patties.
Through the door I see the gardener person, still talking to the rabiit but getting only quizzical looks in reply. When she turns from the door, she is a servant with bib and apron, a high collar and the figure of a Degas dancer. She steps behind the door to stir something on the oven and she looks like a cook too long in her own kitchen. Crosses the room to acquire a snitch of some spice and returns to view as Whistler's dear mum. She spins in thought and Alice is looking for a glass.
There is a mirror then on the far wall that shows the fairest image of them all, fairest that is for the moment in time.
We will not speak, you know. Speaking is never allowed in tilted houses. The words slant and arc and run round about and never arrive in the order uttered or the tone assumed with the meaning intended. Unless of course, the language used is touch. But you should never attempt to touch another person on introduction. Touching comes later, perhaps after dessert.
So dinner then is soup and beef and bread with a g&t chaser.
Curiosity returns. Converstaion is required. I step outside and walk round the house to be run over by the garderner coming round the corner. We bounce off one another and begin murmured apologies when a tree bends over to deposit a young woman on crutches. It isn't Jane; she's fully clothed.