Tomorrow Today Will Be Yesterday

 

What would I do
With all the time
That I waste every day
Surfing on line?

Maybe I’d see
All that dust I ignore
That settles on tables,
The lamps and the floor.

Maybe I’d notice
The refrigerator is crammed
With mashed potatoes gone moldy
And blue furry jam.

Maybe I’d finally get a handle
On closet control
And rescue the closet from
Its sucking black hole.

Maybe I’d hear
The birds chirp and squawk,
Shut down my computer
And go for a walk.

Maybe I’d wash down
The front porch chairs
And make the porch look like
Its caretaker cares.

Maybe I’d stir from my stupor
Before my chin hits my chest,
Get up and actually go to bed,
Stretch out and get some rest.

Maybe I’d cook something
Nice for ex-friends
And we’ll laugh, hug and celebrate
And finally make amends.

Maybe I’d even realize
That right now can sure seem long
But tomorrow today will be yesterday
So I’d best move myself along.

And maybe I’d write
A poem every day
Without fearing I’ll run
Out of good things to say.

And maybe I’d actually
Post it on line
Where you’ll read it and wonder
If you’re wasting your time.

Illustration Credit: “Wasting Time,” http://www.mydailymusing.com

1 Comment

Filed under Inspirational, Perspectives, Poems

I’m Already Against the Next War

Nobody wants the immigrants
That our bombs create
We only know that when we’re scared
Our first response is hate.

We attack a sovereign nation
Who’s killing people wrong
So we drop our bombs to kill some more
Just to show them how it’s done.

But bombs can make things better
For our warring sides here at home.
Now Repubs and Dems can get together
And plan a proxy war by drone.

Eating steak tartare at Mar-a-Lago
While wreaking havoc with no shame.
Making deals with others’ lives is fun
When your skin’s not in the game.

Humanitarians and Barbarians…
Who is who and who are we?
Both vying to claim the cold comfort
Of a Pyrrhic victory.

Killing for a “moral” cause
Keeps our hands and souls pristine.
But in the end, dead is dead
And our noble charge obscene.

Illustration Credit: “Perpetual War,” by Anthony Freda

3 Comments

Filed under National Poetry Month, Perspectives, Poems, Political Commentary

Le Pain Quotidien: Getting a Rise out of a Crummy Poem

 

Give us this day our daily bread
And let’s hope that it’s really quotidian.
Just in case you should happen to fall on your head
And you happen to cross the meridian
That separates carbs from things that are not,
Then I’d suggest something Euclidian.

But what’s geometry to do with bread?
Only to take measure of all that is said
And to find the angle that’s least obtuse
Just to find any facts that could be of use.

Bread doesn’t smell bad
Nor bleed nor cry
And it won’t make you fat
If you don’t eat it fried.

Cold or hot,
Toasted or stale,
It’s the solid form
Of beer and ale.

So I don’t understand
Why bread you’ll eschew,
And curse those poor carbs
While swilling a brew.

But everything is relative
Or at least that’s my perspective
And as you can tell, I’m a zealot of
Making twaddle more connective.

But at the end of the day,
It’s safe to say
That a day without bread
Is a day that I dread.

Photo Credit: smileyland.com

1 Comment

Filed under National Poetry Month, Poems

The God of the Wind

The God of the Wind has spent a sleepless, storm-tossed night,
Hard at work, sinking a ship or two, here and there.
Today he is as busy as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.
Not knowing where to unleash his unfocused rage,
He writhes and thrashes in spastic gyrations,
Grabbing at frantic starlings that pepper the steel-grey sky.
A tormented soul, he rattles our windows,
And shakes our walls to their very foundations.
He makes airborne those things not meant to fly.
A spoiled, angry child, hell-bent on a binge of destruction,
He rakes his giant fingers through the tree tops,
Delighting in every limb he snaps
And every tree he rips out by the roots.
He must have coughed up a lung or two
Knocking down every garbage can in town.
He blows up shirts,
Exposing hairy belly buttons and poochy love handles.
He blows up skirts,
Revealing things we’d rather keep under wraps.
He blows hats off heads,
And grit and sand into babies’ eyes.
He plasters big sheets of newspaper against chain link fences and
He snags plastic bags on trees.
All of out spite, you know?
Even the nagging crows get their comeuppance
As he dives between their little strutting black birdy legs
And puffs up their feathers in precisely the wrong way
Just to wound their false bully pride.
“There, take that,” he blusters.
A frenetic peripatetic
Bringing brass knuckles to a slugfest.
Everyone’s invited.

Illustration Credit: terraoko.com, “Stribog, God of the Wind”

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Magical Realism, National Poetry Month, Poems

The Cruelest Month is Surely Not April

 

The cruelest month is surely not April
Because thinking so would prove me unstable
For insisting that sunny skies should hide from our view
The brewing of storms with the grayest of blue,
Lightning bolts piercing a dark burgeoning sky,
And a miraculous clearing caused by the eye
Of a treacherous storm as it hustles by.

If storms don’t delight but rather befuddle
Then we must never had found a most suitable puddle
Before which we’ll peel off our shoes and our socks
With wild abandon we’ll run along old wooden docks
From which we’ll jump screaming into a lake
Whose dusty thirst has been slaked by a downpour of late.
We’ll shake ourselves off like dogs from a bath
Squishing mud through our toes up a slippery path
Where we’ll fall and laugh and ruin our clothes
And withstand icy cold blasts from a garden hose.
As we’re wrapped in towels, we’ll shiver with coldness
And the Dry Ones will marvel at our stupid boldness.

Surely April seems cruel to those who hide
And peek through the blinds to glimpse outside.
But I still take issue with that ridiculous claim—
April isn’t cruel—it’s simply not tame.

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

1 Comment

Filed under Children's Poems, National Poetry Month, Poems

Interview with Artist Jean Capalbo: Inside the Magic

“Jean,” by Craig Chattin

Jean Capalbo is a world-class artist who just happens to live right here in Shandon, Columbia, South Carolina, with her husband, Craig Chattin (a retired technical writer and editor, formerly of Aiken, SC), and their two dogs, Willie and Luke.

Craig and Jean are avid travelers and enjoy camping and being out in nature. Jean is a native South Carolinian, but has lived in Los Angeles, California, and most recently, in Sedona, Arizona, where she was active in the local arts community.

Primarily a painter, Jean has revealed herself as a sculptor, to the amusement and amazement of her friends and family. The top of the garden wall of her home features guardian spirits residing in Jean’s recently-created cement chickens, brilliantly captured in mid-peck-and-strut-mode.

“Big Red Rooster,” by Jean Capalbo

Not all of Jean’s artistic renderings are that “concrete,” though (pun intended!), but as with her cement chickens, there is a spirit of playfulness in so many of her paintings as well. Aesthetically, her colorful paintings are delightful flights of fancy, but a closer look often reveals a story layered with experiences and emotions that make us all who we are because of and in spite of it all.

Her work has been exhibited at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, Sedona, Arizona, and Los Angeles, California.

My thanks to Jean Capalbo for allowing me to post this interview here, and we both hope that you enjoy reading it.

The Interview

How would you describe the kind of art that you make?

I like to think it shows a celebration of life. I guess it’s mostly whimsical. I often end up weaving a story within it, so, sometimes it’s narrative. People have told me that they thought a painting was an illustration for a book, so, sometimes I guess it’s an open ended, whimsical narrative that could be called magical realism. Even when I’m doing a dog portrait, I like to think that I’m telling his/her story.

What is your favorite medium and why?

Lately, when it’s warm outside, it’s concrete. I had made some concrete chickens for my yard a while back and last summer I was inspired to increase the flock. I did a raven as well. There are so many concrete formulas, some resulting in very smooth detailed work, which mine are not. For paintings I prefer acrylics, which are the most forgiving.

How and/or why did you begin to make art?

I’ve been making art since I was a child and was always encouraged by grown-ups.

What are your favorite pieces of your own art and why?

“Beneath the Surface,” by Jean Capalbo

I have two favorite pieces that are both autobiographical. The first I painted after my first husband died in 2006. It is “Beneath the Surface,” which was done for a themed show in Sedona, “All That Has Passed Lies Not Far Below the Surface.”

The other one I painted when I moved back to South Carolina from Arizona. The house we bought here had been closed up for a couple of months before we could move into it. When we arrived, there were bugs—big roaches—living, dead, or dying all over the place. I had forgotten all about bugs since I had been living in a dry climate for so long. I was horrified! What had I done? That painting had my alter ego teetering on a tightrope above a jungle mired in buglife. It was not pleasant. Later I put an umbrella in her hand and changed the bug part to trees and foliage. What was interesting to me was, without the umbrella she seemed terrified. Adding the umbrella changed her expression to one of happy surprise and wonder without ever touching her face. That one I named, “Sometimes It’s a Tightrope.”

“Sometimes It’s a Tightrope,” by Jean Capalbo

How do you know when a piece is really finished?

I don’t. Even with the concrete I just have to stop.

What kind of reaction from people who experience your art makes you the happiest and/or the saddest?

When I’m painting someone’s pet and they tear up and say that I have captured their dog’s essence. That makes me happy. Or when someone smiles real big as they are looking at something I’ve done. I know my art is not for everyone, so I am not bothered when people pass it by now. That used to disappoint me.

Where do you get your ideas for your art?

Out of my head, for the most part. I had a professor at UCLA who had us cut out from magazines or newspapers images, colors, anything that attracted us. Then we’d make a collage and then use that total image from which to make a painting. It never ever comes out like the collage since the critical mind takes it over. Sometimes I’ll start like that.

“The Rooster,” by Jean Capalbo

Chickens and birds seem to be a recurrent theme in your work. I’m sure there’s a story there, right?

The chickens or birds are all about freedom. I often portray women in flight or women with birds. The idea of taking off, freeing oneself from constraints—self-imposed and otherwise—is appealing to me.

There was a time when some fellow artists and I did an art show fundraiser for an abused women and children’s shelter. The inspiration for my painting for this went back to my childhood when my family would visit my aunt on her farm. One summer there was a rooster who terrorized me. I let that rooster ruin my usual good time of running around the farm because I was afraid the leave the porch. He was always in the yard, ready to attack. Now I was bigger and stronger than that rooster, but I gave up all my power to it. So, in this case the bird did not represent freedom for me!

How do you deal with criticism?

I like criticism from people whose opinion I respect. I miss my wonderful critique group in Sedona which was made up of painters, photographers and sculptors.

What are your favorite tools for making your art?

I have a few favorite brushes. I mostly paint in acrylic, but still love the smell of oil. I also have some favorite things for mark making. There is a plastic filigreed placemat that I ripped up and have used for years. There’s only a little bit left that is not totally gunked up.

Who are your favorite three artists?

Oh, I love art museums and can be brought to tears looking at some paintings in person because I have stared at their reproductions in books all my life. Chagall is one. Bonnard is another favorite. I love the Fauvists/Post Impressionists like Matisse. I also love a lot of Latin American art, again for the bold expression of color, i.e., passion. For altogether different reasons I am drawn to Leonora Carrington, Dorothea Tanning, Remedios Varo, who were all women born early in the 20th century who are considered surrealists and lived storied lives.

Which three artists would you like to be compared with?

“The Birthday,” by Marc Chagall

I guess it would be most of the ones I mentioned before. People have said that what I do reminds them of Chagall, but I think it’s the lack of gravity there. You know, people fly.

What is your favorite art movement (realism, hyper-realism, surrealism, impressionism, post-modern, funk-pop, etc.)?

While I really admire modern movements like Super Realism and Photo Realism for their labor intensive dedication to detail (for example, Richard Estes, who is considered a founder of Photo Realism), my favorite movements are the old breakthroughs, in particular Post-Impressionism and Fauvism. They removed the limitations imposed on color and line, and in the process, liberated emotion and subjectivity. Artistic expression is about freedom, and that’s why these two movements are so relevant to my work.

When are you most creatively productive?

I don’t know if there is a particular time of day. If I get excited about an idea or something I’m working on, I don’t really think about anything else. I have not been known, however, to keep at something all night. I don’t like to lose sleep.

What do you think of the difference between what you want to express and the viewer’s interpretation?

I don’t care. Sometimes it can be very interesting!

Do you collect anything? If so, what and why?

My studio is filled with art materials, so I guess that is what I collect. Most anytime I hear about some new kind of paint or medium, etc. I want to try it. I even bought a kiln and potter’s wheel one time at a garage sale and played with that for a few months. Same with a rock saw, but with that I was afraid I’d saw off a finger, so it didn’t stay around long.

What is your favorite book and why?

I like crime mysteries that keep me up reading at night. I read a lot of non-fiction about social issues. Picking a favorite book is hard to do, but I can narrow it down to three: The Sound and the Fury, Moby Dick, and Anna Karenina are my favorites because they have rich, psychologically-complicated characters.

What’s the one piece of art from any other artist from any time period whatsoever that you could look at forever?

Detail of “Garden of Earthly Delights,” by Hieronymous Bosch

Nature I can look at forever. A piece of artwork…I don’t know, maybe “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” by Bosch. There’s a lot of stuff going on in there.

What is your pet peeve with the art world?

A lot of the art world is a lot of bull.

What’s the one art show you saw that really surprised you?

I was young and living in Germany teaching at a Department of Defense school and I took a bus to London over Thanksgiving and there at the Tate was a Post Impressionism Exhibition. It went on and on and on and I saw so many paintings I knew. It was the biggest and best art viewing experience I have ever had.

Where do you see your art going? Is it evolving, changing directions, becoming more eclectic, etc.?

“Jean & Craig, Willie & Luke,” by Gloria Talcove-Woodward

I have not painted in a while. In fact, this interview has inspired me. I have a good space full of art materials with which to play. I recently married again and married life is wonderful and very settling, so now I have the peace, if I can call it that, to let my mind wander and shut myself off up there. Craig understands. What I want to do is play with color. I had gotten stuck with a palette that didn’t change much and I want to change that. As for content, I don’t know. I have always painted my pets and I have not done my 9 year old, Willie, nor my newly adopted dog, Luke, who came with Craig. That would be an easy start, so, perhaps they will be my first project. When the season for mixing concrete ends, it might be time for a change.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Interviews, Magical Realism

The Our Little Secret Travel Agency – Chapter 25: Out in the Cold

Almost there. You can smell the screaming, tortured metal cogwheel train tracks surrendering their essence to the damp walls of the steep tunnel.

Rain presses her forehead against the window and cups her hands around her face to block out the light from the train’s interior. Before her eyes can focus beyond the glass on the dimly-lit walls of the tunnel, she sees her own reflection at the end of her nose and almost jerks her head back in horror.

Unsettled, she remembers the creepy face peering at her through the Spa’s glass hallway as the cable car pulled her and the other passengers away from the safety of solid ground, shuttling them to the train station.

The train screeches into the station, its bright lights dispelling her uneasiness. They’re here! Jungfraujoch, the Top of Europe, and the highest train station in the world. This is a day of firsts, but every day is a day of firsts when your consciousness gets to travel around the world in a new, steaming hot body. Before she “arrived” at the Spa this morning, she had no idea that a place called “Jungfraujoch” even existed nor that Europe had a top to it, and now, here she is!

“Come on, Graciela! Let’s go make some snow angels!” Rain takes Graciela’s hand and pulls her towards the opening doors, while the two giggle like teenage girls. Rain leads her through the slow-moving crowd on the platform, running up the stairs and out into the light. The frigid air and bright sunlight evaporate the residual torpor that had settled upon them during the train’s long, arduous climb up to the Top of Europe.

They storm past tour guides whose eager, huddled charges wait obediently for the “show” to begin. Rain and Graciela almost knock them over, laughing like drunken frat boys in a cow-tipping contest. The little throngs of tourists bristle at their exuberant energy, and out of spite, they pretend to ignore the commotion created by these two beautiful women as they run into a snow-covered meadow, each one stopping only long enough to make a snowball and lob it at the other. They fall backwards into the snow, laughing. They make windshield-wiper movements with their arms and legs, creating one snow angel after another, pulling each other up and starting the process all over again to create even more.

A young man from the Spa approaches them, respectfully waiting until their raucous laughter subsides. “Well, ladies,” he says, as if reminding them to comport themselves in a more dignified manner, “Some of us will be hiking from here, Jungfraujoch, to the Mönchsjoch Hut. At most, it’s one hour each way. Are you up for it? Looks like you’re dressed for it, at any rate.”

He grabs Morgana’s hands to pull her out of her last snow angel, and noticing the perfect circle of snow angels, he smiles with approval. “That’s quite an artwork you two have created.”

“Thanks! We had so much fun doing it!” says Graciela as he grabs her hands, too.

Brushing the snow off her coat, Rain asks, “If we go on the hike, will we still have time to walk through the blue glacier?”

“Yes—well, that is if you don’t dawdle. Sometimes, we have people who slow the whole group down by stopping to photograph every snowflake, but generally, we have time.

“Well,” adds Graciela, “That won’t be us because we don’t have cameras or phones.”

The young man looks at her warily as if he suspects that the two of them could be trouble, camera or no camera.

“What’s at the…Hut?” asks Rain.

“The Mönchsjoch Hut is actually a lodge, the highest occupied lodge in Switzerland. Some tourists stay overnight, but during the day, it’s open to hikers and sightseers. There’s a restaurant which offers hot and cold snacks and drinks. We’re planning to have a light lunch there—cheese toast and ‘Hut Soup.’ It’s a really nice place—and the only place—to relax for a bit before hitting the trail again to return to the train station.”

“Hut Soup? I’ll bet they serve it with House Wine!” snorts Graciela, as she looks over to Rain for her reaction, which is rendered with a guffaw, not something Rain associates with her new demure demeanor.

“Or maybe, they serve the Hut Soup with ‘Culd’ Wine!” laughs Rain, keeping this silly repartee going with another volley.

The young man from the Spa attempts to tone down their giddiness with a simpering smile. Message received, Graciela and Rain look at each other and burst out laughing. Holding his head high, he maintains a pleasant expression, nods to them, turns, and then skids a little on the ice. Frantically waving his arms to maintain his equilibrium to avoid falling, he cuts a comic figure and once again, Rain and Graciela convulse with boisterous laughter. Firmly planted back on his feet, he turns around to face them with an intense stare and almost imperceptibly shakes his head “no.” With great decorum and self-restraint, he walks over to the group of people from the Spa who are ready to begin their hike to the Mönchsjoch Hut.

Laughed out and somewhat chastened, Graciela and Rain follow him towards the group.

“Phew! Wasn’t that fun, Rain? I didn’t know these tenems of ours could laugh like that!”

“Me neither! Laughing is one of those things that you don’t realize you miss until you’re laughing again.”

“Maybe we’d better not do anything else to piss this guy off any more than we already have. We wouldn’t want him to abandon us out in the middle of the trail, you know? We might need to stay on his good side, at least until we get back to the Spa.”

“Yeah, Graciela! I think you’re right about that!”

Catching up with the rest of the group, they hear the young man from the Spa introducing himself to the other Spa guests.

“As you may know, my name is Grégoire, and I’ll be leading the hike you’ve chosen to take from here to Mönchsjoch Hut. Once we get there, we’ll have about 45 minutes for lunch and relaxation, and then we’ll resume our hike back to the train station. Once we return to the train station, we will tour the Ice Palace. The ‘Eispalast’ is the highest-altitude ice palace in the world and is also the longest lasting, having been carved from the Aletsch Glacier, and measuring more than 23 kilometers, it is Europe’s longest glacier. It covers ab0ut 80 square kilometers. That’s a lot of ice, but unfortunately, we do not expect it to last into the next century due to global warming.”

“Enough of this global warming bullshit! I wanna hear about the Ice Palace!”

Everyone turns to gawk at the beefy blond American guy wearing ski goggles who is now noisily gulping water from a two-liter plastic bottle. After a loud belch emitted for the edification of his new audience, he bellows, “So why is the glacier blue?”

Grégoire, apparently used to boorish behavior, gloats inwardly at having an answer that he knows will probably go over the Beefy Belcher’s water-logged head.

“Excellent question, Sir, and one posed by anyone not intimately familiar with the physics of glaciation.”

Grégoire’s erudition is acknowledged by the Beefy Belcher who emits an even louder eructation which is heard by all, eliciting a ripple of titters from the crowd.

“But yes,” continues the unflappable Grégoire, “it is blue. Why blue? Because blue is the only color of the spectrum that is not absorbed by the extremely dense ice of the glacier, so it’s the only color for us left to see! The light scattering of its short wave length is the same phenomenon which makes us perceive the sky as being blue.”

“Oh, that makes sense!” whispers Rain to Graciela, who, trying not to laugh, erupts with a loud snort. The whole group turns to look at her, but Rain and Graciela only see the simpering smile of Grégoire.

Grégoire recoups the crowd’s attention by continuing his explanation:

“Of course, no one will remember why glaciers are blue, but once you have experienced walking inside a real glacier, you will never forget that glaciers are blue, so without any further ado, let us begin our hike. And, please, always keep to the marked path—stay in the middle and don’t get close to the edge.

Rain and Graciela follow the crowd along the wide path of snow.

Along the way, Grégoire turns to face the crowd from time to time to share interesting information and to point out distant peaks and the directions in which the different glaciers are “flowing.”

“That is a funny word to use since the flow of a glacier is very slow—the highest speed is 30 meters a day, the lowest is a half a meter a year, but the average is one meter a day.”

Here, Grégoire interrupts himself to look around. Seeing that the Beefy Belcher has separated himself from the group to light a cigarette—happily out of earshot—he continues to address the crowd.

“Due to global warming, the world’s glaciers are retreating at an alarming rate, which has dire consequences for the entire planet. For hikers and skiers, though, the threat is even more immediate since warming intensifies the movements of glaciers and avalanche activity. The greater the melt water, the greater the instability of everything you see around us.

“Most tourists to this site do not realize how amazing it is to experience hiking in the Alps without all kinds of ropes, safety equipment, and meticulous preparation, and we can only take this hike today because this trail has been specially prepared. Even so, crevasse danger is real and the last thing you want to do is fall into one. We’re not talking about sinking into the snow a few feet—these cracks, which vary in size, never get smaller, only bigger.”

One of the hikers adds, “I once saw a movie called ‘Touching the Void,’* about these two guys who were climbing a huge, snow-covered rock face in the Andes, and one of them falls into a crevasse—and survived. It was painful to watch!”

“Yes, I can only imagine,” agrees Grégoire, grateful for some positive interaction. “It would be nice if crevasses would do us the favor of revealing themselves to us before we fall into them but unfortunately, they don’t. Sometimes, there is a tell-tale trench or some ice spikes, but unless you’ve got an expertly-trained eye, you would easily miss it. You really can never be sure that you’re not walking or skiing right over a crevasse. If you’re lucky, it’s just a small one and you can climb or dig your way out, but all too many are really, really deep, like 45 meters or more, and should you fall in, you’d just keep falling and falling until you hit the bottom. Of course, you’d hit lots of protruding ice and break some ice bridges along the way. If you were lucky, or unlucky, enough to survive, then you’d have to worry about being rescued, but at that depth and at that temperature, your chances are pretty slim.”

The hike was starting to get a little more difficult. Many people stopped under the pretext of applying sunscreen or looking through their backpacks for their water bottles. The Beefy Belcher stopped often to unwrap a granola bar, his bulging jaw muscles clenching in a jittery frenzy to conquer and ingest the gooey confection as the wrapper was whipped away by the winds that grew stronger and colder with the increasing altitude.

“Rain, it’s really easy to tell who is a tenem and who is not. Can you tell?”

Rain looks quizzically at Graciela. “I thought we all were!”

“Oh, wow! OK, Rain, the air is getting thinner. How do you feel?”

“I feel just fine—why do you ask?”

“OK, look around at everyone. What are some of the people doing that we aren’t?

“They’re putting on sunscreen, eating energy bars, drinking water, wearing sunglasses or goggles, taking pictures, looking at their phones, huffing and puffing, complaining about the lack of bathrooms on the hike, and, oh yeah, smoking and chewing gum like that jerk who’s been giving Grégoire an even harder time than we were.”

Graciela nods knowingly. “Uh, huh! Now you know who isn’t a tenem!”

Rain looks around with new eyes. “Oh….”

Grégoire stops and turns to the group, many of whom seem to be struggling against the elements. “Don’t be surprised if you need to rest often. As I mentioned while we were still in the train station, we’re already up pretty high and as we climb, many of you may be affected by the high altitude. Up at the Mönchsjoch Hut, we will reach an altitude of 3,454 meters, where the oxygen level is even lower than it is here.”

“When are we going to get there?” someone whines.

The wind has begun to carry a lot of fine, dry snow for some time now and visibility has dwindled to slightly better than none.

“You could almost see the Mönchsjoch Hut from right here were it not for the wind blowing the snow around, but we’re very close now,” says Grégoire in an attempt to soothe the cold, uncomfortable crowd. He knows that this is the point at which the majesty of nature could easily be bartered away for a $20 cup of really mediocre soup with an under taste of dishwater.

A shriek cuts through their collective misery as all eyes are trained on Graciela standing at the edge of the trail.

“Rain! Come back! It’s dangerous over there! Didn’t you hear the warnings?” pleads Graciela. “Rain! What are you doing?!!!”

As if deaf to Graciela’s entreaties, Rain continues to walk on the thick crust of ice beyond the edge of the path. Distracted by one of Morgana’s repressed memories, she hears Morgana screaming, still holding the baby blanket she is crocheting for Gerri, as yet unborn, seeing her little boy, Travis, chasing a ball into the busy street at the edge of the park.

The words and the screams echo in her head but all she can do is walk to where her feet are taking her until she hears the crevasse open up. In slow motion, she feels herself plummet through a narrow slit that swallows her up. Shards of ice scrape her face and shoot up into her nostrils.

From far away, she can hear the commotion of panic as people who have watched her disappear into the ice shout and scream in horror and disbelief.

Wedged tightly in an envelope of space deep in the ice, the cold begins to fracture Rain’s thoughts, revealing glimmers of secrets of Rain’s “life” in the Spa.

Morgana wakes up thinking of a fake melting ice cube that she kept in her treasure box for years and wonders where it is now. Everyone thought it was funny, but it was actually quite horrible. The clear plastic featured an entombed fly caught unaware of its impending doom of false immortality. Every once in a while, she’d slip it into a friend’s drink as a joke, but more often than not, it would go unnoticed and then she’d have to dig it out of the drink’s dregs, and explain the failed joke to her friends. The joke barely worked back then, but it would never work now. For one thing, ice cubes were not the same shape at all anymore—ice was now chunked, crushed or slushed. Ah, the good old days! It isn’t so easy to trick people these days.

Or is it?

“Oh,” says Morgana out loud, “it’s Saturday morning!”

She gets out of bed with a bounce, not noticing that her nose is numb with cold, happily anticipating meeting Percival at the Cleveland Cascade.

To Be Continued in Chapter 26

Photo Credit: http://www.jungfrau.ch  (The Sphinx Observatory)

*Touching the Void is a 2003 docudrama survival film about Joe Simpson’s and Simon Yates’ disastrous and near-fatal climb of Siula Grande in the Cordillera Huayhuash in the Peruvian Andes in 1985. It is based on Simpson’s 1988 book of the same name. (Wikipedia.org)

Video Credit: 50 feet down in a crevasse after fall, Chamonix
Brandon Kampschuur (youtube.com)

1 Comment

Filed under Science Fiction, The Our Little Secret Travel Agency-The Novel