Darker than Dark

Digital illo from a photo: Black ButterflyEclipse

It all began with the erasure of

All memory, of thought and hope and care,

Of sight and sound and sense, and of the air,

Removal of all faint belief in love—

A chrysalis unsealed its crystal door,

Wherefrom emerged a brittle wingèd thing

That slowly pulsed the veining of its wing,

Searching for light and heat that came no more—

And, lastly, drew upon the black’ning sky

To fill its velvet wings, opaque, a most

Mysterious angel, butterfly, a ghost,

Then spread that inky cloak and sprang to fly—

And so was blotted out the sun and moon

And ev’ry ounce of life at highest noon.Digital illo from a photo: Black Wing

We are All Lost at Times

Awake or asleep, physically or only in spirit, we all have moments to wander. It may be that we do so with good reason, or without any sense of reason at all, but the roads we take can twist and turn unexpectedly. What we do with these surprises can be the crux of real meaning in our lives. Or it can lead onward, ever onward, the mystery never seeming to abate and its clews unravel intelligibly before us…Photo + text: Episodes of Amnesia

Species Unknown

Regardless of whether you’re of an evolutionary or Creationist or magical or pragmatic sort when it comes to the origins of life and the vast variety of creatures populating the planet—and, for all I know, the universe, though why anyone would want to live more than a single planet away from the wonderfulness that is Moi, I can’t imagine—it’s fascinating and entertaining to try to suss out how so many divergent and astonishing life forms there are all around us. I suppose one of the aspects I find most curious and amazing is the startling mix of sameness and extraordinary differences that seems to occur within what a first glance might have appeared to be nearly identical beings. How can two butterflies that look, even side by side, very little different contain both marked similarities and also such miraculously distinct characteristics and traits?
Digital illustration: A Breed Apart 1

I imagine that if there are other life forces out there, whether they’re supernatural or simply extraterrestrial, they might find the zoology of earth just as entertaining as I do, even if they already know and understand far more about it all that I ever will.
Digital illustration: A Breed Apart 2

It’s all of no great matter to me, to be honest, as my limited imagination will never remotely encompass the full reality of life on this globe or any other, and yet I think it fair to assume that it all predated me by a longshot and will continue long after I’m composted, no matter what I do or don’t understand. But knowing that I can’t ever know much within the greater scheme of things is neither daunting nor preventive; I will always, I suppose, be intrigued and piqued by the sheer magnitude of exotic, colorful, flagrantly felicitous Life. I can’t explain myself any more than I can explain any other living creature, and that is as far from boring an existence as one could wish.

Though I am just the tiniest bit unsettled by that one lady down the street who glows in the dark and has a flying dog.

Hot Flash Fiction 12: The Marvelous Machine

People traveled for days to see it. The warm gleam of copper and brass on its mysterious curved reflected their own faces, if a little blearily, and they were mesmerized. The ticking and clicking of that machine and its workings’ purr and whirr drew whispered speculation and quietly fearful puzzlement and some observers began to contemplate whether they oughtn’t to summon the constable ‘just in case’ before the process was completed on the morrow. Yet so much study and work and testing had been reported before this debut of the machine that no one was fully prepared to admit so brazenly to such cowering mistrust. So at last, on the appointed Friday, six of the town’s leading citizens—with a few nervous titters and a little confused shuffling and tripping over each other—untied the network of cautionary tapes that had held back the crowds, and everyone surged up in a breathless wave for a closer look.
digital collage

There it was: coming forward on the slow conveyor belt from its central tank was a very small but perfect object of glowing copper and brass curves, ticking and clicking and purring and whirring just like its larger forerunner. It was followed, as the conveyor moved along, by ninety-nine other minutely perfect replicas.

And that is how the world had its first hint of what lay ahead.

Tell Me Not What Lies Ahead

digital illustration from a photoEven if I could I would rather not see the future. If it’s not to my liking, then I’ll despair and give up all attempts to improve upon it; if appealing, it will tempt me to live in constant yearning and not invest my heart and hands in my own present.

That doesn’t stop me from persistently trying to scry any hints of what’s to come in whatever handy crystal ball I can conjure. We’re curious creatures, we humans, and impatient at that. I wish and want and hope and dream, along with all of my fellow mortals, thinking that if I just knew what lay around the next bend of the road, surely I would be content, or at least if not content then prepared. But few who have access to dates and deadlines, foresight and certainties actually prepare in full, and once the approaching events are known they so often become the sole focus of the journey, not a point along the way, in fact distracting us from all of the possibly meaningful points that do exist en route.

I would rather not give myself any excuses for being even less attentive than I already am, and to be honest, I think it would take a fair measure of the charm out of discovering my life with a degree of surprise as it happens. Do I hope that what comes will be pleasurable and kind and fulfilling? Naturally. But whatever it is, I will let it keep its secrets for now; there is a lot to be seen and felt and done long before I get there, wherever there is and whatever it holds.

Hot Flash Fiction 7: The Scientists’ Children

It was pretty rare and indeed a little suspect back in those days that both husband and wife were scientists. That the Cruikshanks, odd ducks each one, also both taught the Modern Sciences at the local normal school only opened them to further scrutiny and whispering. So when Rupert’s distant aunt died and left him her desolate hardscrabble farm and its rickety frame house at the dead end of the worst road in a dry, mean county, husband and wife packed up their trunks, borosilicate retorts and all, and moved right out to that far frontier, disappearing as though in a puff of salty dust. It was only some years later, when they began to appear in search of provisions at the nearest town’s dry goods emporium with their two remarkable young children in tow, that folk in that region began to guess that perhaps the inexplicable strangeness of the Cruikshank life was not lessened, let alone ended, by any means.digital collage