At the Horizon

When it comes to typing it that's when my brain freezes. As if my thoughts were arthritic, stiff, old. I want to capture that picture in my head but it shies away. I'm suddenly self-conscious. Where do I go in my deepest imaginings? The sea, always back to the sea. Maybe if I close my eyes? But when I talk about it, it's the same handful of words: cool, dark, mysterious, blue, salt, embrace, heavy, languid, motion. Repeating myself over and over in wave, trough, wave. Series of waves. Tides back and forth of cool salt blue dark mysterious. At some point I need to be spit back up onto the sand, turn and shade my eyes, look over the whitecaps at the horizon.

I have been thinking about horizons. I have always been fascinated by them. I want to go to a horizon, but it's the nature of one that you can't. It's an optical illusion that has thoroughly tricked me. I'm a sucker for it every time; my little kid brain takes over and says, "See that line out there? I wonder how it looks close up. Just hop on that rock, scamper over those branches, tiptoe across that wave and have a peek." I've imagined that the golden coins made by the setting sun on the ocean were solid, and you could dance quickly from each to each to that point at the horizon where they disappear. The moon makes silver coins that takes you to a different place, a different horizon.

I've imagined it like a large room-- expansive, but with clear boundaries. You arrive at the horizon and it has pale blue walls. It surrounds a garden that is quiet but for the birds arguing. If you go there at sunset everything in it is made of gold. There may or may not be a very wize old woman there and all of the animals can speak. Perhaps they don't speak English. If you go there in moonlight everything is made of pewter and diamonds, which fell from the moon and stars when seabirds rubbed them as they flew silently by.

At the horizon a small dory waits for me, bobbing on a canal. The sail is raised and ready for me to climb in and take a hold of the tiller. I catch the wind and sail close to the wind around in a circle, following the dimensions of the enormous room. In one corner is the flying horse I named Pixie when I was a little girl. She eats only honey which goes to her heart where she makes pixie dust that will make you fly. She has a heart within a heart within a heart, like a set of Russian matrioshkas. The honey had to pass through each one before it became proper pixie dust.

The canal widens and becomes a river. At the center of the river there is an island which is green and shaded by the trees. The darkness is absolute at the exact center of the island, where I crouch down in the quiet and breath the pleasant damp mustiness of the earth in utter secrecy. I flex my hind legs and snuffle at the ground, catching scent of prey. I stretch my forelegs and run through the forest, looking for a bird, waiting to pounce upon its softness, bite its warm gentle body. I eat it, hot and salty, then sleep. The dory has drifted away on its own, washed up on a different shore. I have turned back into a human. I am not at the horizon; there is no horizon. It's an optical illusion I fall for every time.

Critiques

Name: Mom

Email:

Insight:

AJ, This is beautiful. You have always had a terrific imagination. Your way with words came later, since you resisted writing until fifth grade. I think it took too much time and you couldn't keep up with your thoughts. Ah for the advent of a computer and your swift and nimble fingers that fly over the keys. I so enjoy reading your work. Mom. P.S. Granny was disappointed to not get a poetry book from you. But if you sent her printed copies of your work she would love it. She still doesn't have e-mail

Name: Melissa

Email:

Insight:

Found your pages via Burningbird's delight with your "everyday" photos. And found my own delight in this writing!

Name: ARJ

Email: roceal@jngm.net

Insight:

Oh no... more excuses not to write! Thanks Melissa, I will have to keep at it.