February 27, 2010

Two Ways

A hundred colored slashes set the backdrop, disorganized rows of blue, black, red, gold, green, white and a dozen other colors. Each slash stands proud, shoulder to shoulder, each row stacked unevenly upon the next, a rainbow of knowledge. Here and there a horizontal band squeezes in atop the heads of shorter siblings, or a row leans a bit where a cousin has wandered off. All are brightly lit by late afternoon sun through tall west windows.

And there, before the rows of color, endless possibility, stands a simple, white draped table, and on the table a dark lump, shining in the direct sunlight, deep with dark wisdom against the prismatic wall. It makes almost a perfect oval, like a beautiful lump of dark rye bread, except for two small triangles just catching the light.

To the left, a bowl of flowers that never fades. The daisies, white, yellow, and red, set long ago by some unknown hand. Below that stands the line of family, grandparents, parents, and siblings, a break in the colorful march.

Slowly the sun fades and the dark lump uncurls, triangles twitching back and forward, sharp white points flexing, and upright statue reasserting itself to survey its domain. Golden orbs swivel, as if the admonish the sun which slides into night for stealing the comforting warmth, a personal affront. That castigation rendered, and all else in its appointed place, the dark shape sets forth to find mischief once again.


My cat snoozes in the direct sunlight falling across my dining table. Her form makes a dark lump on the white tablecloth against the colorful backdrop of my bookcases, two little dark ears peaking up to give it shape. The spines of the books stand straight as stripes, in a dozen different colors. To the left of the tall case, a painting of flowers echoes the colors found on the shelves. Below that, a single shelf carries the photographs of my family.

This view gives me immense satisfaction. The books are so full of knowledge, questions, and stories. The painting is a favorite because of its unexpected nature, found some years ago stashed in the back of a cluttered antique store, with the signature of an unknown artist. My family is naturally important, but I especially enjoy the picture of my mother at eighteen with her beautiful blonde hair and lovely smile and the one of my brother and sister-in-law smooching at their outdoor wedding (they eloped) in Denver.

My cat I love because she is so contrary. All this morning she was pestering me, laying on my hands, bumping her head against my computer monitor, walking on the keyboard. She makes sure I know this is her house, her domain, and I am only here to serve her whims. This afternoon she is taking advantage of the last of the warm sun to be still as a stone and her fur just as warm, but soon she’ll wake, glare and start her mischief again.

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