Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What the Fire Said

Recently my parents lost their retirement home in the Little Bear fire in New Mexico.  Over 200 hundred homes were lost in a beautiful mountain area.  While I had seen the evidence of other fires and watched the images on television, it was not until I saw pictures of the decimated home I had helped to paint and in which many happy memories had been created that I begin to come to terms with the nature of such a fire.  This kind of loss is so different than the losses created by greed or violence--such as a stolen car or a break-in.  It is wholly different in nature and we are completely subject to it.  Here are my thoughts in relation to this event.

What the Fire Said

You won’t need those keys any longer.
The view is less spectacular now.
I can eat nearly anything.
Watch how I bend these beams.
I don’t want that house; I’ll take these.
I ride with the wind—no, I create the wind.
I run faster through steep valleys where your trucks cannot go.
I skip over tall mountains like running the pews.
I can reach much farther than you.
I can take what is precious to you—and you will never get it back.
I can leave you as quickly as I came, with ash as my footprints.
You will leave this area.
I can extend myself in unfathomable ways—up, down, under, over and through.
I am capricious, rapacious and altogether consuming.
I will not be stopped—unless I am starved, drowned or buried.
I am fire and you will listen when I roar!

Copyright M.R. Hyde 2012

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Robin

We had a wonderful, sad, happy send-off to Abby E. Murray last night at the Colorado Springs Writers Reading Series.  We wished her the best and gave her a standing ovation as a small token of our love and appreciation for her work in supporting and encouraging writers in our community.  I would not want you to miss her new publication, Quick Draw: Poems from a Soldier’s Wife, so please order your copy today from Finishing Line Press.

On another CSWRS note:  I recently finished reading Tim Christian's delightful tale The Strange and Thrilling Adventures of James Charles Fogarty. Tim is a favorite reader at CSWRS primarily because his writing is just so good. This tale is reminiscent of Mark Twain in its humor and use of language, with a good measure of strangely accessible science fiction.  Just a good, fun read.  Get it now at Lulu.com.

Last night I read my short story that was born out of a second wave of invasive Spring moths.  I noticed something odd about the birds during these two invasions.  They had an alarming reprieve of their usual cautiousness.  This story is a reworking of my own irritation regarding moths to the jubilant abandonment of the birds regarding moths.

Robin

Rudy arrived in the spring. This was his fourth spring. He felt a little weary and worn and longed for a good rest. He was glad it was near sunset. Tomorrow, yes tomorrow would be a good day -- he just knew it.  He sidled into a giant Ponderosa pine, hoping he would not take up another's space. He would settle in more tomorrow, but for now he just needed to rest.

"Oh, excuse me!" A quiet exclamation touched him as an equally weary and new neighbor shuffled in next to him.

"’Sat you Rudy?"

"Yeah. Yeah." Rudy could barely reply as he blinked very slowly. "’Sat you, Bud?"

"Yeah. G’night, Rudy."

"Goodnight, Bud."

The two fell into a deep slumber, unaware of the other visitors stumbling weakly onto their commandeered perches. Everyone made room.

Rudy woke to a morning ruckus. Birds everywhere were scrambling over each other, dodging short and long talons, and some were very nearly screaming. Rudy twitched his head to knock the sleep out and then heard the word -- the word that could make any traveler lose his ever loving mind – moths! A small sparrow dashed in among the branches. "Moths! Great gobs of moths!" There was a rather hysterical look in its eye.

Rudy had been raised right. He scuttled as quickly as he could to the end of the limb, trying desperately not to be rude or harm anyone. But the raging hunger he felt nearly drove him to distraction. He could hear his mother's sweet voice. "Take your time, Rudy. There's always enough for everyone." He closed his eyes briefly and took a deep, cleansing breaths.

"Ruthy!" A muffled and urgent voice compelled him to open his eyes.  "You gotha geth outh there!" Bud was trying to talk with the tattered edge of a moth wing sticking out of his beak. He clapped his beak several more times and then swallowed hard.

"Rudy, I've never seen anything like it!" Tears were in Bud's eyes, tears of absolute joy.

With as much reserve as he could muster, Rudy spoke carefully to his friend. "Okay, okay. I'm coming." But as calm as he was on the exterior, Rudy's heart was leaping up into his throat. Bud dashed away and a panorama of splendor opened up before Rudy. The air felt alive with movement -- erratic, chaotic movement. Moths covered tree trunks, windows, roofs, sidewalks and streets. Some were fluttering madly without compasses. Some were bouncing off of cars and buildings. Kamikaze moths careened to their deaths in mad lunacy. It was unbelievable!

Rudy mumbled in awe, "Mama told me about this." Then with a kind of madness he would not soon forget, he plunged into the feast. No one cared much of wings clipped or feet brushing backs or bodies spiraling through the air. There were moths -- gobs and gobs of moths!

Suddenly the long migration seemed like a distant dream. Suddenly the weariness of bone transformed into explosive energy toward consuming as many moths as he could. Be gone his mother's soft voice! This was a feast!

The next few hours were lost to Rudy.  Later he could not remember the balance of that day.  He felt a great discomfort about his middle. When he glanced down he could see his distended redbreast and he groaned with put-upon shame. His signature dip-step-step-up, had been replaced with a tip-waddle-waddle-waddle. This should have alarmed him, except his response time was slowed by the influence of gluttony. His mother's more urgent and alarmed voice finally came to him again. "Beware the cats of spring!" Rudy took three lumbering steps and then beat his wings into flight.  He landed solidly on the next to the lowest branch in the nearest tree.

Rudy woke in the middle of the night with the wind and rain and hail lashing at the tree. He clenched his toes tighter around the branch and took a deep contented breath.  A huge grin would have spread across his face if he could grin like the humans. He knew in the morning there would be another ruckus and some wild-eyed sparrow would dash into the trees screaming "Worms!"

Copyright M.R. Hyde 2012