The maple trees bring us maple syrup in early spring and now it’s early summer they gift us with visits from Rosy Maple Moths. These vibrant little beasties lay their eggs on the maple trees where their larvae will hatch and munch the leaves. Their populations are reasonable enough our maples don’t sustain permanent damage (although this could change with climate collapse) so we’re free to delight in our candy-colored visitors. They certainly help boost this writer’s sense of wonder during the dreaded summer slump.
The ghost flames flickered over the branches, tasting the sweet sap. For half a breath we thought them safe until the phantom flames shimmered and spread their tendrils. The trees were engulfed. The flames rushed through the forest, devouring everything. When they finished with the Boreal, they started on the Amazon. Not a single dandelion was spared. Life on Earth was over.
Some say the phantom of that fire ate our souls as well, but there comes a bitter heartbreak to being forced off-world which lends itself to poetry and dark, deep thoughts of loss. We, the broken, exist to survive now. Our children will not be burdened by this darkness. For them we carry on.
If I knock, will someone answer? Who are they? How do they live their lives? Their stories weave themselves in and around my imagination.
If I don’t knock, if I just step inside, will I find myself outside of time? Will the world be changed around me? Will I be different when I return? Will you know me? Will you notice it in my eyes, in the way I wear my hair?
But then again, I couldn’t. I couldn’t walk inside without a knock, catching some poor dryad mid-shower, shocked and reaching for a towel.
Come on, then, knock. Let’s go.
I hesitate. If I don’t knock, the stories rule the day. If I do knock, then my imagination is limited to what it finds. My knuckles tingle. I shove them in my pocket and move on. My children need me. I need them. Mothers must tread careful with the risk of getting whisked away to other worlds. I’m hunting stories, not adventure. For now.
At long last, I have found the place where stars go during daylight hours.
I saw a single firefly last night in the rain. His little blue light glowed beneath the shelter of a plantain leaf. The light reflected back from the raindrops all around, and he didn’t seem lonely at all.
She dropped her responsibilities, one by one, into the stream. They floated, giving her pause, for she expected them to sink. She gave her head a shake and ran off into the forest, forgetting all about them and relishing her freedom.
The current carried her cares into an eddy formed by rocks, and there it washed them clean and kept them safe. Hours passed before she returned to claim them.
As she plucked them, one by one, from the stream, she marveled at how little they weighed. Hadn’t she grown weary beneath their burden a few hours ago? She smiled, skipping home again, ready to take on the world or half of it at least.
The building appeared abandoned. To be sure, she knocked on the door with a vined hand and waited. No one answered but the rustle of the spiders who had already taken up residence, the whisper of termites in the walls, and the sad sigh of places long-forgotten.
She pushed open the door and looked around. The floor had caved in, decomposing into a banquet of nutrients for green and growing things. The roof had begun to crumble, allowing slips of sunshine and pockets of rain to come through. She sent up vines to widen the holes as she planted moss children and nanny mushrooms into the rotten floor.
Her work complete, she slipped outside again, her footsteps soft in the meadow without. She left little trace, but anyone passing the homestead would know Nature had been there, and took it for her own.
His nose was to the ground, for he never could get past his awe of watching something grow out of the earth. And, oh, the wonders he saw! Yet through it all there was one he missed, for he never saw the beauty of his own self; never realized the wonder of his own fragile body as it grew up from the tiniest of seeds.