Thursday, June 21, 2007

"Good morning Starshine"

With the winter gone, the windows were open and the lace curtains that had danced in the winter from the drafts were now tied back to let the late spring breeze through. Having the curtains tied back inhibited some of their dancing, yet when the wind came in just right, like just before a storm, they looked as though they were line dancing.

The natty gray sweater that had been a part of the her daily uniform through the winter had given way to cotton dresses without sleeves, if there were a bit of a chill in the evening she kept a man's long sleeve shirt where she could get to it quickly. Her long hair had become bothersome and yet she couldn't entertain the thought of having it cut to a short bob, and yet that's what she had always worn in the past. So many things had changed in her life since her, “Huckleberry Friend,” had crossed the Moon River. The little farm that they so desired when they lived in the city showed signs of her grief, the house, though tidy didn't have the same charm about it, the colors seemed drab and lifeless, though she knew that she was seeing them through clouded eyes. Eyes that were sometimes clouded with tears.

She woke earlier in these days of late spring, the sun was rising and it seemed that the law of gravity no longer applied to her bed because it tossed her out at just the same moment each morning. . She would seemingly jump from it and run a brush and comb through her hair and tie it back with the first thing that came to her hand, sometimes a tie dyed bandanna, other times it would be the fuzzy hair band that she had picked up at a little boutique in town. She would do nothing about her appearance otherwise, she slipped out of her roomy cotton gown and slip yesterday's cotton dress over her head knowing that she would be back later to clean up for the day, she needed to be outside, she needed to see the sunrise as if it would pour some kind of magic upon her as it broke the horizon with it's brilliant color. She padded down the back steps to the kitchen, listening to each creak that the steps made as if they were symphony music. Concerto for wood steps and bare feet in the key of knee. That's what she used to call it when they would make this ritual together. The switch on the coffee pot was flipped as she nearly ran out the door to bask in the rising sun.

The railing around the porch needed painting desperately. Yet it held her safely as she leaned against it so that the sun's rays would fall upon her hair and illumine her face. She thought it easily might be the best beauty treatment in the world. Would it wash the months of grief and winter from her face, would it really melt it off? While each day grew a little easier without her, she still thought of her many times during the day and wondered what Huck would do if she where here. One thing for sure, there would have been rows in the garden that would have been perfectly straight and they would be showing results of her work by now. As it was it laid fallow and she told herself that just as it was instructed in the Bible this year would be a year of Jubilee, she would let the ground lie fallow and the garden could rest this year. She knew that if Huck were alive there would be berries on the strawberries that had been planted in the clay jars designed for that very job, the runners would have covered it by now and there would be little green berries forming. Again, a year of Jubilee.

As the sun rose higher in the morning sky she walked off the porch barefooted and began to stroll along the gravel driveway. She didn't step into it as she knew that the sharp stones would be painful to her feet. She walked in the grass down the winding path toward the creek and the bridge that crossed it. As she did she heard the plop of little frogs jumping back into the creek for protection. She remembered when her father would get angry and her mother would tell him to go jump in the creek, it made him laugh because the nearest creek deep enough to jump into was easily a couple of miles away. Subdivisions didn't have creeks, they had mosquito hatcheries called retention ponds. The willow along the creek was past the stage of having bright yellow whips hanging over the water, they were deeper green now and the shade they made caused the pool under the bridge to be dark and cool reminding her of the famous Monet paintings that she and Huck had seen when they were in France.

She turned to walk back to the house, taking a bit of a detour from the path that she had taken to the creek. Along the path she noticed that some of the wildflowers were in bloom. The Queen Anne's Lace wasn't in bloom yet, but it's foliage added a beautiful lacy effect to the patch that was also home to some runaway mint the lawn also harbored wispy yellow sweet clover that grew like the very thing that many thought it was, a weed. There was the beautiful blue chicory that had grown up with it and here and there was grass that was tall and headed up, ready to go to seed.

As she walked closer to the house she saw that the sun was now well above the pine trees on the other side of the barn and the barn was showing the need for paint, just like the rail around the porch. All of that would need doing before summer was over, but the yard was being given opportunity to have a year of Jubilee.

Standing in her cotton dress with her hair pulled back she looked up to the bright yellow sun, surrounded by pale blue sky and she said, “Good morning Starshine, the earth says hello.”

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Prologue as the Intermission, or something like that.

A few people, okay, a couple people, gonna make me tell the truth aren't you? One person, has said to me, “What do you mean 'Vicar of Another Man's Life', in these blog entries?” I figure if one person asked then another might want to know. So, for your edification:

The New Lexicon, Webster's Dictionary defines Vicar as mostly priestly duties, how it works in the Episcopal Church, the Anglican tradition. It is the last line that the definition gives that I'm thinking of. It comes from, now it's only a slight stretch, but only stands to reason: “a representative, as the pope is called, 'the vicar of Christ.'” Now don't think that I'm trying to pass Vincent off as the vicar of Christ any more than we are the vicars of Christ as well, we are supposed to be his representatives here on earth. The stretch comes, but is it really a stretch, when we see that Vincent through his imagination becomes the vicar of another persons life, he thinks of what it might have been for him if he had been that person.

Really, it is a use of the word vicarious in a bit of a creative way, good ol' Webster helps me out again here; acting , or done, on behalf of someone else or in his place. Of someone else's experiences which one shares imaginatively..... Thanks Daniel. It would stand that the last part of the dictionary entry is the one that I'm working upon in these entries. It would also stand to reason that if you are living life vicariously, then it would make you a vicar.

Now, the character Vincent is ever so loosely a reflection of the great Dutch painter. He had a brother, Theo who is said to have been less than kind. He only saw Vincent for what he might be able to profit from his brother's talent. At this point in my plotting of Vincent's life I really don't see Theo doing that, but I'm not done writing about Vincent. If you know Van Gogh's work you will see mention now and again of titles of his works but you don't always see them as very obvious, other times it's blatant.

To answer another question that has been asked by a few people, and we can stop there because it has been a few people, “Is Vincent really Don?” I'm going to answer that question in a couple of different ways; I was told in Creative Writing Class in high school, Writing and Reading the Short Story and it is repeated time and again in many places, “write what you know.” I don't think that is always the world's best advice because it doesn't always send us out to research, to ferret out information that will help to make us grow and see even more of the world, even if it is a world past. The second answer to the question is simply, “sometimes,” Vincent has very Don like characteristics. It really isn't such a bad thing, or is it?

Being the Vicar of Another Man's life simply means to put one's self in the shoes of another. For me it means to put on his shoes, his hat, his coat and see just how far he travels and imagine what his conversations and experiences good be. If I am really Vincent.