The Toad’s Screech

Once there was a toad that used to be a boy.  And another boy found this toad in the woods. It hopped sloppily and slowly so it was easy for the boy to catch.  The boy picked it up and it screeched horridly. The boy thought it was so ugly and it made such a horrid sound that it should not live and he threw it as hard as he could against a tree trunk and the toad was splattered to bits.  

As the boy walked home along the path, though, a witch appeared from out of the dead leaves.  And her face was as ugly as a toad’s but she sang a melody that wiggled its way inside him. The beauty of her song made the boy see that he had been unfair and unkind judging life in such a trivial way. He pleaded for forgiveness on his knees in the mud. She had seen this before and dismissed his plea as a lame attempt to squirm out of her grasp.

But this witch was ugly in her thirst for punishment rather than forgiveness since she became addicted to the cycle of revenge. She had learned to savor punishment as her only reward for how the villagers treated her. Besides, the toads also made for a great stew sometimes.

When she tried to turn him into a toad, the spell ricocheted off of the boy’s genuine remorse, bounced off a few trees, and came back to strike her right between the eyes. Her flesh turned inward as she shrank into an actual toad. The boy thought it best to leave the toad alone this time so he went home and swore to never hurt another creature in that way again.

The witch flopped around in the mud, and struggled to hide in the dead leaves. Soon enough, another boy came wandering in the woods. She struggled to sing her sweet song to lure the boy into helping her but it came out as a screech the boy squished with his boot.

Three Pools

Once there were two lovers who met at a cascading waterfall with three pools.  It was love at first sight at the top pool which was crystal clear. The sandy bed cushioned their feet and the surface sparkled in their eyes.  The waterfall made the pool full of bubbles tickling their bodies as they swam in bliss.  

Eventually they wandered down to the middle pool where the waterfall flowed with less power than at the top.  It was warm and pleasant. This emerald green pool mirrored the canopy of the trees. It was so serene that the lovers knew their lives could be spent there.  It seemed as if each were a part of the other. Their bodies swam together in perfect synchronicity.  

Then they wandered down to the bottom pool, or really more a black pond where the waterfall came to a trickle.  It was so dark there under the heavy canopy that it could’ve been a cave.

The lovers accidentally fell into the black pond. It became thick and sticky.  The lovers argued about what to do and who got them in this situation as the water became a sludge. Transfixed, they could see faint traces of skeletons intertwined at the center. 

When they escaped the black pond and made it back to the middle pool, it appeared differently to them.  Not as serene as before. The emerald green pool lost its luster. The canopy was dull and sagging. It was as if the black pond had oozed upstream.  

The lovers ran desperately to the top pool. Somehow the top pool had changed but it had become even richer.  The effervescence broke on their skin. And as they swam in that most blissful of pools, their bodies transformed into caustics of light. 

a fixed reflection

The camera compresses the world into a frame. The transitory becomes fixed in an illusion. Smoke trapped underwater. Cloud textures trapped in rocks. The horizon is a stroke of ink, or a line of difference, drawn by the camera’s position.

As my consciousness defines what I see, have I not become the calm of a still lake for a passing moment? And what is calm but the sustain of some already faded state? An identity already loosened up and breaking down into something else, as I hold on to the fixed reflection of what it briefly was to me.

Hard Foam

Somewhere in Yellowstone

What appears as foam from a breaking wave is a hard crust of geyserite. The appearance is soft and the material hard. When I look at this, I alternate between feeling like I’m on a strange beach and at a geyser in Yellowstone. The seascape comes in and out with the tide of the landscape. The experience and the reality clash instead of their usual interlacing. A metamorphosis suspended. Bouncing between two places without ever totally arriving.