Monthly Archives: April 2011

Naiads Unfettered…

Back in early March of this year I was taking a quick run along a back road near my house, a stretch of frost-heaved asphalt far removed from the din of the main drag. Along the left side of the road as I traveled was a fen, a rather small yet quiet swamp that, in the summer time, yielded a peaceful pause. Here, during such a still moment, one could witness the splendor of a heron as it patiently awaited a meal. Such a tranquil respite allowed a soul to become attuned to the rhythms of nature’s infinite mysteries.

Upon my return I heard something in the bog that sounded like footfalls, some thing that seemed to follow my every step. I stopped, held a quick frigid breath, and listened.

At first, nothing. But then, in the distance, I heard a splintering sound, like a crack of a branch underfoot, followed by silence. Suddenly, off to my left, another shot that echoed across the fen. As if answering its unseen call, to my right yet another crack reverberated across the swamp.

I saw nothing! Perplexed, I stood nonplussed, wondering just what the hell it was that I was hearing in various parts of this cold, barren bog. It soon dawned on me that layers of gossamer-thin ice sheets were the cause of shattering the still air.

The winter produced an abundance of snow and rainfall and here, in this patch of hummocks and dead trees did the water level fall, producing these diaphanous, translucent planes of ice, sheets of water that clung precariously to saplings and trees alike. And since it was March, at times the temperatures climbed to the mid-thirties and beyond.

This then, produced these eerie and echoing sounds as I stood, transfixed, and listened to these haunting cries of faeries finally unfettered from their chains of ice. With a heavy brumal sigh did Winter’s grip release these spirits, and their crackling, splintering shouts were cries of joy, unshackled and free once more.

All Rights Reserved – Copyright 2011 Paul Grignon

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“I’m just saying….”

…and other trite sayings.

It appears that the art of conversation has gone by the wayside, picked up near the desolate tracks by Charon himself, heaved onto his ancient craft, and transported back to his muffled and Stygian realm.

Irksome phrases are rather disturbing, and it is amazing how these irritating ‘catch-all’ comments can be grating whilst attempting to engage in simple badinage.

‘It is what it is.’ What the hell does that mean, anyway? Can it actually be defined? What is what? What is? It is what?! Very curious, I must say, and exceedingly dull.

‘Whatnot’. Something that should instantly be banned from all speech. I suggest anyone that uses this…this abomination, should immediately go out and purchase a Thesaurus.

”To be honest…’. Now why wouldn’t you be in the first place?! When I hear that I suspect that the person is actually dishonest, machinating about something. Very mistrustful, if ever uttered.

‘Crazy busy!’ Ugh. Now that one I find incredibly grating on the nerves and it seems that that phrase, or its shortened version of just ‘crazy’, has been getting a lot of air time of late. A disturbing trend.

‘Look…’, a pet phrase of Joe Biden, and it sounds condescending and pedantic. People that utter that word might as well just say, “Look, you idiot, I’ll talk slower so you can understand.” Those that pepper their speech with that word warrant a yawn and a simple departure.

‘Can I ask you something?’ You just did. Yet another example of a beginning to a conversation that harbors no good whatsoever. Again, feign contracting the plague and stumble away.

‘Well…’ This one word has become so ingrained into society that nothing can be done about it, save not mentioning it yourself when called upon to answer.

And lastly, the word ‘Awesome!’ Need I say more?

That concludes my rant for today….

Echoes of Loneliness…

Growing up in the bucolic environs of Ridgefield, CT allowed a young lad a chance to innocently explore areas in a singular fashion. Back then, Ridgefield was nothing more than a sleepy town, not yet an enclave for the upper class hailing from bordering states. Back then one need not worry about shoving your kids outdoors for the day, the entire day, and said kids never had qualms about venturing into the wilds of their neighborhoods.

I distinctly remember one sultry summer day, when haze enveloped everything and the air barely scraped along, content to wallow in its humid, torpid state. I was sitting, by myself, above a rock garden my Mum had planted, thinking about nothing in particular when I heard the approaching whine of a single engine plane. To me, even back then, that was one of the loneliest sounds in the world. I don’t know why it hit me so. But even at that age, no more than eight, did it affect me in such a desolate way. The plane slowly bee-lined its way across the stagnant sky, its engine a constant hum and, as I eyed its progress did a well of melancholy envelop me. To this day, that is but one lonely sound that hits a chord with me every time.

Another, and this is from my youth as well, is the clanging of a single cleat upon a flagpole, its sporadic echo against metal sending frissons of despair along my nape, the inconsistency of its resonance rather discomforting in nature, a lone chunk of metal wailing against a pole. Just writing those words gives me horripilations of utter loneliness.

Yet one more example possibly rings true for others. Again, this memory is captured from when I was but a wee lad, but its haunting toll lingers still. Growing up we had the wonderful opportunity to vacation on a spit of land in Maine, a place called Bailey Island. At first the lot of us would rent this tiny cottage and, seeing it years later, I marveled at how we all squeezed into such a box of a house. As we grew older, we rented another house upon a hill, with sweeping views of the ocean on two sides. On some mornings, with a cup of tea in hand I’d walk out onto the wrap-around deck, slamming the screen door behind me. Through the morning fog, I’d hear the eerie siren call of a lone buoy, hidden, unseen, and it would beckon through the impenetrable mist, again causing shivers of utter despair and desolation. What creatures lurked by in the thick of fog? What ancient oceanids summoned one’s soul to this haunting peal upon the splash of sea?

Just a few memories of my youth, moments of a soul in solitude laced with a sense of loneliness. Perhaps you, too, have experienced such melancholic memories and if so, I’d like to hear them.

Take care,
Paul

Orts?…Not in this House!

I was just thinking about my childhood, growing up with three older brothers, and one younger sister (eventually two more to the burgeoning brood…) and how my Mum (she’s British) managed to feed such a ravenous lot.

Granted, with so many rapidly growing teenagers in the house, it was difficult preparing enough comestibles for our insatiable gullets. We were firmly entrenched in the lower middle class, and so food was simple but plentiful. Dinners such as chicken legs, corn, and mashed potatoes graced our table countless times. And with just such a repast, Mum always had heaping platters and bowls of this stuff, not to mention our own respective plates laden with such savory delights.

The gist of this post? Well, trust me, there were never–NEVER–any leftovers in our household. None. You see, the four boys (my poor sister didn’t stand a chance) never really paid too much attention to the initial plate placed before us. Far from it. All eyes were on the ‘seconds’, and who had dibs on that chicken leg or that particular portion of spuds, or the few kernels clinging to the bowl. No, I do believe we inhaled that first dish, and it’s a wonder that none of us ever swallowed a spoon or fork!

This, of course, was not just relegated to supper. No, it came in many forms: cupcakes (gone!), mounds of cookies (where’d they go?!), and innumerable other goodies that my poor Mum slaved over in her tiny and overworked kitchen. Bless you, Mum.

So for now, once in a while pause your fork in mid-air, and allow a smile to crease your visage. Give a nod to your Mum, and enjoy that first plate. Take the time to savor every tiny morsel that passes between your lips.

Paul
All Rights Reserved~2011~Paul Grignon