Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Of men-folk

The outside world seems to have taken hold of our fire-side chat as it takes an unexpected turn. My heart feels like it skips a beat. I sit straight up in my chair anticipating his next words. Reenie remains unmoving in his rocker, his face a blank canvas as he stares into the fire, the colors of the flames embracing his face, making him seem older than he likely is.

"The world of men-folk is a queer one," he says. "They have strange ways."

"You have been there." I am awash with a stirring emotion. I begin to perspire at the news; my skin feels clammy.

"As I say, I have been there." He leans back and begins to rock again. His bride remains quiet as he begins his tale.

"The world of men is far above us, above the Flatlands, north of your valleys."

"My valleys? Are they not your valleys? You are Sheima, are you not?"

"I am a Sheima by birth, yes, though the valleys are no longer part of my world. I no longer claim that heritage." He continues as his chair finds the ruts in the floor. "Your world is small and peaceful by their measure. That is not the world of men. Theirs is chaotic, ritualistic. It is filled with legends and sorcery, not the simple rituals of farmers like yourself."

"You have seen this yourself?" I stammer. I have now asked the same question three times. I do not know what else to say, so striking and unexpected are his words. My nervousness shows through as Clarisa lays her hand upon my arm, a calming smile directed my way.

"It is a world I knew long ago; a world I struggle with during the night. It is a world that invades my dreams and keeps a peaceful spirit at bay. Yes, I have seen it, and I will carry it with me to my grave."

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A past life

We stayed in front of the hearth for a time. It was quiet as I sat mindlessly staring into the flames. There is nothing so calming as fire. I think it harkens back to antiquity. It is safe, it is warm, it protects. It's primal nature is possibly the most calming thing I know. My solitude is unexpectedly interrupted as Reenie's chair comes to a halt.

"What adventure is it you seek, Clancy?"

"I have not thought about it." I clear my throat, wishing my own chair were a rocker. "I suppose it is a new horizon that I long to see."

"Every hill crossed offers a new horizon. That is a simpleton's way of looking at the world." My eyes widen at his blunt words. His chair starts up again, the rockers finding their groove. "Adventure is a new way, or at least a change in your ways."

"I suppose you are correct. It is new experiences, new places I wish to find."

"You will not find them here, Clancy. We are simply on the other side of the mountains."

"There are places I have heard of which I would like to see."

"Places? What places"

"I hear tales of men-folk and lands that are far away. Far from the valleys of my homeland." I blink, my thoughts beginning to come to the fore. What kind of adventure I seek I have never considered. "I do not know where to go."

The rocking stops and Reenie leans forward, his hands coming together as his finger entwine. He stares into the fire, the flames adding color to his face. The room darkens as the world outside is as black as it will become. Night has fully taken hold of the landscape outside these walls.

"The world of men in not for the fool-hearty."

My eyes widen as my heart nearly comes to a stop. The time between beats seems as an eternity.

"I have been there."