All tagged june 2016

By the time the photographers arrived, all that was left of her was a chalk outline. Her corpse had been removed from the scene, leaving the otherwise empty alleyway to a handful of spectators and journalists. Their voices filled the air with speculation: “From fifteen stories? Nobody could survive that.” “Nah, no foul play is suspected. People who knew her, they knew she’d eventually pull something like this.” “Her husband doesn’t want to talk. Just wants a lawyer. Go figure.”

The noise didn’t last. One by one, the reporters disappeared, back to the newspapers from which they emerged.

Then, as moonlight filled the city, she rose from the pavement once more.

Every now and then, the owl in the bottle pretends to be solid. It presses its wandering eyes against the inner surface of the glass, watchful and eager, searching the room for prey beyond its reach. Eventually, the twin orbs tire of their vigil and swirl away, back into the pool of liquid feathers from which they emerged.

While hiking through the woods of Selganac, east of Minnesota and west of Wisconsin, I happened upon Paul Bunyan’s tomb. Though I spent seven days wandering the perimeter of its brasswood walls, I couldn’t find a single corner or entrance. I turned around before noon on the eighth day, for though it was clearly the work of human hands, the structure had proven endless.

During the return journey, I crossed paths with a carpenter from Duluth, who told me that he had been hired to help build the tomb. “Yep,” he told me. “It’s still very much under construction.”

“The ASCII standard begins with a set of control characters,” she explained. “If you type the last of these on a modern computer, an invisible character is added, one that usually doesn’t do anything. It’s a relic from another time called the ‘delete’ character, number 127. These days, programmers sometimes use it as a placeholder, but for the most part, it’s obsolete.”

The human mind does not actually move forward through time; it is far more accurate to say that it sinks through it. The passage of time is a constant, ambient force like gravity, rather than a willful motion. When one closes their eyes and attempts to resist it, there is no traction or grip to be found that might stall the inevitable descent.

“Want to see a cool trick?” She leaned across the table, then whispered: “I’ll bet that I can unzip your whole wine glass without spilling.”

“That you can do what without spilling?”

“Just watch.” 

Objects wrought from wood occasionally remember being alive. The circuits of their quiet minds can be seen in the contours of the grain, sleepily churning through memories. No matter how deeply carved, sawn, milled, or polished, there is always an aspect of the original arbor that endures. What remains is no longer alive, of course, but it is more than capable of haunting.