Tale Weaver #83 August 25: Out my kitchen window–midnight garden

2010 01 01_0207

Standing at my second floor kitchen window, I watched Griswold’s “Crickets’ Moon”* elbow aside the remaining clouds, silvering the midnight garden into luscious patterns. Windows open, rain-wet air lazily pluffing the curtains, bringing in the zephyrs of wet earth, night flowers, and sweet pine.

Looking at the midnight garden from this perspective there was some pattern to the randomness. Once the purvey of the rich, the lawn had been landscaped with a slight roll, Croquet anyone?; ornamental shrubs and trees tastefully positioned. My herb garden grew in the foundation of a long-dissolved gazebo. Large patches of lawn were now wildflower and native place “eco-systems” with stepping stones laid out so you had to dance your way through. Raised beds nestled vegetables; a few experimental heritage seed projects looked shabby next to their modern cousins.

Hedges became brambles, blackberry canes, and firethorn. My first foray into the jungle when I moved in was to rescue an old porch swing from the brambles’ clutches. Also Griswold’s first DYI project: stop the squeals and squeechs; and apply bright coloured paints. You’ve met Griswold, the monster boy who lives upstairs. I’m not sure if he considers me his friend or pet, but we have grown into each other’s lives. Mrs. G. isn’t thrilled; thinks I’m too much of a human influence (they really are a family of monsters), but as I am her go-between for fixes of fossimax, she has relented some.  And, to properly socialize him, he attends nightsery school and goes on play-dates with other monsters.

Tonight I hear, not see, his chort-chortling laughter bubbling out his ears. I can imagine his splay-foot dance ankle deep mud back at the “water feature,” with And. And Gumpsion is a new addition to our midnight gardens – the son of Mrs. G.’s supplier of fossimax, he enjoys the darkness too. When not doing deliveries for his father, And is an historical architect, and was sure that, given the age and design of the house, and it’s location, there should be a fountain, fish or lily pond somewhere.

Locating the most probable spot, the two had been merrily mud-larking for several weeks. I stayed out of the mud, looking at designs, solar power, plant life. I was due down with snacks soon. But the Cricket Moon and her namesakes held me at the window a few moments longer. There is magic at midnight in a garden full of love.

* Europeans and Native Americans have names for each full moon. August is the Full Sturgeon Moon. Griswold pointed out that there were more crickets than sturgeons in our midnight garden, so far.

Written for Tale Weaver #83, August 25: Out My Kitchen Window

JD’s Microfiction Challenge #10 far far away


Theodore Kittelsen

He stood, back to the viewer, in somber clothes, baggy pants tucked into rugged boots. One hand firmly gripped a walking stick fashioned into a spear. Slung over his back was a leather satchel straps too loose to be comfortable or secure. His yellow hair, barely visible between cap and collar, yellow, suggesting alpine or Nordic heritage.

The ground where he stood, rough with rock and short tough higher altitude plants brown from the weight of winter snow, or rusting in the last of autumn’s sun. The terrain ahead, distance and topography, was obscured by fog or swirl of snow from lowering clouds. A foreboding, barren patch.

On the horizon, beyond folded mountain keeps, was a city of gold – crystalline, kissed by sun or made of that precious metal. The landscape gave no sense to it’s scale nor grandeur. Just as the boy’s stance gave little clue as to his direction or feelings: joy at the end of a long and painful quest; foreboding at what lay in the valleys ahead; sadness to be leaving his beloved home; relief to have escaped it’s impossible oppression.

The image made me feel lonely, isolated, cut-off from what I knew and loved. Some days, it made it shudder with the sheer coldness of the scene, of the boy.

Usually I was alone in the gallery where it was housed, but today another viewer stood in my usual spot. A traveler, I supposed by his odd suitcase, coat and hat draped over the handle. He crooked a cane over his arm.

“Exquisite, isn’t it,” he remarked hearing the rustle of my skirts.

“Yes, I replied, “You are so drawn in, to take him out of his loneliness.”

“No doubt the isolation is of his own doing; it is his responsibility that makes the picture unique.”

“Responsibility?” I queried, surprised to find myself in such a conversation.

“He must blink away his golden city.”

“Pardon,” I asked making more space between myself and the strange man who softly whistled Shubert.

“Because it is not a city, Miss, but yet another snowy peak, turned golden in the single ray piercing the storm clouds. A blink, and it is gone.”

“My card, Miss, he said handing me a card cut out of vellum in the same shape of his baggage. “Young women read far too much into such things as art and literature – flights of fancy. Though there are uses for such whimsy’s. Please drop by Miss Cardigan.”

I looked down at the card: Dr. Teagarten, Imagineer on the Continuum. I turned to reproach him for his forwardness, and he was gone, only the sound of whistled Shubert remained.

The mysterious scientist, admirer of music and art, Dr. Teagarten, also appears in: Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction #4: Dr. Teagarten’s Exit and #6 Bigalo, the Sad Child.

Written for Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction #10, far far away