Thursday, March 09, 2006


I stand at an edge of a forest and see hundreds of shades of gray to white in the bare winter trees, and I see several shades of dull copper and brown in the thick piles of fallen leaves, and I see the pale, thin, almost non-existent shades of blues in the high sky, rimming almost white where I can see the horizon.

A gentle wind begins to sound through the bare limbs, pushing the dry leaves to move. First one dances, then many in powerful little circles.

As the leaves move, I see a few patient, humped roots of the trees exposed just above the ground's surface, where the soil has eroded.

I see something small burst into flight in the forest.

I see, where the leaves danced, the corner of what appears to be an oil painting stretched across and wrapped around a simple frame. Wind catches under the canvas, pushing the painting slightly from the ground. More leaves move away, and I see a portrait of a woman who may have been an angel who posed for some Renaissance painter who eventually forgot about her. The woman's clothing is in earth tones, like the forest which is the portrait's painted background.

Moving toward the portrait, I see the vaguest hint of green in her hair, the small mole on her left cheek, and the tiny yellow and purple soft spots just below her digital eyes. She does not see me. She stares into some distant place.

I touch the portrait, feel the tiny landscape of the paint. Each color's warmth wraps itself around my caress.

The woman begins to sing life in a high, confident, delicate soprano. Each tiny white flower that grows from the ground is like a piano note; each bird that glides slowly overhead in the pale sky is like a cello bowed.

A trickle of groundwater becomes a small river. The bare trees become tall, old buildings wrapped around a huge park filled with music and with children’s noise.

I feel a certain wonder and joy as I shift in the early morning light that promises heat, and I pull the quilt closer around my body.