bonny_kate: (Default)
I am brimful and overflowing with happiness, and I would that I could give you some, dear friends. I would cup it in my two hands and pour it into yours, looking for all the world like clear, fresh washed sunshine of a spring day. You would drink deeply, and it would taste more liquid than the clear, warm rain of an early summer, more golden than fresh clover honey, more refreshing than iced lemonade on a hot summer day, made from your neighbor's lemons with a single seed drifting lazily down, and more alive than pale golden wine. You would feel it, thrilling and tingling, and it would make you feel like laughing and skipping for no reason at all.
bonny_kate: (doctor and rose)
This isn't a story, exactly, but more of a sketch.


I collect sunsets. I press their substance between the thin pages of a thesaurus or dictionary, or on occasion the thick pages of whatever slim novel I've slipped in my purse to read in odd moments (in the elevator, at stoplights, in the waiting). They fade and flatten, like flowers, but something of their beauty is retained, a hint and a memory. Press a violet or a rose petal and you will lose something of the beauty of the flower, the colors will gently leach away, but there will yet remain a hint and memory of scent that will awaken memory. It is the same with sunsets. A pressed sunset is more like the memory of a sunset; the fire has faded a little, the clouds are less white, perhaps, but yet the faded substance will waken the memory of the thing itself. They make me smile, these sunsets.

My cousin collects sunrises. She puts a drop of ether upon their hearts, and then pushes a straight pin through it to hang in neat rows upon corkboard. Her sunrises are more lifelike; they do not fade as quickly as my sunsets. Yet because she has impaled its heart, I think her sunrise loses that inexpressible something that causes us to sigh or sit in silence before beauty. They are beautiful, and they are dead, her sunrises. By trying to preserve in perfection she has captured the details and lost the essence. Their souls have fled her straight pins, but yet the souls of sunsets linger in sweet scents upon the pages of my books, because I have not sought to posses them, merely to remember.

awakening

May. 4th, 2009 05:37 pm
bonny_kate: (doctor and rose)
As you drove down the 5 yesterday, you saw a man standing on the metal rail that divides north from south. He was unkempt and you wondered if he was a hitchhiker, because you saw no car (it's hood open and someone peering intently at it) anywhere near. As you drove past he raised one arm and then the other to the sky, as though calling down the heavens. You wondered what he was doing, but you quickly dismissed it from your mind. I can tell you, though.

He was calling upon the dragons. The dragons lie curled up underneath California in an uneasy sleep. Sometimes they fidget and partially wake, and the earth rolls or shakes and buildings fall upon themselves, but the dragon slips back into slumber and the ground quiets. The great dragons lie deep underground, and if they were to wake, perhaps it might be the apocalypse. This man upon the center divider of interstate 5 was invoking the dragons, under all the ancient names that he could remember, the syllables harsh as he said them. He was calling them to wake. If they do not, if California is calm and Los Angeles does not fall into the sea, then he was only a madman and not a magician of the ancient days (and certainly not Merlin released from the cave). Or perhaps he has forgotten the names, or the dragons no longer remember their own names as they sleep uneasily and dream of destruction and molten gold. It is easier to think that he is merely mad, or that I have been only weaving a fantasy, and that there are no dragons underneath California.
bonny_kate: (shindig)
Dear friend, if I could, I would give you a small happiness. You would come home to find, in the middle of your table, a small box wrapped in brown paper (a paper bag from Trader Joe's turned inside out and put to use), with no idea how it got there. It would have stickers, and your name in glittery handwriting, and would be tied with bit of string in honor of the song.

You would open your package and find your small bit of happiness, nestled inside, on top of newsprint from a week ago (I have already read the comics). It will look like the sky reflected in a puddle of water, brilliant blue and bright white clouds, or snow on the distant, misty mountains, or the almond orchards in bloom, a pink so pale they are nearly white, or a kitten not yet three weeks old, or a sunset so pink that no painter would ever dare to paint it. It will taste of warm peach cobbler, or cold vanilla homemade ice cream, or chocolate with raspberries, or friendship bread made with craisins and extra cinnamon, or peas picked fresh from the garden and warmed by the sun. It will smell of fresh sourdough bread, or hot cinnamon rolls, or sweetpeas in the moonlight, or roses on a warm twilight evening. It will feel like the soft fur of a puppy, or the soothing cold marble, or the silky smoothness of daisy petals, or the luxurious smoothness of silk that catches at all the imperfections on the tips of your fingers.

This is the small happiness that I would give you, that when you are sad, or lonely, or melancholy, you may look at it, or taste it, or smell it, or feel it, and it will be a small thing. You will be able to hold it in your two hands, cupped gently around it. This is the small happiness that I would give you, dear friend.

musings

Apr. 13th, 2009 05:52 pm
bonny_kate: (Default)
Being a story, of sorts.

The Ice Queen drove past Greta this morning (that is not her name, but what she is). The Ice Queen thought that she had the clear, blue eyes of Lucy, and that she was hoping that the school bus would take her to Narnia instead of the mundane classroom, with its whiteboards and faded posters and cracked ceiling tiles. The Ice Queen thought about stopping, to tell Lucy (as she thought she was) that no matter how many times you check the back of the wardrobe, it is never Narnia. That was a lie, like all fairy tales, and she would be a fool to believe it. But the Ice Queen did not have time, for she must buy and sell soulless things on the stock exchange today. If she had not been in a hurry, she would have stopped to break the illusion that Fairy can be found.

This morning, Greta found that the world had been washed clean as the sky fell to lie in little fractured bits, reflecting what it had been within itself. She did not know (for how could she?) that the imps had broken the sky, and these broken bits were too powerful for mortals, and yet she guessed. She had not run out into this rain, although she loved the rain, for she had somehow known its wrongness. She had tried to stop Hans (that is not his name, either, and yet it is who he is), but he had run out to stomp the puddle on the way to the bus stop, and a bit of sky had splashed up and lodged in his eye, and what is worse, in his heart. If that broken thing had landed in Greta's eye she would have seen Paradise, for such was the purity of her heart that she would have seen the world as it is. Hans also saw the world as it is, or so he thought, but the splinter magnified his faults and pushed them onto the world. He saw that the world was full of selfishness and hate, that nothing lasts, and that the only thing to do is to find power and hold it. He pushed Greta away and laughed at her naivete as she spoke simply of how clean and nice the world was today.

After school, Greta waited for the school bus, and she was not altogether surprised when it was a different bus, and empty, that she boarded. She is searching for Hans, who is now lost in a dark wood, listening to the siren song of the Ice Queen who offers him Turkish Delight. If anyone can bring Hans to himself and more than himself it is Greta, for in her clear, blue eyes, brighter blue than the sky after the rain has washed it clean, is Narnia or Paradise. But first she must find him, and that is no easy thing because he is so lost that he no longer remembers that he is lost.

musings

Feb. 25th, 2009 05:31 pm
bonny_kate: (Default)
I wandered into Fairy sometime in the middle of December. Somewhere between step and step I found myself there, where everything is different and yet nothing is different. My world was turned upside down and shaken, to have the bits come softly floating down and change the landscape so that something I have seen every day is suddenly different, and yet is as it ever was. I am perpetually slightly off balance in Fairy, because while I have longed for it, I find it unsettling. It is not a comfortable place to be. And yet, I would not go back, even if I could. The shadows are darker, true, but the light is more beautiful, and the mountains move my soul. These cannot be the same mountains that I have looked at and longed for most of my life. These mountains are more blue, and more clear, and further away and higher than before. They awake in me a longing, not for the mountains, but for that which the mountains are but a shadow. These are not the mountains of a mortal world, but of the Fairy of Phantastes. They are so beautiful that it aches, but the ache is itself a pleasure. It is what Lewis has called joy.

I see strange things in puddles, in the broken bits of mirror that lie as shards on the ground, reflecting the sky. But the sky that I see within the reflection is not the same sky I see when I look up. It is more lovely, and dangerous, these glimpses I see, because it is the sky of Fairy. There is something indescribably compelling in these upside down glimpses of Fairy.

The almond orchards surely are not mortal almond orchards. They are in full bloom, some pale pink with reddish trunks, some dusty white, exultant against the clean grey clouds and misty blue mountains. The rows are carpeted with soft white petals. The beauty of the orchards is something like a wood, with all those trees slowly living and growing, and something like a garden with their neat rows. They are very awake. I think that if I wandered among them I might lose myself. The almond orchards have always bloomed, but they have never been this beautiful before.

And yet, with this beauty, I find that I am a little scared, because there is no going back to the mortal world, even if I desired it. I long, sometimes, for the comfortable world when mountains and almond trees did not awake in me such a strong and irresistible desire. I miss the safety of a predictable world. Yet I know that there is no going back. Once you have stepped into Fairy you can never truly go back, because Fairy must of its nature change you. I know that the only way to go back is through Fairy. And if the shadows are darker, then the light is brighter, beyond imagining, and is the light that I have longed for.
bonny_kate: (Default)
When you come visit me in January, before the spring is fully here, we will walk to the almond orchards. We will set out, one lazy, clear day, when the rain of the night before has washed the world clean and the air smells sweetly of rain and promises. We will walk past the school, while the sky is blue with full, white clouds, and cross the street. We will pass the strawberry stand, closed until the spring, with its hand painted signs, and neat fences supporting grapevines. We will pass the horses, and linger a moment to feed them carrots from our hand. We will walk past the new mown golden fields. The fields will be golden as never gold is, but should be. They will be golden yellow, with tinges of orange and red, glowing like the sunset or sunlight through water, golden like you only thought existed in your dreams. Underneath the gold they will be green, the new fresh green of new growth, reminding you that this gold is living gold. We will walk past the golden fields, you and I, and we will come to the almond orchards. The almond trees will be beautiful in their stark simplicity, with not a leaf to their name, but yet a hint about them that promises growth to come. We will walk past the sign that warns against trespassing, and wander along the neat rows. The branches will stand stark brown against the blue, blue sky, and a bird will be sitting on one of the branches, as perfect as a picture, but we will not have come to take pictures. We will lay on our backs in the dirt between the mounds that hold the almond trees, and we will watch the sky through the interlacing of almond branches. The cars driving past will seem impossibly far away; distant, belonging to another world. We will lay there and talk of nothing and anything, tracing shapes in the branches and clouds, until the cool damp soaks through to our backs, and we shiver from the cold. Then we will leave the almond orchards, feeling a little stiff and a bit sore from the inevitable rocks. You will love the almond orchards when you come to visit me in January, when the spring is not yet come.

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Kate Saunders Britton

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