Friday, 27 February 2009
He looked over the world since the time of Zeus. He came from a herd of goats. The other goats in the herd always stayed clear of him, fearing his insights and thoughts on life. There was an aura around him which emanated strength and wisdom far beyond his years.
Billy lived on the foothills of Olympus. He grew tired of the tribe's movements and rituals and decided to explore his surroundings one day, and disappeared from the herd. Nobody really noticed that he was gone, seeing as most of the others let him be. Naturally, the goat looked up to the mountain...its peak was hidden by a ring of clouds. Wondering what lies in the abyss, he started his climb.
It was many months before he reached the top. Food was scarce and there was not much water, except on the days it rained. Billy was exhausted but what kept him going was his determination. He knew that once he would reach his destination, he would be able to look across the land and learn about where he would go next. What was waiting for him on the peak, he would have never expected.
A grand palace was before him. He was welcomed by green pastures and gardens. There were people there - not just any, but the Gods; myths that the villagers and cities worshiped. Zeus himself was sitting in the grass throwing bolts of lightning at a far away target to satisfy his boredom when Billy arrived, curious, and sat by his side. Surprised, Zeus asked his name. Billy replied in his native tongue at first, but with a snap of Zeus' fingers, the goat replied, "I am Billy. I live on the foothills below, and wanted to learn more, so I traveled here."
Amazed, Zeus decided to talk to him about the world below, telling him about the way the Earth around him worked and how the toil of man has taken nature as its prisoner.
It was a few years Billy had been gone from the herd, but when he had all his questions answered by Zeus, it was time for him to return. Before leaving, however, Zeus had colored him with beautiful fluorescent light, and had allowed Billy to keep his ability to speak in the God's language.
Billy returned down the mountain, this time, with ease. To his amazement, the land around him turned itself to a lush paradise wherever he tread. His herd had not recognized him upon his return, but they welcomed his gift and called him Shaman.
One night, as Shaman Billy looked to the stars, hunters captured him. There was no fight in him, he was outnumbered. The hunters had witnessed the power of Shaman from their village - where the foothills were barren, they were now thriving with nature. Their greed made them come to the source and they all wanted a piece of that power.
Sadly, Shaman Billy was reduced to nothing more than a meal for the villagers. His power was never transferred. His head, still brightly colored hangs on a plaque.
Generations and civilizations had come and gone. The plaque was sold and bought and handed down for centuries. All the while, Shaman's silent eyes studied the world around him. Shaman knows now that Zeus was right. He has seen the past and knows the future. Legend tells that on certain nights, when the light is right, his aura glows more powerfully than it did on Olympus, and that the most beautiful truth escapes his lips in the form of a rainbow-colored waterfall.
Sunday, 22 February 2009
He bites into the mandarin wedge, piercing its silken membrane, and releasing its succulent core, breaking vessels upon vessels of juice into his thirsty mouth.
While he enjoys its tang, he holds a black sphere in his hand. The light from the bulb dangling loosely on a weathered wire reflects distorted off its smooth surface of ebony.
He spins it slowly in his hand, hearing the light glubbing of the liquid it holds in its core, and the distant rattling of the key to all the answers of the universe that the liquid itself holds within its watery folds.
His eyes trail from the walls of the room, to the remaining wedges of mandarin on the table, to a bold "8" that is silk screened onto its curvature. He remembers the day he bought it, from a shabby little shop off the beach. A shop full of curiosities, voodoo dolls, snakes in bottles (some that he was convinced he saw blink at him), sceptres made with tree sap and amber, goat heads painted in bright colours, and even dried beetle wings that were crushed into a fine powder and was apparently a cure for hangovers.
He had only 13 dollars in his pocket, and when he inquired what he could buy with it, the teller signalled to a box in the darkest further dustiest corner labeled "cheap ass junk".
He jumbled through the box, sifting through suspenders, rabbit foot key chains, and clocks with their minute hand missing, until his eyes fell upon and caressed a black curve peeping from behind a framed butterfly. As he picked it up, and inspected it, he wondered if he should buy it, when from the dark waters that it held, a washed up message rolled over to look at him through the scratched circular window: "Without a Doubt."
Within minutes he was back out on the beach, with his oracle tucked into his side bag, while the shop keeper watched on, as though he had just transferred a great burden.
"Black ball, black ball, tell me what you see, give me the answer I should know. Tell me what to do." He whispered to himself, as he gave the 8 ball a shake, thinking long and hard of his crucial question.
Since that day at the beach, he had become a changed man. He had asked the 8 ball about every decision he should make, and although many of them seemed odd to him, and caused him to become more and more alone, he believed it was what had to be done.
As he sits in that empty room, with nothing but the peel of the mandarin on a bare naked table, and a light bulb that flickered ever so slightly, he feels the answer roll in the water within its shell, he waits patiently as it starts to peek through the murky water into its window, appearing one letter at a time... "Without.. a ... Doubt".
This time, the appearance of those words make his eyes bulge, his skin sweat.
His eyes turns red, and his face blue, and only a few moments later, the ball rolls out of his hand, creeps across the room, stopping as it hits the wall.
In the flickering light, his body lies motionless, in his throat a piece of succulent mandarin.
The first thought probably brings to mind a nice plump and rounded fruit sitting comfortably on a tabletop. Perhaps due to preference, I don't visualize an orange, but a tangerine. I never really liked the citrus nature of orange but love the sweetness of a tangerine.
The brightness of the light shines over the top of this wonderful fruit. Like a blanket, it covers the dimpled skin of the orange with a warm glow. The remains of the stem protrude ever so slightly over the top, as if wanting to branch out into the light. The smooth craters in the skin hold small puddles of light, brightening the color around them. Its shadow, with a subtle shade of blue frames the border between the table and the space of the orange. That's what i would think one would imagine when confronted with "an orange".
There's more, however...
A thumbnail gently breaks the skin near the stem, lifting it up, making a sound much like ripping a piece of paper. The sound, however, is not one of a violent nature, but is soft and tender, allowing someone to look forward to what's coming next. With the initial tear of the skin, the smell of a fresh orange disperses into the air, welcoming all those who are near to feast on this one, little fruit. The fibers hugging the edible divisions stretch until they can't stretch anymore - they let go. They feel like soft cushions, clues to how much the fruit it worth protecting from harm.
When the skin has been peeled, a fuzzy ball remains. It is hard to imagine that what lays in front of you is actually edible and tasty. A closer look shows that there are slight divisions over the surface. Where the stem once was, a hole, passing right through the center. The whole surface shows remains of those white fibers, but as those divisions are split... that's where the change happens.
Each tiny crescent shape is split from the next, exposing the bright, soft, and juiciness of this little tangerine. The orange is back now, almost emanating flavor as they lay on the table. The little veins on the inside show clearly now; between them, minuscule pouches retaining the juice and liquid which gives the tangerine all its power over the senses. All that's left to do now is to pop one in - to feel the fibers tickle your tongue, bite down and let the slice burst its goodness.
it's much more than a still life
it's much less than a poem