Outside the city of brown sandstone were caves by the edge of the road. They stood like glacier-dropped erratics. The outside of one was black and starting to become seeded with small trees. Entering a cup in the stone, I could see a wider entrance and green blinking across the light further down. Going thru some sumacs along the width I went in.
The narrow passage opened up to a large disc of a space, the shape of tortilla warming dish. The floors were all fired clay, man-man insert into the stone. There was a spiral gutter that led to a drain in the center. Ancients came here to do the washing of their holy clothes. A rare find to happen upon this. I could imagine the people stooped here, battering their colored cloths, wringing. The air felt fresh as rain starting to fall. There were air routes thru here although it was dim.
I went out by a crevice, squeezing thru. The eyes shocked to the brighter light and wider palette of colors. The blues and yellows and greens seemed super-saturated in contrast. A river ran past.
I went to the waterside grasses over the mix of rough river stone and scratchy gravel. A spray of commotion came from the water as something surfaced like a porpoise. It was a chicken with a thick rat's tail instead of its own feathers. It burst like a quail from the dark water. I pulled my camera to catch the image and as I moved forward there was a clawing up my right leg. It was a snake curling up using its teeth like grappling hooks into my jeans. I shook it off to the ground.
I returned to this city. It was in gothic shadows. People bustled with a sort of hush. I was living here. I was boarding. In the market I overheard conversations. Everyone was a dream creation except S. Everyone had magic but it was a religious government so a denial of magic. Even when something unexplained happened, it never happened.
People with the strongest gifts believed they were mad and were contritely grieving over their delusions. There was a quiet movement of people who were tired of being denounced and skeptical of unlikely tales of the fundamentalist set. S was one I suspected and with the curiosity she looked at me with, catching some unguarded expression — when a person was dressed down in the square for saying they saw the page become animate and run and then turn back to a page — she suspected I was one of the insurgents.
One night a sealed clerestory window to my room opened and a branch of japanese maple flew around the room like a bird enchanted. It had a note attached. It flew down to my desk and tapped a branch tip for my attention and shuffled itself note-side under my nose. The next morning i set off before dawn.
I walked thru the back lanes. A transitway was ahead. I could take the transit but seeing the movement of strangets instead went on foot, going thru a hole in chain link, thru a copse of trees with few leaves but many fine branches.
After all the desolate hard packed soil and concrete and barely surviving grass there was an open vista past the shielding trees.
At the river there was red coral on the flat river stone. By a dug out of shale one disattached like a pink parachute lifting, a red jellyfish puffing up over the surface, then reattaching further down the current as coral.
I leaned over the water and another coral puffed. I got my camera and aimed at a near shore coral. My hand stung. There was a purple and white ring of a welt on my middle finger. I retreated from the water. Take no evidences of what you saw. Be. But I looked at my hand. Was not this an evidence of something?
Down the dirt road towards the green hills two travellers walking faster overtook me and i asked then about my finger. They in their dust brown robes fobbed off a convenient non-commital answer and hurried on, heads together in conversation.
I woke and it was here and there was snow on the paved roads.
3 days ago