Oct. 26th, 2014

jeanvieve: (Default)
Dear Great Pumpkin,

Many times in the last year you overwhelmed me with your trickster ways. I couldn't laugh but that it was tinged with salt, and I could not cry without tasting candy sweetness on my tongue. I have wandered in darkness through the dream-scape amusement park you built in the pumpkin fields, my path lit with flashing lights, my feet tripping and dancing over furrowed earth to the sound of calliope music. I loved it all.

Your roller coaster was magnificent, the slow climb full of anticipation and nerves, the crested view of the the wilderness outside of the park fences, the fast plunge and double barrel roll leaving me shrieking and laughing even as the tears escaped to drain sideways into my hair. I was glad to start there, even though it left me unsteady on my feet for a long time as I walked away wiping at my eyes, feeling the whirling slowly subside in my chest. I will ever treasure the snapshot of my face, that flash of surprise and delight in the moment.

I was fascinated by your hall of mirrors. I think we all need to look long at every image we see of ourselves, to learn the truth about the surfaces we use as part of our self study. When we see our faces distorted, our bodies thinner or fatter or crooked, it is up to us to remember that these images are all external. Reality waits for us to close our eyes, and run our own hands down our flanks so that we can feel the truth that we have not become grotesque with a mere turn of a corner. You remind me always that truth is on the inside, not in the twisted images we see in the dark.

I will ever keep a pocket of change in your name, so that other children can keep joining me in your midway games. It is only when we play together that the game is worthwhile, when the shadows that bump and move around us in crowds become individuals and with names and faces, and we can share a night of tricks and treats. In our play the best memories are made, time stolen and hoarded and brought out to relive as we stand around the fires burning in cans warming our hands in winter.

But the wild night faded into pale grey, and it was time to go. I turned to leave your circus with a sour stomach from too much cotton candy and popcorn, tired but with wild adrenaline still poisoning my chances for sleep. Then I saw your sign. A simple thing, paint peeling and old as it hung by a mere twist of wire: Help Wanted.

I gazed out through the chain-link fence to the parking lot and the distant city beyond. Out there lay common-place things, and a responsible life filled with purpose. Then back over my shoulder, I looked at your carnival and saw it for what it is - Halloween illusions of the night, a beguilement of time, memories that never fade. A slow smile grew on my face as I turned back to the ticket office to go ask for a job. Because this celebration of harvest and Halloween is important. This is fear, pain, and laughter; this is the need for chills and thrills. This is vital to being alive.

I hope all the other children find their free tickets in the pumpkin patch.

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jeanvieve

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