Tag Archives: Time

Doug’s Raft

25 Jun

A counterpoint to the recent FridayFictioneers picture of the blue damselfly perched on a rock, mellon, or, more forebodingly, a skull as envisioned in Kathy McClure’s story, Sobibor.

This image is of a fossilized dragonfly that is around 350 million years  old.

That’s a lot of water under the bridge, but only a couple of days in eternity. We are here for a short while and in a blink of an eye we are gone; smoke through a keyhole.

Lord Dunsany captured the futility of writing in the following work and his words are ever on my mind as I struggle in the rising water.

THE RAFT-BUILDERS

All we who write put me in mind of sailors hastily making rafts upon doomed ships.

When we break up under the heavy years and go down into eternity with all that is ours our thoughts like small lost rafts float on awhile upon Oblivion’s sea. They will not carry much over those tides, our names and a phrase or two and little else.

They that write as a trade to please the whim of the day, they are like sailors that work at the rafts only to warm their hands and to distract their thoughts from their certain doom; their rafts go all to pieces before the ship breaks up.

See now Oblivion shimmering all around us, its very tranquility deadlier than tempest. How little all our keels have troubled it. Time in its deeps swims like a monstrous whale; and, like a whale, feeds on the littlest things—small tunes and little unskilled songs of the olden, golden evenings—and anon turneth whale-like to overthrow whole ships.

See now the wreckage of Babylon floating idly, and something there that once was Nineveh; already their kings and queens are in the deeps among the weedy masses of old centuries that hide the sodden bulk of sunken Tyre and make a darkness round Persepolis.

For the rest I dimly see the forms of foundered ships on the sea-floor strewn with crowns.

Our ships were all unseaworthy from the first.

There goes the raft that Homer made for Helen.

Percy Bysshe Shelly expressed much the same sentiment in his famous sonnet.

Ozymandias:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

 (The picture above is Shelley’s original first draft of Ozymandias.)

Knowing that I will “break up under the heavy years and go down into eternity…” is a daunting prospect. It makes me want to focus, to see better and more clearly, to experience fully, and to write what I can for those who follow. It also makes me want to just stop writing and start walking; to begin the journey of a thousand miles and let the world and everyone on it chart their own course absent my input.

I don’t know who’s going to win that contest, but in the meantime I try to build the very best rafts that I can.

Oblivion can wait for a bit. It’s got time.

Bermuda Triangle Summer

13 Apr

Summer’s coming. 100 word story for FridayFictioneers inspired by Madisn Woods’ photo prompt. Her story is here. Leave a comment and a link. Visit everyone’s efforts and say hello. They’re a good bunch of writers. Aloha, D.

I ran eagerly toward the passage under Route 69 that led to the lake deep in the woods, thinking long and hard of seventeen year old Summer McBride waiting there, ripe and luscious in blue jean shorts and tank top.

“Meet me at our spot,” was all she’d said on the phone. “I have something I want to show you.”

Dad had somehow known I’d been summoned.

“Just be careful, Stud. That part of a woman’s like the Bermuda Triangle,” he said, a faraway look in his eyes.  “A man can get lost in there forever if he’s not careful.”