Dank Sunrise (1972)

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Dank Sunrise (1972)[1]

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Cold rain plummets through a dense veil of vibrating pines to shatter against lichen covered stone, lost on a forgotten mountain ridge abandoned by time to grow into dust. Soil braced rock remains silent listening to the moaning of each pine spiced bead contributing its loneliness to a stream of tears. An unforgiving wind shuffles a dull mist among the evergreens as it hastens to a distant shower. Splinter white limbs lie shivering, raped by an early winter ice storm in this dark season.

Propped up beneath an apex of lifeless stone with his back adjacent to a leafless white oak, an unstirring youth sits staring into the bleak environment. An inanimate individual, he is prodded by the dank sunrise to awaken. Untouched by the selfish wind, his eyes are open solely to the wetting of the pounding rain: yet they speak of a unique pilgrimage, a venture into the soul.

In the fluid sunlight of a late May morn Tamen clears the soft brown hair from his eyes as he wanders into the low thick blueberry and shaggy laurel of a woodland pasture. A pair of head-bobbing turtle dove take wing disturbed by the passing of the inquiring stranger near their hidden perch in the underbrush. Tamen is attracted to a small hillside clearing by a myriad of bright-colored insects producing the resonance of a crafted lute. Wading among the flowering blue-green grasses with a warm breeze bathing his tanned face, he uncovers a path well scored with radiant-textured dandies and winding rasberries leading up the life-lit meadow into the pines.

Over fallen timber, across dry rock ledges, and through clear scented mountain runs, the peaceful path leads Tamen through remnants of quieter timess when wise men hoed the fields together and hunted with each other the woodlands in preparation for the clouded seasons. Below whistling caverns and whispering white pine, he passes experiencing the unselfish melodies of nature’s conscience which has been unheard by generations of self-isolated men. Up the moutain’s slope to the ridge, the beauteous trail terminates in the reflections of the mineral water of a crystal pool.

The cool serenity of the pool invites the sojourner to relax securely at the water’s skirt. Peering down with the expressive innocence of an infant at play, Tamen is attentive to the life-painted images dancing on the wavering liquid. In its reflections he sees an unfamiliar child skipping alone in the March sunlight on a field of fresh-green rye grass. First in silent amazement, then with tears in his eyes, Tamen watches the shining adolescent grow in life into a man of his own image. Tamen, awakened in this natural solitude, is quiet with himself.

a window opens       clouds thicken
light implodes          motion freezes
ice melts                a crow sings

[1] This vignette won second place in a 1972 Parkdale Senior High School (http://www1.pgcps.org/parkdale) literary contest.

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