Page 44 - July 2021 Litterateur
P. 44

I kneel by a stream, soft sod beneath my aging knees, listen to the gurgle in the crystal purity of
                    water, in its rampage over dark gray limestone mossy with secrets, and try to decipher their
                    answers in the static hiss of collapsing bubbles. I concentrate on the sunken leaves scattered
                    on  the  bottom  of  a  quieter  pool  at  the  edge  of  an  eddy—fragments  of  mica-glitter  and  rust-
                    layered shale surely must render a hint of answers hiding there.

                    Perhaps it’s in the sanctity of the pines among the warblers and the wrens—Carolina’s song
                    pulling the loneliness out of me. Everything beautiful in them is truly given. I am no poor man,

                    but blessed in the company of angels—these messengers sent to comfort, put my hurt on their
                    wings  and  take  it  to  the  One  above  the  clouds,  beyond  the  stars,  who  will  replace  it  with
                    uncanny hope. A speckled brown sparrow lands a few feet from me and flits and flutters in the
                    thistle as it cocks its head this way and that, as if it’s listening to the breath from the white dove
                    that lives in the spaces between my susurrations giving it instruction for my benefit.

                    A breeze lifts from the quiet air, stirs the sycamore leaves, and the rhododendron quivers in
                    anticipation. Something inside me understands the language of trees yet my heart moves to the

                    rising pathos in resonance with Barber’s Adagio for Strings playing in my mind. Despite the
                    sadness, there’s a beauty I feel more than understand.

                    I walk back down the trail, my feet, not as heavy; my heart, lighter. There’s a rhythm to all of
                    this in these times of change. Ferns edging the trail remain green regardless of the weather. I

                    crane my neck up once more. A few clouds are gathering and I taste the wetness in the air; the
                    blue is fading for silvery gray but the sun is not hiding from me anymore, no matter how dark
                    the clouds turn. And when the rain comes, it will drop soft as mercy.

                   John C. Mannone,

                       United States


                           REDEFINING WORLD                                                                                 44
                        EDITED BY SHAJIL ANTHRU
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