Once upon a time there was a man who lived in the middle of the valley. Every time he tried to move to the north, the cold winds blew him back. On sapphire autumnal days he tried to live east, but the morning sun betrayed him. To the south, the warm salty air dried his eyes, and the west shunned her back on him every night. The mountains of the earth did not cradle him, but trapped him where he stood. When he was a babe, the stone stood sentinel, but now the slate and slag imprisoned. As a young man, he tried to go through the mountains, burrow under, find a way: the mountain always pushed back. If he climbed over, footing would slip and he would fall and bring the whole of the mountain down on everyone in the village.
Since the north, east, south, and west did not care which direction he went, he did not move. Neither over the top or through the heart could he move. In the deep valley he stayed, praying the snow would stay frozen on the mountaintops so no flood. Nonetheless he drowned. He drowned in the dawn when he did not see the sun till it was almost noon, and he drowned in the moon when she would not show her face. If he kept his eyes straight ahead he saw the sides of the mountain, and if he looked up, celestial treasures on display for others in the world, but not for him. Always out of reach.
One day, in the middle of the year, in the middle of the field, in the pinnacle of the day, he prayed. "Dear gods, I am a simple man. I only wish to see the world."
The moon hid, and the sun coy. He tried again.
This time, an odd breeze chucked him under his chin, tickling the whiskers on his face.
But the moon hid, and the sun coy. He tried again.
On the third day, he felt the breeze tickling his whiskers, and a voice in his ear. "Turn around, man."
Behind him grew a field of daisies and poppies as far as the eye could behold. The pleated perfection of daisy petal, and sultry sirens of poppies made for a wondrous sight. As if to guard the two and prevent flower class warfare, hedges of lavender provided bees and breezes delights. The man gathered some of the flowers, and took them home and put them in a mug of water.
That night he went to sleep as normal, but his dreams were etched green and gold. Something came uncomfortably in the house, unsure of itself, he sensed it. Eyes opening, the dark huddle before dawn, and silent--whatever came in, he wanted it to stay.
(to be continued)