"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." -Martin Luther

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Timothy and the Grenobles, Part II

Dear Readers,

It is continued, but not yet finished. I do not apologize for putting it down, for tonight has become tomorrow, and I must sleep.

"Well, which way is it?" asked Lisa, for she was an educated young lady, and knew well-enough that the first part of getting somewhere is going in the right direction.
"Which ever way you go, so long as, at the end of it, you are home," they replied.
Lisa raised her eyebrows, the same way she always wanted to when she had to pretend there were numbers that were less than none.
"If I go that way, I will go home," she said, pointing over her shoulder into the woods, "but it will not be your home."
"How can it be yours and not ours?" they asked.
"Take off!" commanded Timothy, pointing at the boot of the Grenoble that stood beside him.
"We cannot," they replied. "We cannot take off our boots until we are home, and," they said, their voices dropping to the taut gust of a winter's wind through the trees, "we cannot go home until you do."
"Let's go home, Timothy," said Lisa, sadly, for she felt very sorry for the Grenobles, though she could not understand why they should have such difficulty.
"Take off!" He shouted, and, standing, he whacked at the boot. The Grenoble watched him silently.
"They say they can when we get home. It's almost dinnertime anyway. Let's go home."
"Take off at home?"
"Yes!"
"Come home!" he called to the Grenobles, and, as if he were sailing into a gale, he plunged into the woods.
A burst of wind followed him, as Lisa clambered up the bank. As she too plunged through the woods the wind twisted and rippled her dress, and she loved the cool breeze in the warm, damp air. Timothy stopped to watch a line of ants climb a highway set deep in a crack in the bark of a venerable pine and looked back to make sure his companions were following. Lisa checked as well, and saw, to her surprise, that the Grenobles were skipping, sprinting, twirling through the woods. One moment, they were walking soberly straight ahead. A burst of wind caught them; and with their arms held arched behind them like those of a ballerina, they too burst forward. The wind changed direction, dipping to the left, and the Grenobles swayed and dipped as well. The wind swirled, spinning Lisa's hair around her forehead, and the Grenobles twirled with it, limbs acting out the parts of eddies and currents. Timothy let out a cry of joy for he knew not what.
For when he looked at the Grenobles, he saw the wind.
Both Grenobles stopped, and Timothy began again his homeward romp. So still they stood, their limbs rustling for a moment longer than they moved, and so still was the wind, that Lisa turned to look over her shoulder at them.
"Have you remembered the way home?"
"We have found him," they replied in whispers. Then, all at once, they leapt forward, flying through the air, and, though she could barely see for the torrent of wind that stung her eyes, hurled leaves every direction at once, and threw her into a run towards home, she thought that their legs still stretched below them all the way to the ground, and they were running, but perhaps it was only the forest floor caught up in the wake of the wind beneath them.
She knew then that they were not mimicking the wind with their dance. The woods all about were still, until they moved. There was no rush in the distance. The wind mimicked them, or perhaps, stranger still, Lisa thought they could be making it themselves.
On she ran, and the sober thoughts in her mind and on her face melted when she heard Timothy squealing with delight as the wind caught him. She laughed as well, and her laugh was small and weak compared to the laughter of the Grenobles, for it was all the roar of the great gusts, the rustle of a thousand leaves, the singing of many great chords, none of which could be completely separated from another, and so could not so much be said to blend into as to be the same song.
So the Grenobles sang and so they danced their way through the woods.
Until, not nearly long enough and some time later, the two children ran laughing and breathless into a small glade, the last few bursts of a wind-storm sighing about them. They did not remember such a place -- where the trees grew thicker around, but thinner in number, and the new grass saluted the sky despite the leaves that laughed and lounged about their upright blades, and where the wind dipped down to mingle and chatter with a brook. The Grenobles arrived not long after the wind, and skipped their hands across its surface like stones before plunging their faces into it. They followed the brook, socializing with the water, until a drop in its path sent them somersaulting head over heels down into a pool. They fell with grace and beauty, spinning and twisting like a wind that has lost whatever course it was following, until they fell, limp-limbed, their bark streaked with rivulets of water, and were still at last.
Timothy had laughed a great deal more than Lisa when the Grenobles fell over the brook, for she was concerned they would be bruised by the fall, while Timothy had no doubt that anything so funny and exciting could hurt anyone.
"I've never been here before," said Lisa, concern shading her eyes. She cast her gaze back and forth, with each little gasp of air, and her lip quivered, for she did not like being lost at all.
Timothy stuck a finger in the water cautiously, roared at the cold, and ran up to a big, mossy old tree and caught it in an embrace, his arms not circling round a tenth of it.
"Aaaah!" he shouted, pushing with his feet, and Lisa, bound to pout if she was to be lost, scolded rather than laughed.
"You can't move that!" she said. For it looked very much as if Timothy were trying to pick the great tree up by the roots.
"Mmmmm!" He bit it fiercely.
There was a great splashing sound, and a burst of wind flew by. The Grenobles had leapt from their rest with a great flourish, and stood, now perfectly dry, before them, as a mist of water that they had flung off fell on Lisa and Timothy. Timothy turned at the sound and the gentlest of drumming on his back by the water, and leaned his face on the side of the tree to stare at them, whishing air in and out of his reddened cheeks, his eyes soft and tired.
"We are here," said one Grenoble.
Will you be home?" asked the other.
All was still.
"Home! Take off!" shouted Timothy, his eyes coming awake again, and Lisa jumped, startled. She did not know how, but she knew that whatever was happening was very important the Grenobles, more important than what had happened before.
"Is this your home?" she asked, looking around.
"We are here." They both said.
"Where is here?"
"Will you be home?"
"I most certainly would if you hadn't made us lost!" she cried.
"Then be home...look," and they walked, stiff and straight, no more than a rustle accompanying them, to the edge of the brook. There, was a pool. Though the water on either side leapt and danced, the center was still. Even more curious, Lisa saw, was that the water ran both ways away, and neither into the pool, as if it were the source of the whole rushing brook. Yet it lay as still as if it were ice, and through it the children could see, as if through clean yet gently swaying glass, a great well. It was the open trunk of a great tree, which reached almost to the surface, so that any ripple would expose the uppermost fingers of wood to the air. But nothing disturbed the water, and the well might as well have been a picture, but for the spring in its bottom. Playing with the water, rolling the current, rippling the inner walls of the trunk spun out a jet of water, Yet, as you, dear reader, I hope understand by now, the surface of the water was not disturbed. This truth struck the children just as often and odd as it has struck you.
"Staiws!" Timothy saw them, curving down around the inside of the trunk, carved wooden stairs, half-logs, so that only their tops were flat. Down and down they went until the blue of the water became too deep to distinguish the brown of the wood.
"What's down there?" cried Timothy, looking up perplexedly at the Grenobles.
"The spring."
"No, but, beneath it?" asked Lisa, looking up at them just as Timothy looked back down, sober-faced, to examine this "spring".
"We cannot go there, so it is no use saying," they replied.
Lisa stood up straight, crossed her arms, and pouted. "What is the matter?" she asked in her most fearsome voice -- a quiet, piercing one that began every word too quiet to hear and thrilled through it so that it resounded with crushing urgency at the end. Timothy almost fell into the pool at the sound of it, for it bode badly for him when she was angry. He took a few steps away, casting about for a hiding place, or hiding person. (A hiding person is just as good, if not better, than a hiding place, for, even if you are found with them, big sisters cannot take you away from a hiding person, so you can forget your big sister and play with their buttons while they hold you).
"Nothing," said the Grenobles.
"But there is something the matter! It is past our dinner! We need to go home. Come on, Timothy!"
Timothy wailed and ran behind his great tree.
"We need to go home," said the Grenobles.
"Then go! You're wind...like wind...go!"
"We need to go down the water," said one.
"We need you to stop the spring," said the other.
Once more Lisa knew they were in deadly earnest.
"Stop it?" Lisa pitied them. She could not leave them. Besides, Timothy, she could tell, did not want to be caught and brought home; he would be very difficult. So, "How?" she asked.
"Put finger in it!" laughed Timothy, and he bolted for the water. There was little he enjoyed so much as sticking his finger into the water-spout, feeling the water run faster to escape it, and chasing it about with his hand, trying to catch it and stop it. He never could, and that is not such a bad thing, for a game that is bliss to play should never be won, or it becomes tiresome.
"Timothy!"
Timothy shied away and sat down on the bank, a frown on his face. He did not like big sisters.
Lisa raised her eyebrows, trying to look important, and, walking a few feet downstream (she could not have walked any other way!) she took up a large, round-edged stone. Huffing with the weight, she brought it back and stood on the edge of the pool with it. She looked at the Grenobles on either side of her, and then at Timothy, sitting a little ways off. They all stared back at her, and, rather embarrassed, and glad there were no adults around to think she was silly, she mphed the stone into the water. It sank through the top of the pool, sending but a single ripple out to the edges, and fell ever so slowly, until, but a moment after it disappeared into the spring, the water stopped playing beneath the pool, and the pool, with a ripple like a spider's-web caught in the wind, sank and darted out through cracks in the trunk walls, different currents bumping into each other, like a school of fish, embarrassed to be intruding. The brook did not stop, however, but began around the top edges of the trunk, water pouring from the side of each splinter of wood outward, but not inward. Soon the well was empty, and Lisa could see that it went very far down indeed. Timothy stepped to the edge of the pool, and then onto the first step inside the trunk. He looked back at Lisa, half giggled, half gasped (for she frowned at him), and charged down the steps, moving more back and forth than he did forward and down.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Timothy and the Grenobles, Part I

Preface: (Aren't literary words fun?). Here is a story. It is a bedtime story. I made it up lying on the carpet, my hands beneath my head, staring at the ceiling. I told it to a little boy, and it put him fast to sleep. I am writing it now because I am too sleepy to do any schoolwork, and want to go to bed soon. I will not finish it tonight, but some other night I hope to. I wish everyone a good night.

It was a misty day in late April. The sun had winged its way to the heights, pierced the clouds for a few moments during naptime, and was now falling, out of sight, towards its rest behind the Johnson's garage. For Timothy, three years old, had divined its hiding place, and secretly planned to seek it out some night and wrestle it across the Johnson's driveway out into the street, where it would light the yard so that he would be able to play forever and not go to bed when he was supposed to.
But the sun was not his object this particular day. No, he was enjoying his after-naptime romp through the back woods, his sister Lisa trying her best to keep up with him, but failing, of course. For young boys, Timothy knew, were much more clever and agile than grown-up girls like Lisa. Why, she was all of nine years old already! He felt sorry for her, for soon she would not be able to show her age on her fingers, and what is the fun in being older if you cannot show it to people?
The sun was to the left, its warmth cutting through the mist in rays of water droplets, water-stained, moss-covered bark, and reflecting pools in leaves. The leaves squished and squelched beneath his feet and he squirmed his toes and nose and paused to examine his footing in the deep muck. Satisfied, he turned about, his wide body giving him ample balance, and saw Lisa moving with behemoth strides through the forest behind him. He giggled uproariously and dashed away into the woods, a broad smile on his mouth, leaning his weight forward like a ship's sail caught in the wind, and his grinning face was his own figurehead, his arms the rigging.
But ships do not have feet, and oceans rarely have roots, so the ship that was Timothy was, as a matter of course, surprised to tumble down into the leaves. Undaunted, he put himself back on his feet, examining himself soberly. He was somewhat dirtier than before. A leaf was stuck to the base of his hand by a clump of mud. A black-stained pine twig clung by a drop of dirt to his chin, and his shirt had several new stripes on it.
"Timothy! You'll get all dirty!" cried Lisa, her tone important and full of peril, for she thought to be dirty one of the worst things that anyone could be.
He laughed harder and ran on into the woods. There was nothing in these woods for quite a while -- he had heard his father say once that there was nothing until the next neighborhood, and Timothy expected that was quite a long way.
Now, running in the woods while someone is following you is a tricky game. Run too fast, and you might loose your sister, and never find her again, and that would be a shame. Run too slowly, and she may well catch you, scold you, clean you up, tickle you, or something of that nature. Of course, at some point you must let yourself be caught...but not until you're quite done with your romp. So Timothy had to check over his shoulder often to make sure Lisa was neither lost nor about to swoop him up with her great big strong arms. After going some ways on, he saw that she was falling behind. He turned around, flinging the leaf from his hand by his motion, and laughed loudly so that she would catch up. He saw her moving slowly from tree to tree, but she was going more in a circle than coming towards him, so he shouted "Wis-AAA!" and began bounding back towards her, slightly annoyed that she would abandon the game.
Lisa, meanwhile, tired of pretending to chase her baby brother, slowed to a walk and wistfully glanced at the treetops above her, humming tunes that only she could discern, and glancing into the distance occasionally to make sure she could still see Timothy. Soon he was almost out of sight, and she was day-dreaming about whatever it is big sisters daydream about (many of you, dear readers, may be big sisters yourselves, and I am sure you choose choice daydreams, but I cannot tell what they might be, as I can only speak for big and little brothers, and not for sisters at all). His call made her jump and forget her dream, and, feeling a little guilty for letting him get so far ahead as she now saw he was, she began to run towards him.
As Timothy came near to Lisa, she ducked behind a tree, and, amused to find that she had known better after all, and invented a new game where he chased her, crept up to it giggling, careful to step quietly so she would not hear his approach.
As Lisa caught up with Timothy, he hopped down out of sight into a creek-bed, and, stirred to greater haste at the thought of what he would look like if given a chance to enjoy himself in the muddy stream, Lisa hopped down to the bank. "Timothy!" she cried scoldingly as she spotted him, and then she stopped very abruptly and took several steps back, so that she bumped into the bank and sat down on it, dirtying her dress. "Oh!" She said sadly, examining it, and then turned back to the little creature that she had thought before to be Timothy. "Now, see what you have made me done?" she scolded.
Timothy let out a squeal, halfway between delighted and terrified, for he had grabbed not Lisa, but a branch, and the branch had gently drawn itself back from his chubby hands. The brother and sister saw each other -- the real each other, finally -- from where they stood, not more than a few moments' Timothy-run apart.
Lisa pursed her lips, folded her eyebrows, placed her hands behind her back (over the mud on her dress), and examined the creature that she had mistaken for Timothy. Timothy, meanwhile, sat down and stared at the one that he had mistaken for Lisa.
The two creatures were very similar, yet, especially in their faces, the brother and sister could tell them apart easily, though they would not be able to say why, similar to how two puppies may look just alike to a visitor, but are easy for their master to name. They were brownish-green creatures, and their skin looked like bark, but they did not crackle or crumble as they moved. The bark, indeed, seemed able to bend easily as far as it needed to. Leaves and moss clung to them, and they wore boots lined with thick wet dirt with an upper of leaves and a lower of their own bare feet. They were each about as tall as Lisa, each had two arms and two legs like Timothy, and they had faces. Their faces were strange, and made Timothy look very serious. They had no noses to speak of, and if they had mouths, Lisa could not see them. Timothy looked at the eyes of the one nearest him, and yawned. Its eyes, Lisa mused, were like acorns. Not green acorns, or dirty acorns, or scratched acorns, but the acorns that have fallen unbruised, and been washed clean in a pool of rainwater till they shine a perfect rich reddish burgundy that makes you think of smelling good living wood and knocking on knotholes in trees, and root-beer flavored candy. The eyes did not look deep, but they seemed to shine the color of wet, clean wood deep in the forest where the light cannot come and yet you feel perfectly cozy and at home, until, of course, some naughty leaf drips a drop of water down the back of your neck and makes you gasp. The creatures looked at them with their eyes, eyes that reminded Timothy of the blind dog that lived next door, and also of the eyes of his teddy bear.
"What are you?" asked Lisa politely.
"We are the Grenobles," they answered, and as they spoke Lisa saw their mouths, but once they were silent she could not find them again.
"Ha!" said Timothy. He was amused that little treeish people talked. He was of the age where he had not yet firmly decided anything about the world, and so did not know that he should be very startled to find such creatures.
Lisa, on the other hand, knew quite well that there should be no such thing, but was old enough to know that it is silly to deny what you see with your own two eyes. So, she smiled and said, "We're Hunters," for that was their father's and mother's name. "We live through the woods that way. Where do you live?"
"Will you help us find it?" they asked.
"Do you not know where your own home is?" she asked in pity and astonishment, thinking that they were lost.
"We would know better if you showed it to us," they replied.
"Ha!" said Timothy again.