Once upon a time, a very, very long time ago, in a very, very verdant green Italian village, there lived a girl child, an orphan girl child. All the other girls who lived there had long, thick, dark hair, olive skin, world-sharpened eyes and a freed up throat that could scream, yell, talk and cry. Orphan Girl, who was almost a mute, had blond hair, green eyes and as a cultural outsider, was shunned by her classmates who called her Orphan Girl. The name echoed in the mountains, "Orphan Girl, Orphan Girl, where are you?" She went into the forest, sat with the trees and flowers, drank cafe late from a thermos that she always carried and wrote nice words on the surface of a mountain stream, loving it when they instantly disappeared.
Of course, like in every fairytale, there is someone who represents wisdom and in this story, the deus-ex-machina is a wizened, wrinkled, long skirted, foul smelling, crabby, bent, rough talking but truth telling woman elder. Was she really a woman? It was hard to tell because her features had glued themselves together-----her nose to her chin, almost; her eyebrows to her cheeks, almost; her toenails grew into the bottoms of her crusty feet, almost. The gossipy villagers called her lots of names: witch, strega, bad news, nuscience, bother, charity case, pest, liability, and on and on...but for Orphan Girl she was a refuge and like-minded soulmate.
For the beauty of this story, let's give this elder an extraordinary gift and talent....it seemed simple and was nameless and it was that she could tell when the train which stopped in her village was 33 miles away and with her acute sensitivity she predicted the exact time the train would arrive at the station. Of course this savant knowing and sensing was so non-consequential that it impressed no-one but Orphan Girl. Who wants to listen for a train by putting your ear to the earth? Not a very practical skill!
Of course, she passed on this pedestrian knowledge to Orphan Girl but hidden beneath this simple circus-like-act was something more spectacular, something more usefull..a secret knowledge she handed onto Orphan Girl one rainy November day when the veil between life and death; the veil between truth and ignorance; the veil between suffering and happiness is very thin.
Here's how it happened: they were sitting in front of an open-pit fire, poking sticks at the embers, and the elder said: " Today is the day for me to tell you the complete story. Yes, I listen for when trains are near but also I know when they have wrecked. I know when trains have wrecked 700 miles away and Orphan Girl , it is important to know that life has many , many , many train wrecks because life is about change, vulnerability, flux, unpredictability, old age, sickness and death. You think you have it bad, being an orphan but I want to tell you the whole story about other weird and terrible things that have happened, might happen and could happen. Close your eyes and I will read you a story that I call: ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A TRAIN WRECK. Shhhhh. Let's listen."
Admittedly we are all sensing a pre-renaissance black-out, a "dark age" with recognizable and historically accurate symptoms witnessed by historians of the fall (and/or transformation) of other dynasties teetering on the brink of armageddon.(The Roman ,Ottoman, German, British Empires perchance?)
Can't we all agree that in this 21st century, we are communally experiencing a bad taste and aftermaths from universally experienced phenomena such as:
CIRCLE 475 PHENOMENON
Financial fumblings, cultural buffooneries, pervasive paranoia, modified mea culpas, bipartisan shenanigans, uncompassed morality, bipaped starvations, political circus acts, theological tsunamis, global tamperings, cyclical catastrophes, faux apologies, misleading marketing, conspicuous consuming, muddled multitasking, apocalyptic battering, padded documenting, salted wounding, power shifting, self loathing, hierarchical covering, pious grandstanding, spasmed tremoring, bankrupted dreaming, disintegrated remembering, virtual relating, techno crazing, outrageous compensating, congressional bullying and foreclosed trust!
CIRCLE 189 PHENOMENON
Diseased despondents, surrendered suicidals, unheld newborns, hooded jihadists, fundamental fanatics, antsy therapists, inattentive nannies, selfish narcissists, bonused buddies, media darlings, unconscienced thieves, suffocating egoists, discarded seniors, trafficked innocents, self inflicting terrorists, vulnerable victims, jolly junkies, over dutiful daughters, celebrity addicts, killer drones, spiritual materialists, scheming CEOs, interminable visitors, jealous sisters, stubborn students, lying boasters, ungrateful patients, cyber bullies, skeletoned anorexics, emotional mutes, nasty narcissists and miserable millionaires!
CIRCLE 362 PHENOMENON
Creepy oppressors, hypersexual prowlers, Holocaust deniers, death cheaters, begging borrowers, scud sharp shooters, carbon foot printers, attention mongers, greedy brokers, depressed designers, public apologizers, prepared preppers, subcutaneous cutters, sophomoric obsessors, inappropriate responders, furious professors, tormenting victimizers, parent starvers, neurotic neighbors, reputation slanderers, magnetic womanizers, surprise attackers, glad handers, halitosed dancers, grid locked commuters, grieving skaters, arrogant outsiders, soul sellers, gift refusers, aggressive reporters, sloppy visitors, pill stealers, animal abhorrers, hate disseminators, stinky passengers, authority balkers, sloppy foodmakers, name callers, energy suckers, germ spreaders, information secretors, junk hoarders, saccrine sympathizers, sweaty hand shakers, misguided worshippers, internet scammers, morphed murderers, obese outsiders, child abusers, frozen floormatters, dysfunctional reconfigurers, beauty kidnappers, unread biographers, gender assaulters, monumental mistakers, satanic afflicters, silent contemptors, counterindicated elders, hungry survivors, childhood stealers, guilted enjoyers, ponzi schemers, medical compromisers, careless caregivers, enraged partners, jailed minors, paralyzed players, unemployed loners, adulterous trespassers, vaccinated teenagers, double crossed informers, technological traumatizers, disabling humiliators, monetary misusers and nose pickers!
Oh, our poor bodies/minds are dodging the toxic arrows of it all! Dodging thoughts about pcb's and thoughts of no more potable water or no more fish or ice-sliding-glaciered polar bears! Thoughts about what to do about our arthritic thumbs twittered to spasm. Thoughts about ourselves and the suffering others! Not only thoughts but also memories of once looking in the mirror at our faces sweetly smiling back with innocent anticipation of a McDonalds. NO MORE. In preparation for a post-modern re-look at Revelationed-robotization, our current faces are facebooked/addicted into social shyness, not to be relieved by a 1970's Kumbayaah singing picnic on a green, chemical free lawn. That chapter is closed, my friend.
Now, our poor bodies, steel-tight with earthquaked fear of the next day's news or trembling over the calories and sugar content of the morning's Starbucks or tripping out of buildings quickly when rumblings at yet another fault-line are recognized by sensitive dogs,....our battered bodies.... run on PTSD/empty seeking refuge in second-lifed, C-PAPED-accompanied nightmares.
But wait, out of this harrowing scenario of a reality show gone bad, comes Hope?
The fairytale ends here and the old woman said, "That's it, Orphan Girl, you know the whole story. Now open your eyes and your voice and don't ever be surprised again when you encounter a life-wreck. They happen all the time and you are prepared, never to be surprised when strange things happen in your life." Orphan Girl was elated, glad she had been taught these important secrets and danced the OPEN HEART VOICE DANCE, around the fire.
That night, at 8pm, they both slept with their ears to the earth, in silent preparation for the next train to come.
The beginning of an end.
LINDA MARY MONTANO, 2010 Saugerties, NY