I think somewhere, down in the pile, it's been waiting for me. In the undergrowth. buried among the mindless thoughts and vacant stares into nothingness. It's a message and it's waiting for nobody but me. Once, a kid came rustling through the dried leaves and jumped through the pile, spreading it out like jam on a big park-piece of toast. He jumped around, made imaginary snowmen, and hide among the dead, brightly colored organic material. He peaked out, through the small spots of sky-colored light, looking and waiting, watching and laying. His mom called for him and - to nobody but himself, for who was there to see him beneath that pile of multi-colored crayon-postits of mother natures - he rolled his eyes. Nothingness looked right back at him and he caught it, if ever so briefly, out of the corner of his eye. If he had never rolled them he might never have seen it there and the thought terrified him into a weeks worth of nightmares - not the nothingness, but the thought that he very could have missed it. He rolled his eyes for weeks after that.
The message is still there, despite my pile having been strewn about as a plaything. It's under it all waiting patiently with blank eyes and empty mind, completely unfettered and free like darkness playing hide-and-go-seek with itself in a closet on a moonless night. When I found out about the message I sifted through things slowly. I was ruing ahead of time the moment I would overturn a red or yellow or amber leaf and find the note lying there, waiting, motionless; expectantly. I did want anything or anyone expecting - as if I would know what to do with the knowledge anyway, as if I would know how to proceed or who to warn. Build a bomb shelter? Find a boat and leave? Scream around town on a horse yelling that the proverbial British were coming?
All this anxiety and fervor, all this morbid, sightless, soundless, peacekeeping in my head drew blood to my brow. As if these factions, these dissenting accusers and hopeless ammusers battling rat-a-tat-tat in my brain knew the first thing - the first thing
- about what that damn note even says. As if I - sane enough to maintain bipartisan logic and yet crazy enough to embrace it - as if I knew the first thing in the world about this message.
No no, dig more, I told myself. These are the sorts of acute mental states in which you find yourself getting the most work done. Dig, my friend, dig.
I dug. I dig. I feel about as effective as a low-level pacman ghost, wandering about down maze-like hallways, catching brief glimpses of this ultimate goal - a yellow blur - as it smacks by up ahead crunch-crunch-crunch
Or is it just the leaves I'm walking through, the frosted flakes of autumn's end covered with a crisp layer of winter's coming? It's still there, the pile. Underneath it is the message. A few years back a young girl came along and stopped along the brick path nearby. Childish, like the boy, she found pleasure here in the leaves and the grass and twigs and things. Yet, as is often true of the fairer sex, she took a softer tact. She examined one leaf at a time, in a pensive way, turning it over in her fingers and laying it in the palm of her hand. The leaves were too big for it and the tips of each section extended well beyond the ends of her fingers. For a brief moment, standing there in the shade, she was a monster with great webbed appendages; a water creature with extreme deftness and powerful features. The veins in her hands and arms and feet and legs were large and pulsing, lizard-like. She was lightening fast and autumn-colored and easily blended into the surroundings as if she had bled right into them. I think she had a tail.
When the girl returned she did so with a panic. Like a leprechaun - *poof*
- she reappeared whole, and as different to her surroundings as if she were green. Which is to say live and whole and not dried, dead, or dying like the pieces of papery fruit piled here and there and spread across the lawn. Her whole persona was green, like a forest in springtime full of regrowth and regeneration, but she was frozen. Her hand held something small, but she was completely still. Her eyes were wide and her pupils dillated to the size of milk-saucers. I thought at first that I saw a tear trickling down the side of her face, sparkling in the angular sunlight of daylight-savings, but I was wrong - it was a tiny bead of sweat. Let me remind you that it was Autumn.
She left quickly, quite unlike the way she had come. She dropped whatever was clutched in her fingers and walked away without looking up. Her clogs made faint little sounds on the pavement as she went: clack-clack-clack
When she was gone I went back to look for the note that was waiting for me underneath the piles of everything but nothing was there staring back at me. I waited - if it was my turn, the clock would warn me my time was up and if it were anothers they would make a move. Nothingness happened the way only nothingness can - more nothing than anything but even less of that, just a mere essence of nothing really.
I realized then that I was on a horse, of sorts, it had no name, and I was in a desert of dried leaves. The sunlight was a dark blood-orange seemingly dusky but I could nevertheless still see the tiny ball of fire burning bright on the horizon. The last thing, I thought, you do when you are alone in the desert with nothing but a nameless horse is start digging in the sand for messages. I'm no looney.
So I stopped digging. The message is there, somewhere, amidst the piles of nothing and everything inbetween. A small note, no doubt something you could jot down on a single postit. Though the leaves may blow away and the children may come and go, the place is always there and my mind wanders often to this playground of obtuse knowledge. I am not sure if I'm still looking for the diamond in the cave or spelunking out of pure sport but something is there driving me back over and over again. The mind is bipartisan. The other part of me thinks I may just be waiting for someone to make the next move.