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Open to the Sky

Harry Buschman

It was late. Mr. Samson sat back in his chair and looked up at the open sky. He was tired, yet he hated the thought of going to bed. He knew his mind would keep him awake all night. It was better, he thought, to sit here – surrounded by the four walls of this room and look up at the open sky. The days of his years were written up there in the tumbling clouds and recorded each day in the chart of his life that lay on the table before him.

He made the chart himself. In these final years with nothing better to do he had gone back as far as his memory would allow, to chart the course he already traveled. He could see himself retracing the steps, walking the route he traveled long ago.

The light from above – maybe the moon ... in any case it was all the light he needed to see by. It illuminated a small figure walking the path he previously traveled. He heard the raucous din of trumpet and drum, he heard the cries for pity. He saw the pockets of the dead turned inside out, snapshots of their loved ones at their sides; each man with a hole placed neatly between his eyes ... like a period at the end of a sentence. Then he walked the narrow path to the front door of the small house in which his family used to live – he looked inside. Another family lived there now. A woman came to the door – she appeared puzzled when she found no one there. He revisited all his stops along the way. All the beautiful places he’d seen, cities of past glory, God’s natural wonders and man’s creative achievement.

Mr. Samson went back to the very beginning, and he wondered what it would be like to chart a different course. With the knowledge gained from a lifetime of trial and error he could make a more educated choice at every turn in the road.

The little man, starting at the beginning walked as blindly as the rodent in the maze. He approached the first crossroad and before he turned to follow the old road, Mr. Samson set him off in another direction. The little man stopped and looked up at Mr. Samson.

“We didn’t go this way before.”

“I know,” Mr. Samson said. “I know what I’m doing.”

“No, you don’t. You don’t what’s down this road.” He shook his fist at Mr. Samson. “Your first mistake is your last you know. Better to take the old road.”

Mr. Samson hesitated. The little man was right ... look how far he’d come the first time. Who knows how far he’d get down another road. He sat back in his chair again and looked up at the troubled sky. Maybe the answer was up there somewhere in those dark rolling clouds. If it was, he would never know.

“Perhaps it’s time to go to bed,” he thought. “Tomorrow’s another day.”

The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.
Walt Whitman

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The following comments are for "Open to the Sky"
by HarryB

memoirs of a ghost ?
there’s poetry to this, an eerie, dreamy sort of poetry… I’m quite taken- but at the same time quite disturbed- by the idea that this is how the dead might spend eternity, mapping the past and watching the skies, wandering those old roads like a “rodent in the maze” [but I could be missing something here, my brain’s like cottage cheese today]…

I liked reading this, although it unsettled me, the details mostly, pockets f the dead turned inside out, holes in head like punctuation, all told with the well worn familiarity of something witnessed a thousand times before, played over and over in to infinity… troubling thing, but effective. stays with you, this, thanks for posting.

( Posted by: AuldMiseryGuts [Member] On: September 28, 2007 )

I really don't know what the dead do with their time. I'd hate to think they were limited to reruns – no ego, however inflated could live with itself. The battlefield, yes that's true – some of us did that. Looking for things to sell on the street. That would be one of the roads some folks took. It's up there, written in the clouds somewhere.

Thanks for reading, Shannon

( Posted by: HarryB [Member] On: September 28, 2007 )

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