Wednesday 25 September 2013

shadow of a ghost town

A stranger was not necessarily what the townsfolk wanted or needed, in the shadow of a ghost town. But he was welcome just the same... this man who considered himself a cowboy, for he had roped a little spirit back in the day. Held it close to him for a hot second, got to know it real good, then quickly gave it away. And kept giving it away, because giving felt right. And so he lived large in generosity, in a small part of the world. Until one day he felt a calling, and listened to it carefully. The calling was legit, he decided. So he answered. Rode out away from home, and came into a long abandoned little part of the world, way off the beaten path. Outside a rural area. Off the grid, for sure. In the shadow of a ghost town.

A gentle influence of the very nearly unplanned, played into a general vague spontaneity of the townsfolk there. If you called it a town. There would be times of half-hearted devotion toward some undefined occupation there. There was little to no preoccupation with anything. The children raised themselves. The women worked the same as men, and neither very hard or long. Mother nature was the closest thing to God. And the men all had a proclivity towards horseshoes. A pasttime which neither legend nor fact attributes them, though they doubtless invented it. After the last horse took fright and upended its last rider, and galloped free and out from under this shadow of a ghost town. No other town known to man, ever had reason to make a game out of shoes of horses, what with the abundance of horses wherever their was an abundance of man. Each of which required not one but four shoes running.

Well, one of these recently made useless arches of iron, had just lodged an impression into the soft dirt of a pit, throwing up a piece of dust into the air, when this cowboy of the spirit came riding up on them out of nowhere, there. He said nothing other than that he had a calling, and answered it, to account for his coming. They welcomed the stranger, though they would have seen him going just as fast as he came. But no one became preoccupied with that sort of monkey business. Seeing a man going, that is.

And in return, over time, the townsfolk got all the seeing and knowing, caring and showing, guiding and allowing, they could possibly want out of a spirited (or unspirited, for that matter) man. In fact, they weren't sure they wanted all that, at all. But the stranger was welcome, just the same.

All that happened was witnessed by none other than the unmapped trickle of a river that kept this unknown place alive, in an otherwise lifeless area. Which the wild children tapped with buckets every day, carrying them back to their mothers and fathers, so as to be helpful in some way that went mostly unrecognized. Which was fine by them, anyway. They would not have known what to do with good old recognition most of the world around them had become dependent upon. Like the river, they went humbly on their way.

Then this stranger among them all in the shadow of a ghost town, started to act kinda strange. He started talking to himself (which was not uncommon, in fact they knew him to do it every day) about something he called trust. He would be looking at them talking, but talking to himself. They might look at him, too, but with a blank look. For what other kinda look was he looking for? And wherefore?

These were questions they did not ask themselves.  But they were not oblivious to the man's peculiar way of affect. Sometimes he began crying spontaneously and hysterically so. Sometimes he shook out the ancestral hardly-containable anger that rose up in his bones. Times he was hopping about, jumping and hollering, full of sand and lust. The children, they caught him in their arms when he was drained. They really just happened to be there. They gave him a great and vacant stare, when he showered them with praise. They had other matters at hand. Survival, for instance. Survival somehow trumped any kind of unasked for validation. Somehow. That's not to say validation wasn't welcome.

Over time (many years in fact, but no one was counting), the stranger became a familiar sort of stranger to the inhabitants of this unincorporated, practically uninhabitable land, in the shadow of a ghost town. He finally quieted down, both verbally and in affect, and that little spirit he once had roped and given away, came back to fill him up. He never knew it to be gone, honestly. Not until he really listened with the children, who had accepted him silently into their tribe, to the whispers of the refrain echoing off the hills and highs and lows, to thrills and cathartic expression, always back home on the backs of the four winds.

the end