Directly in front rises the chestnut tree
A slight breeze waves a hanging, flower-printed cloth, maybe a scarf but used last night as a tablecloth. The tree in full view, symmetrically situated when looking over a repeatedly-painted brown railing, arrives at half its height to the terrace. Clouds white, cotton-fluffy, move slowly across the sky, wipe away intermittently shadows of the tree, where also hangs a metal hoop from a high branch. Its two-dimensional shadow, in perfectly drawn perspective, oscillates in the breeze as the lightly caressing wind breathes.
A black and white cat slithers out of the bushes unaware. Hearing an unexpected sound skittishly looking up, suspicious, slightly aroused, then: feline indifference.
Rays of the sun turn the corner: reveal vertical angled shadows extending from the railing. The sunlit tiles fall into shade, then again light, announced by harder color.
The tree presents illness. Late august most of its leaves already prematurely a withered brown. Already scrutinized for its demise questions arrived as to the possibility of consulting tree doctors.
A poem reports longing and loneliness: the expectant waiting of a wife. China. Words scanned twelve-hundred years later by another restless heart. For eternity she eagerly anticipates the day in which she will make her way to a sandy beach in aching anticipated meeting-
-Gblunk, half-seen trace of falling shape, looking up to now bouncing branch: a chestnut in its green prickly housing rests on earth, its falling plight fleetingly glanced, scored in partially conscious memory. Its descent confirms perhaps a moment of consonant sadness with river–merchant’s wife? Like sparrows lighting in a window sill, events sequenced: thought computes meaning from temporal occurrences.
Background noises. Street sounds: motorbike buzz rises and falls, car-rubber rolling on asphalt, truck gears gurgle and exhaust rumble-roars. Sounds, a constant patchy humming, unseen sources: voices softly converse- neighbors close, stereo music seeps gently, bird chatter sprinkles, a work-saw shrieks, motor-running blade-shrilling through wood, shutters open, door closes. Focused and distinguished, separated one after another through greenery of fences: the city’s walls maintain anonymity between persons unknown, barriers.
Inexorably inching, light turns the corner’s angle: shadow-edge is lighted-tile-edge, and harder colors on terrace floor, sundialing across as the chestnut tree calls in its silence and termination. Its illness, like human illness, appears: time in an envelope of the slippery present conceals causes and resultant cellular movements. Like this sundialed etching, illness writes unperceived on the landscape of bodies and tree bodies alike. Only movement feeds eyes hungry for time, yet much of time’s palette works unseen: frozen yet believed, its shifting patterns like rust advancing. And pain too bespeaks of time.
Ancient scribes long passed to dust also etched, like time, on fine parchment the images that spoke their heart's resonances: laments of soldiers and captains, war campaigns in spring, now snowy winter, and longing for rest and return. Their timbered voices of a day vibrate, vaulting from their one and only time-ness to the one and only time-ness of another whose heart stretches across this day. Could a song reach backward across time as well, or does it move only in the air and light of now, nor projecting into future, trapped in moments so ungraspable yet too quickly moving? Yet words, alas, move forward like the bird shoots across sky: its traced arc perceived until eye, following, catches bird. In earth’s time then, may not all words- brief traces also followed then grasped- fade across brief human time?
Sun uncovered from clouds by winds seeking their limit, diminshing in trees, grasses and open spaces over earth. Light sundailing across: shadow-edge is lighted-tile-edge, and harder colors on terrace floor, sundialing across the terrace in late august summer as the chestnut tree moans silently its completion-
-Gblunk, falls a chestnut….