By: Brian Michael Barbeito
It was in the day and about a couple of hours before dusk when I went out walking. Going down the park path, there was, on the right, the major road and its hustle. Standing there for a moment, I could see parts of cars travelling the asphalt arteries. The roads, I thought then, were like an ocean in two ways. Firstly, the sounds the cars and trucks made were like the waves if you didn’t think about it too much. Secondly, like on the shoreline, these car and truck waves kept coming forever. One set of waves God had made, and the other, – the ones with engines, tires, and multi-colored frames- were made by man.
Going along down the path in the other direction, I noticed that thirty years worth of growth had made the trees to rise about three and four stories towards the skies. Sometimes they arched over, this way or that, and of course not all were of a uniform height. Yet, each one seemed perfect and to fulfill its own destiny in managing to grow the way that it was meant to. There was a ravine to the immediate left, and a hill to the right. The ravine took in storm water from the surrounding streets above, and all the grates on the streets brought the rain to that place. When I was a kid, I used to watch from my bedroom window, and sometimes, when there was a big storm, the ravine morphed into a dangerously flowing river. The water line eventually would spill over the path, uprooting small trees and taking with it anything else that it could. At those times the water darkened with muddied dirt and carried not light but only varying degrees and designations of brown and black and grey. The sky would be shadowed also, and the whole affair then seemed like a moving picture show where the water became a character that appeared quickly and unscripted, but soon became the motivating force a hidden auteur.
As I continued to walk, I saw that the large hills and smaller summits, years ago naked save for their grasses, had been filled up with trees and shrubs. This made for a surrounding area that provided shade for small animals and it was interesting to look from a distance at the minute branches and inlets, and about reservoirs of darkened air that were inside the tree cover. The first bridge was to the left, a very small one that only took on one person at a time. The second one would come a few minutes later, down from trails that were wonderfully labyrinthine, intricate, and pulsating with squirrels, chipmunks, and birds. At that large bridge I looked upon what was the slow moving ravine flow. On one side the water was silent, while on the other it gaily moved around a series of medium sized rocks. These rocks, furnished with bits of moss, scrapes, and scars,– brought the water to sounds while bouncing it about. Bits of white and clear flecks jettisoned into the surrounding air and travelled for quick instants before disappearing forever.
Soon I was walking up and around the old fields that were to the far and elevated right, and marked the end of that part of the ravine. It had not rained for a long time. All day the air had been humid, sticky, and dull. But then, as I sat down to observe the tree line and the bubble hill that held another path leading out to the streets beyond, I thought I had the feeling that the rain would come again soon. The fifteen or twenty minutes I sat there coincided with the onset of dusk. When the dusk came to that place, it came fairly and deliberately enough at first. Once a footing was gained, it seemed to kick into high gear and cast itself upon the entire environment with great competence.
I wondered as I looked upon the trees and the still dark blue air, what it would be like to be a witness there in the middle night when the rain was in full swing. I thought of the dark having had blackened out all the shapes and of the sounds of the water from the ravine trying to pull down the trees as it raced along. Surely the small animals would take to higher ground for safety at those times. Rough-hewn clouds, unseen and loosened from their dwelling places, would dance around above, blocking out mother moon, while the water fell everywhere and in all ways, ubiquitous and fully blossomed, in and among and through the great distance of dark that the entire ravine had become.
[Brian Michael Barbeito is a novelist, short story writer, and poet. A resident of Ontario Canada, he is a Pushcart Nominee for the story The Motel by the Stereo Sea (Mungbeing Magazine, 2012), and for the story The One Single Note, (Lunatics Folly Magazine, 2011). Some venues where his work appear include NFTU Notes from the Underground, Whisperings Magazine from Mountain Tales Press, and Kurungabaa: A Journal of Literature, History, and Ideas from the Sea. His most recent work, Chalk Lines, a book of short fiction and poems, is published by Fowlpox Press in 2013. He has writing forthcoming at Birkensnake Magazine and is at work on the novel Pockets Full of Memory.