Tuesday, August 24, 2004


The old one bent over the fire feeding the pulses, one at a time into the cooking pot. End of summer, and the green beans that bolted  and grew towards the sun in the hopes that the great beanstalk in the sky would find them a ladder to the heavens, were unceremoniously shucked, their corns tossed into the stew pot for the evening meal. This evening, the next, it didn't matter. It all wound up in the same place eventually, thought the old woman. Her thin gray hair hung down in thin ropes, like bedraggled feathers. Soon she too would go the way of all things. The fire popped and hissed. She watched the film rise from a crack in the wet wood. Stranded bugs did a frenzied dance on the rotted log she'd used for starter wood. She marveled at their amethyst color, so like the bauble of the Chieftain, who was always yammering on about his own self importance. The hot bugs curled into tight balls, and rolled off right into the coals like berserker warriors leaping into the fray. She was still puzzling over last winter's tale about a dragon, his mother, and the dragonslayer. Something about bears. No, that wasn't it, the warrior was more like a bear or a wolf. The last moon of summer rose over the new mown wheat. the ache in her bones spoke of another story trapped in the silence of the earth. Soon the teller of tales would return to the village and pick up his tail where he left off. And, the beans, their remains would turn up in the pot until they too dissolved into yesterday's stew harboring the last of the summer sun in their skin. She hoped that this winter he would finish the tail so she could put the story to rest. But she worried that the dragons mother might be waiting for her during the longest nights.