For Degas

The dance, slowly blending into shadow,
Graceful arms that halo the sun,
The moon shines in corners
In dreams of young dancers.
Reposed upon wooden stair,
Waiting for the entrance,
The auditorium to still.
The start of the grand waltz.

@AnnWJWhite, copyrite 2017

All About Writing Prompt: Lady in the Park

Prompt 342

Ranger Percy took her duties seriously. She followed a routine that began with first light and ended well into the dark. It was a routine that most new mothers are accustomed to having:

Coffee,
Change the babies,
Feed the babies,
Out the dog,
In the dog,
Feed the dog,
Prepare for the charge of the babysitter,
Out the door,
Coffee.

She loved her job, creating a safe haven for those who needed to touch nature. Everyday, she followed the park’s trails looking for the beauty she could point out to others. Somedays the park was quiet, and those quiet days were filled with the sights of fawns, ground hogs, bald eagles, osprey. Other days were filled with activity, crowds surging to the river with their churches, earnestly baptizing rogue elements and bringing them back under the banner of the church, praying for the devil to be gone, and sharing an open barbecue with any who wandered near. Or perhaps it was the weddings that were held under the white picnic shelter where everything was new and clean, that fit into her fancy. Somedays the park was filled with rain and wind or snow that caused the gates to stay locked. On those days she poured extra coffee into herself and watched the antics of the deer under the picnic shelters. Safety first, she would think at the deer. Then she would smile at the idea that the deer were so well-trained they avoided the drifts and acted like tourists.

Logs washed up on the riverbank with the changing tides. Ranger Percy would wander among them along the beach selecting interesting driftwood from the boring logs. She saved them for a local woman who wandered through the park, talking to herself, who would paint them with scenes of fish underwater or goblins lurking and then leave them like a sacrifice to the wild. Percy would load them into her vehicle and put them on display at the Visitor’s Center.

Lunch,
Coffee,
Walk,
Second equipment check,
Drive the parking lots,
Return to office,
Read mail,
Call babysitter.

The windows of the Visitor Center filled with steam as the class on batiking for teenagers flowed on. She wandered over to the gift counter and rubbed the steam from the window, only to move rapidly out of the center to the walkway that led up and away from the building. Her homeless woman, the one she left the driftwood out for, knelt on the ground mumbling to herself. She had knife in one hand which she raised over her head and then plunged into a bundle of flannel.

“This for your heart.
This for your hands.
This for your feet
To travel to different lands.”

“Come, my dear, for
where you bleed, is here
in the present and a gift
To succeed. Travel through the smoke…”

Then she lifted the knife and held it over her head saluting the sky. A bag lay on sidewalk, close but not touching her.

“Are you okay, lady? I haven’t seen you around much. Is something wrong?” Slowly Percy moved toward the lady. She kept her handgun in its holster, preferring instead to calm her and keep her from injuring herself or another.

The lady looked at her blankly for a moment, then shook her head. “No, I’m not okay. I will never be okay. I am not sure I will make it through the day, let alone the night. Nothing will be the same.”

“Would you like to have some tea with me? We could go to my office in the Visitor’s Center, it is a lot warmer there too.”

“Why should you care? The world left me long ago. No one will remember me.”

“Come with me. I’ll show you something. I’ll make us some tea.”

They rose together.

Pours cup.
Shares cup.
Smiles.

“Thank you, but this is only tea. Nothing can leave my place filled when I’m gone, and I will be gone.”

Breathes deeply.
Reaches inside.
Holds door.
Ushers.
Follows.

“This is the room I made for you. You left these behind you. I was so surprised to see how they all went together, a mural. Is the display all right with you?”

The bag was opened. The flannel set to one side, with the knife now out of view, and the before the ranger’s eyes was a small wooden figure carved so carefully that it seemed alive. With a sudden intake of air, the figure opened its eyes and reached out to her.

The lonely old lady was gone.

Schedule change…

 

 

Thursday Photo Prompt: Protective Dark

Thursday Photo Prompt – Passage #writephoto

“What is it?”

The walls were silent. The steps were worn with a banister of varniducshed pine. Lights shone to light the corners and to keep the shadows of the past at bay. Humanity had lived here for a very long time. The garden at the top of the stairs had see lovers come and go, hidden from their chaperones by windows and a willingness to not see certain things that would make life uncomfortable under ground. Life here was cool, but not chilly. Life was quiet without being unbearable. Life was vented so that even in times of trial, the air with the fresh smell of flowers or snow would flow down to those held beneath.

Two sisters walked along the path, moving awkward students before them. Fall was a good time to move briskly through books of knowledge. It kept the students and faculty from being distracted by the uncertainty of winter. The stores from the summer’s harvest rewarded the community at dawn and dusk. Evenings flowed into music, drama and literature. Mornings were resplendent with the study of science and the explosions that sometimes resounded. History, mathematics and languages filled the afternoon, puffing student’s chests out and egos up.

“What is it?” An eight year old child peeked down the hallway at the courtyard. Her brother pulled his jacket close and then buttoned her coat.

“Shh, don’t make any noise. We’ll be heard.”

The sound of metallic doors slamming and booted feet marching filled the hallway. The children were lucky, no one had entered the hallway yet or looked in their direction. The boy pulled the girl backward, away from the light, away from the sound, away from the marching feet. They couldn’t avoid the speakers that blared.

“All persons are required to move promptly to the courtyard to begin deportation screening. Any person avoiding screening will be subject to arrest and prosecution for violation of the Homeland Security Act.”

“Children, come away. Come away now.”

Holding hands tightly, the children followed Sister Cecelia into the dark. As the Sister moved them into obscurity, the sound of gunfire filled the courtyard.