The End of Phoctober

October 31, 2007

Thanks again to Maht at Moon Topples for graciously hosting Phoctober. Because of this international event I’ve seen storefronts in South Africa, gardens in England, murals in South Korea and bars in Chicago. I’ve also been exposed to a wide variety of flora and fauna: whales, flocks of birds, roses, dogs, action figures and many leaves of different colors. Simply, my world had been expanded and I’m thankful. So in the spirit of sharing I’m going to exhibit one of the most fascinating of earth’s creatures: the human being. Here are a few that populate my off-line existence.

Happy Halloween!

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Spooked

October 29, 2007

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It starts with the movement of my younger brother in the bunk below. My nine-year-old imagination, wide-awake begins to think up reasons why Kevin keeps shifting around creaking the bedsprings and letting out soft moans. It can’t be just his dreams or night terrors, no, there must be an energy, a wraith unseen to my eyes that is torturing his very being. I scan quickly around the dark room, body protected from attack by thick blanket, pillow pressed close to face. A shadow moves across the wall–I watch its progress for clues as it disappears in the closet. Kevin slides to the edge of his bed and his arm flops out into the air above the ground. A pale limb, his fingers caught in a streetlight from the window–I count the fingers–one, two, three, four–where’s the thumb?! He moves again and the arm retreats back out of sight.

I hear mumbling from underneath my mattress, Kevin is saying “No” or “Go”. I lie still and listen. His breathing stops…no wait there it is again…a gasp (or was that me?) and then nothing. I’m all alone, he has surely perished, the spirit too strong and he just a little boy. Guilt creeps in beside my fear, I’m scared and ashamed for doing nothing to protect my little brother. I could have woken him up or crawled beside him–we could have been a team against the darkness. Now its just me to face the night, my senses tired from sensing, my heart broken from failure. I give up to whatever will come and take me, my fight disabled, my breathing choked underneath layers of bedding.

I’m a boy with an imagination that has taken over.

More writings can be found here and more photos here.

P.S. Anyone want to be a buddy for NaNoWriMo?  I’m here.

Shall we walk on?

October 29, 2007

These are a couple more contributions to Phoctober which is sadly coming to a close. Walk along these paths, revel in the autumn colors and see what awaits at the trail’s end!

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Leaves of a Color

October 27, 2007

The mountains of Virginia are awash in color. I left my seaside home last weekend to partake of the beauty and these are a sampling of some of the leaves I passed along the way. Phoctober

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Phone Interview with Italy

October 26, 2007

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A photo from a recent romp in the mountains and to continue the Phoctober celebration

When we got back from the trip last Sunday (and lasted a marathon five hour birthing class) I finally got around to email and discovered one from someone at FSU who would like to arrange a phone interview for me and a woman in Italy. A few months back I applied for an internship to be a library supervisor in Florida State’s study center in Florence Italy. It’s a one year stint that includes a stipend, place to stay and of course the time to live and breath in Florence. And even though a little one is on the way and there is a mortgage to consider, I decided (along with G) to submit all of the necessary paperwork and let fate do the rest.

Today is the day for the interview. Last night I have trouble falling asleep for two reasons: One–if Florence works out my life changes drastically–Us 2 (and a growing belly) move away and seek our fortune on a distant shore. Two–I keep replaying over and over in my head the winning touchdown that sunk the hearts of the Hokie nation. (I am a Virginia Tech alum) When sleep finally rescues me from my mind it is well past 1a.m.

9:30a.m. I am supposed to receive a phone call from Florence. Waking at 7:30 I help G get ready for work, eat a little food and begin to wait. I sit with eyes closed and legs crossed. I try out downward-dog and child’s pose. I look over the questions I am going to ask and prepare in my head responses to possible inquiries. The phone rings and I move quickly to the receiver the moments collapsing and expanding. I walk past the mirror, glance at myself and smile.

“Hello?”

And so we begin. She asks me to tell a bit about myself. I’m thinking–this is so broad, where do I begin–“my first memory is of an orange carpet and my mom humming softly”–no she can’t be interested in that–how about libraries. I tell her about my work in the public library, my promotions and successes. I don’t tell her about my wife or the burgeoning infant, my love of long walks or the turning leaves falling in the backyard. We stick to the Topic at Hand which I imagine is all we are meant to discuss. We lasted about half an hour with me asking many more questions than she. I guess that is all the time she needs to make up her mind. I wonder if I said the words that click with her picture of the ideal candidate. Without looking in her eyes, I can’t tell if “I” came across or not.

She will reveal her secret in December but I won’t be so stingy in sharing when I know the truth of her declaration.

Hospital Dance

October 26, 2007

He went to the hospital one day to see if there was a cure for an ailment he did not now how to describe. Sometimes in the night he would lie awake, a feeling of doom thick in his throat–what has been left undone–what do I need to do. He would walk into a room filled with people and his upper back would tense and release in perfect rhythm to his breath. Eating dinner his arm would hesitate in mid-movement, a bite of food dangling in the air. He would catch his reflection in the mirror and jump–then stop, meet his own eyes and lose the time.

He knew something was wrong and went to the doctor for a solution. The receptionist asked him his reason for coming in and he replied, “I think I’m sick”. He was handed a clipboard and instructed to answer all of the questions to the best of his ability. Most of the lines were easy to fill out, his name and phone number, date of birth and address. Some puzzled him–histories of genetic disease–known allergens–what did these have to do with his problem? His name was called and he was led into a small room, shut in for privacy, posters of the ear canal displayed on the wall, alien-like diseases of the skin identified. He sits on the crinkly paper of the exam table/bed wondering what prior mucuses and infections had inhabited the very spots he touched. Were they screaming or was the life slowly draining away?

The doctor comes in, rather the nurse practitioner from the name tag–what is the difference–closes the door and puts out a hand.

“I’m Dr. Tyler, what seems to be troubling you today?”

“I feel like there is something wrong with me but I don’t know what.”

“Are you in any pain?”

He details the clenching of his back, the doom in his throat, the loss of time when he looks into his own eyes. The doctor explains that she is going to look into his eyes and throat, listen to his heart and breathing. He responds to the doctor’s instructions, breathing, opening the mouth, moving the eyes. When the doctor listens to the heart she pauses and steps back, “Is there a history of heart disease in your family?”

“I don’t know, my father I never met and my mother has never said anything to me about it. Why?”

“Your heartbeat is quite irregular, a pattern of beats I have not heard before in all my years of practice.”

“What does it sound like?”

“Well most heartbeats follow the same pattern a kind of two-beat cadence that signals the pumping of the heart and opening and closing of the ventricles between the chambers. This may sound strange but your heartbeat comes in a pattern of three–a thump-da-thump, thump-da-thump, thump-da-thump…kind of like a waltz.”

“A waltz?”

“Yes.”

“That’s strange, I love a good waltz, in fact I feel most alive when dancing the waltz. I haven’t danced it in so long, would you mind?”

“This is very improper but yes I would like that very much.”

They opened the door and danced down the hallway, into other rooms and the office of the hospital. They danced to the cadence of his heart and he could feel his symptoms diminish considerably.

Dance to other hospital tales…

Signs of Woodstock

October 23, 2007

Woodstock NY. In American culture this small mountain town lays claim to the big party of the 1960’s.  Free love, mind-expanding smokables and some of the top musicians of the day.  In a time when protests, war and counterculture were making the headlines this three day event served as the signpost for the revolution.  Flash-forward thirty-nine years and you find that some are still living the dream albeit with a capitalistic flavor. 
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For more Phoctober fun.