Friday, February 24, 2006

Four Dreamscapes

I can't remember what started this dreamscape phase, however short it's been... Oh yes! *light bulb blinks on overhead* I was looking for a unicorn selections tutorial, and when I failed to find one I turned to Googling for fantasy image tutorials. The dreamscapes came disguised as one.

Perusing the site I figured I might as well take advantage of the pix and whatnot offered as possible elements for the visitor's use as he/she follows the tutorial. It turned out to be quite easy and simple--with a few exceptions. I also used a Paintshop Pro tube I've had for ages in one, along with--after splicing the sky from it--one pic by the painter, Jonathon Earl Bowser.

Dreamscapes, I've discovered, are quite fun, quite surreal and quite limitless. And quite bizarre. They can be anything.

I'm entertaining the idea of picking one from the ones I've made above and using it as a prompt for an entry. I'm kinda interested to see what (if anythang) evolves from the visual.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Chasing Rainbows

For you Winnie, who has been wanting to know what's at the end of a double rainbow.

I've been invited along on a trip of sorts, a trip of the mind. Or rather, a trip of the imagination. The Soulfood Café is currently offering a tour to a number of its patrons of what lies beyond its back doors, along what is called the Silk Road. Numerous stops will be made along the way, and numerous tasks will be required of the travelers who embark on this journey. Each stop and task of the 21-day tour is meant to help us find and use our imagination to nourish our creative talents, to give voice to our Muses and to inspire and edify our fellow travelers. I've packed and today I'm taking the first step. We all begin at the Grotto, or the Cave of the Enchantress. Before I can get there, though, there's a gate I must open and pass through, a gate allowing me entrance into this magic world.

Lil did I know it at the time, this entry in my journal was to be the beginning of my journey along the Soulfood Silk Road. The child in it, now grown up and having seen a double rainbow just now on one of her many excursions just outside her village, is off to find the answers to her questions of what lies at the end of this twin beauty.

Last night the wind blew hard enough outside my windows to be heard, and I knew the heavens would soon be opening up to release the cleansing tears we mortals call rain. For when the wind comes, moisture is sure to follow. It was a playful wind I heard, scuttling the first of the fallen leaves of the changing season along the path following the west wall of my cottage. It swirled through the village square, and sometimes, lying abed, if the wind brought it near I'd hear the slow wooden cccrrreeeakk of a business sign hung outside Paddy's Pub and a few other shops down the road aways. It rustled and pushed through the leaves of the trees, and in my mind's eye, snug warmly under my covers, I could see their limbs dancing and swaying to the wind's whistling tune.

If there's rain on the morrow, I thought before drifting off to sleep, as sure as Ireland is green, a rainbow is sure to grace our sky. And I determined then to watch for it.

Ever since I was a wee one, I've loved the tales told me by my grandma. Tales of Old Ireland, tales of the Fae Folk and Queen Mab, tales of the heroes of yore. They fed my fertile, young imagination and oft times I would go exploring, to see if I could stumble upon Queen Mab's court and espy what it was the Fae Folk were up to. Or perhaps to try and catch myself a leprechaun and have three wishes granted.

One day when I was seven, and it was nearing the end of the summer vacation my family and I had taken to visit her here in Ireland, it had rained most of the day. I was quite put out because I couldn't leave the cottage. I wanted to explore! I wanted to see if I could find and capture a wee man or woman and have them grant me my wishes. I knew exactly what I'd wish for too. I wanted to stay in Ireland with Grandma, not having to go back to the States come next week. I wanted to meet Queen Mab and dance with her people. I wanted to be great, like the hero Cuchulainn.

"Now child, don't mope so," Grandma told me as she sat knitting in her rocking chair. "Ye can go explorin' tomorrow. 'Tis sure to be a better day."

The rain had stopped by then, but twilight would soon be falling upon the tiny village and my parents and sister and brother would soon be returning from the next town over. The adults didn't like it if it was nearing dark and I wasn't within calling distance.

I was at the window, despondently watching the leftover raindrops slide in slow, meandering rivelets down the pane of glass. I was about to turn and answer her when an arc of color caught my eye. A rainbow! A beautiful, brilliant rainbow perfectly arching across the gray sky!

"Grandma! Look, a rainbow!" I said excitedly and launched toward the door, throwing it open and hastening out into the front yard. I pointed to Earth's natural prism hanging above the trees and drank in the deep red that lightened by degrees then bled into what soon became orange and all the other colors. I had never seen a rainbow this vibrant before and I wanted to take in every last detail so I could tell Da and the others about it later. Da loved rainbows.

Grandma was slower in coming, but come she did and placed her thin arm around my shoulders, a smile wreathing her beloved wrinkled face. I noticed then one end of the rainbow seemed to touch the hills in the distance, and I remembered the tales of a leprechaun's pot of gold being at the end. Having a child's curiosity I asked her. It was that day she shared the true magic of what lies at the end of a rainbow if one is lucky enough to get there before it fades. It was that day my world changed just a lil, my imagination expanded to include new possibilities and my own love for rainbows was born.

I never forgot that day or her words to me when I asked about double rainbows. "I think ye are just the explorer needed for that answer, my child. Next time ye see a double rainbow, ye can tell me your answer."

Now I'm grown and have come back to Ireland, having inherited Grandma's cottage.

Sure enough, the rain came. I awoke early this morning to the tap-tap-tapping of its drops on the windows and thatched roof. I smiled into my pillow and curled my toes into the mattress, my heart dancing at the prospect of seeing a rainbow. Grandma's words filtered up through the lingering mists of sleep and I was suddenly gripped with the whimsical thought of chasing a rainbow to see what was at the end of it. Maybe this time I would be quick enough to slip through the gate into the invisible world of the Fae and finally meet the queen I had so longed to know.

What if there's a double rainbow? You could finally have your answers and no more wondering... This thought followed closely on the heels of the first and my eyes opened. Sleep was firmly banished in the new compelling whimsy of the idea.

Why not? I thought as I stretched, pushed back the covers and rolled from bed. It's crazy, but then Grandma would say, 'It's magic. It does'na haveta make sense.'

True, and it would give me another excuse to take my camera, journals and things and go exploring. And maybe, if today's is a double rainbow I'll be able to find the answers to my long-ago questions for both Grandma and myself.

The chilled wooden floor instantly cooled the soles of my bare feet, sending lil shivers up through my legs, causing me to yelp in surprise. Hastily I reached for my Irish green zip up slippers and put them on. Hugging myself and chafing my arms a bit to ward off the chill that invaded my room early this morning, I walked down the short narrow hallway to the common room where the fireplace and kitchen are. I knelt and started a small fire to warm the place up then moved to the kitchen area to start a pot of tea.

"If the rain lets up later, Grandma, I'll go exploring," I told her. "Perhaps then I'll be able to answer those questions we both wanted to know about and find out what's at the end of a double rainbow."

It may seem crazy, I know, talking to a dead loved one, but it's comforting to me. Since she died four months ago I've been missing her something terrible; talking to her fills the void and brings her spirit close.

*******
The rain let up just after one this afternoon. I spent my morning in restless anticipation, cleaning my cottage and then packing any and all things I thought I would need for this exploration in my oversized Texas Flag overnighter. When I noticed the rain was letting up outside my bedroom window I slung the bag over my shoulder and started down the short hall toward the door. My image in the hall mirror caught my eye and I stopped briefly for a quick once over. My reflection grinned wryly back at me. Dark brown hair was pulled into a bun, but flyaway wisps were falling around an oval face on the rounding side with sea green eyes evenly spaced apart. Thin-rimmed tortoise shell glasses were sliding down a short wedge of a nose. I pushed them up then looked down at myself. A red sweatshirt with the old-fashioned Mickey Mouse sewn on the front and on the right shoulder, paired with black floral-printed stretch pants and Ugg hiking shoes. I had to laugh. Eccentric Colleen O'Leary's granddaughter was sure to be thought of as eccentric as she if people ever caught wind she was chasing after a rainbow.

Stepping outside the rain was falling intermittently now, and I knew I had to hurry. Not caring that the occasional drop splattered on me or my glasses, I followed the muddy path in front of my cottage until it forked left or continued straight on into the village. Turning left I walked at an increasing pace until I left the path altogether and began climbing a knoll. The heavens soon dried up and cleared, and though I crested the small hill and kept going and climbing others, I remained alert, searching the lightening sky for the rainbow.

Stopping to catch my breath for a moment, having climbed over a low stone wall and hoisted my bag over it, I twisted to my left to scan the horizon. And there it was! A double rainbow! The inner arc of banded colors was more vibrant and prominent than its outer sister, but I thought the first just as lovely as the second. I knew I was grinning foolishly and my heart jumped into joyous overdrive. A double rainbow!

"What a magnificent sight, Grandma!" I cried as I shouldered my bag hastily again and took off in that direction as fast as my bag, the terrain and stone walls allowed. "Here we go!"


Always keeping the curved bands of color in sight, I prayed they wouldn't fade before I could get there.

Funny how magic works, especially on Time and distance and other things. The rainbows always seemed to hang in the distance, no matter how far I traveled. Then all of the sudden they were before me! Shimmering arcs of brilliant color, one about 25 feet from the other and duller, but no less beautiful. Their ends barely brushed the tips of the grass blades, and they sssooaarred into the sky. I felt insignificant standing there in front them and shivered.

It's difficult to describe what it's like standing in front of a rainbow, but I shall try. Words, speech failed me as I stood there looking up with my mouth hanging open. The air seemed thin, charged with some invisible force and my nerve endings tingled as if sparkles, all the colors of the rainbow, traveled along them.

I don't how long I stood there in silent awe. A hundred years, or mere seconds, I couldn't tell you. Belatedly, and excitedly, I remembered my digital camera and began recording pictures. Talking to Grandma, I put the camera away back in my bag and, looking at the wonder of colored light and mist I stood up, taking my bag with me.

"Ready Grandma, to find out what's on the opposite side?" Taking a deep breath and closing my eyes, I stretched forth my right hand and walked the rainbow's curtain...

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A STREAMING BALLAD IN BLUE

Goblin spoke to Ternerhooks
“Beware! Be long, Be gone!
Something foul is seeking
The girl with the clear blue song!”

~

A narrow eyed man, all cloaked in black
Limps up from out the sea
Carrying a slick and leaking sack
And a spiraled iron key

He has come to make an offer
To a face without a name
And he carries his dripping coffer
With a quiet, patient shame

Down an alley dark and twisted
He waits in the puddling rain
The air is blue and misted
And his face engraved with pain

In pain he walks, in pain he waits
It engulfs, devours, transcends
He is lost within the dire straits
Of an anguish that never ends

A voice in the darkness hisses
Not an inch from where he stands
And the rain leaves frozen kisses
On his empty, open hands

“Walk on the sand when the waves retreat”
A rasping whisper taints the dark
There is nothing to see in the inky street
Not a shadow, not a spark

“Walk on the sand where the waves retreat
Find the one whose voice is true
Bring me the blood of the sweetest meat
Bring me her song of blue . . .”

Then the voice is sucked into stillness
Has he entered a pack to betray?
He feels a gist quaver of illness
The covenant bag has been taken away

A creeping shudder shakes him under
He puts his hands across his face
The wet air is split with thunder
And emptied of all grace

~

She sits on a log with her face to the sun
She is almost as still as a stone
Only fingers move, in hair undone
Plaiting feathers, flowers, bone

Her dress is a patchwork of rags and rhyme
Her hair is silk indigo lace
Perfectly balanced in both space and time
She dreams with a smile on her face

And she sings in a voice borrowed from birds
Clean and most treacherously true
She sings without thought, without rhyme without words
A song that’s unbroken and blue

She sings of blue mountains, of sea and of windOf live gems
From beneath the cracked earth
She sings without words of how sapphire sinned
And was redeemed by the white sky’s blue birth

She sings of blue whales that leap on the foam
Of bluebirds embroidering the trees
She sings of blue smoke soft wreathing a home
And the iceblue of vast Northern seas

She sings of long nights of empty blue sadness
The deep, darker blue that’s depressed
She sings of the roiled blueblack of madness
The joy of a pale Robin’s nest

She sings up blue flowers so Spring can begin
Blue silk in rich markets afar
She sings of blue veins underneath her own skin
She sings of a blue crystal star

~

And here he sees her singing
And he steels his heart and brain
Such a little thing this song of blue
To commute such scorching pain

Forged in the sea, the pact makes no sense
Meaning mystic and message arcane
Yet, it’s steps he must follow, trembling and tense
The checkered path to the end of his pain

The slick sack was delivered, the hissing voice spoke
He has followed it here to the sand
The rest of the world can all go up in smoke
He must fulfil the offensive demand

And here she sits singing, eyes closed in the sun
As if she were tasting each note
Somehow he must do what has to be done
And rip that blue song from her throat

In his cloak is a dagger of cuttle and bone
A dried rose with one razor thorn
A sliver of drab, rain-colored moonstone
And a cup made of silver and horn

~

She opens her eyes, he is startled by blue
So blue that they make the word shout
He is drowning in blue that is fresh and so new
Like the end of a long, barren drought

Her song has been stopped by a smile
As soft as the clouds in the sky
An enchantment that could beguile
The rivers and seas to run dry

“Why does the blue sea turn?” she asks
Shading her eyes from the sun
“Who gave the dolphins their long silver backs?
How soon will the waves be undone?”

He is stuttered to stillness by her clear crystal voice
By her words with no plan to their rhyme
Is she speaking without any kind of a choice?
Lost in some stray piece of time?

Is she speaking in madness, in some kind of trance?
As one whose wits have gone blind?
Or is this some kind of elaborate dance
Does she know what he has on his mind?

His heart skips a beat and pain clenches his back
Shoots through his arms to his head
Agony stabs at the man dressed in black
And with it a well traveled dread

It never will stop, but continue to grow
And he knows there is nowhere to run
He looks at the girl and he clenches his jaw
And prepares to do what must be done

He knows that somehow he must make her sing
It’s the only dark, desperate way
To finish this creeping, detestable thing
This pact to deceive and betray

“I’ve never . . . I’ve never heard such a voice”
His own voice is hollow as tin
“It makes the sunshine wake up and rejoice
To stop now would be such a sin . . .”

She smiles again and opens her mouth
Her voice begins soft, low and mellow
Singing of buttercups, sun in the south
She sings out bright streams of yellow

She sings out of daisies and butter
Of lemons and sunflower sun
Of canaries with wings all a flutter
And lamplight where stories are spun

He is lost in the spell of her voice
Sinking under a bright amber wave
He struggles to hold on to choice
With the desperate despair of a slave

He must stop her bright golden singing
With black terror his heart is rife
With saffron his ears are ringing
Fingers curl on the sharp cuttle knife

“Oh sing just like you sang before!
‘twas a balm so clear and clean”
She nods her head and begins once more . . .
Singing the healing salve of green

She sings of spring and the birth of green
Of a pure, fresh grassland breeze
Of jade and emerald and aquamarine
Of the lusty green song of the trees

He is caught by the vision of woodlands
His blood echos the sweet rising sap
Then he is back on these misunderstood sands
With the sharp sudden sting of a slap

She gazes up at him with eyes of green
And he is rocked with a deep dawning dread
In a whisper so clear it can almost be seen
He breathes out, “Sing something red”

So she sings about rubies and cherries
Of roses bloomed ripe from the bud
She sings of cardinals and berries
She sings of the rich red of blood

When the singing has stopped her hair is red
And she speaks through the roar of the sea
“What is it fills the waves with dread?
Who drowned the split crimson tree?

Why does the sky taste of ashes?
Why are the stars so arcane?
Is time lost when thunder crashes?
What must I give for your pain?”

A hush washes over the man dressed in black
And his head is bent down with shame
The thought of his gruesome, intended attack
Leaves him sickened and covered with blame

“Oh, She who breathes color” he whispers low
“I came here in stealth and deceit
But I can not go on with this ghastly show
Or make this base bargain complete”

The wind whips the strands of her new scarlet hair
She smiles and just shakes her head
“I know of your compact and of your despair
I know of the things that you dread . . .

I speak not of darkness, or bindings or guilt
But the harsh pain with which you’re possessed
For castles of sand must be always rebuilt
And I have a dissolving request

Who suckles the sun at midnight?
What is the language of rain?
Who gathers the threads of the twilight?
What must I give for your pain?

Put a price and a worth on your torment
If you can contain and supply it
I’ll count any fee fairly spent
I would contract to purchase and buy it”

He stares in utter disbelief
Thoughts of grim nights of unending pain
When he speaks his voice is thick with grief
“You must be completely insane.”

Her face is untouched by surprise
In her eyes the smile still swam
A smile that is patient and wise
And she answers, “you know that I am

I sit by the sea singing moonshine rhyme
In the sun and the dark and the rain
Transposing color to concrete design
There is nothing in that, that is sane

Who carved the ocean’s wildest wave?
What is the smell of a prayer?”
Here eyes are brown and still and grave
She meets his and holds him there

“Now I ask, are there weeds in a King’s wine?
Words that shout and echo ‘insane’
You can see I’ve stepped over that fine line
What must I give for your pain?”

He closes his eyes and rocks on his heals
As a sweet, aching hope shoots through
Of all the unearthly preposterous deals
Is this crazy enough to be true?

He looks in her eyes, so deep he is lost
It seems that he hangs there for weeks
Then suddenly something screams: ‘Damn the cost!’
Before his mind changes, he speaks

“You must give me the skill to compose
Though my mind is now wounded and scarred
Give back the color to yesterdays rose
Give me the words of a Bard.”

She blinks once, her eyes thick with thought
Then she answers, “‘twill be as you choose
Since this is the thing you have sought
I will give you the gift of the Muse

I will give you the blessing of words
I will hand you the lore weavers thread
I will give you the music of birds
And the deep resurrection of red

In return you will give me your pain
Secured in this gold and bone locket
You will give me the color of rain
And the moon that you keep in your pocket”

For a moment he’s startled by rage
As if he were holding the moon!
Like an eagle trapped in a cage
Then he is caught by the edge of a tune

She is singing again and swaying
A piercing song, clear, clean and true
She somehow seems to be praying . . .
A crystalline song with no color or hue

His hand has reached for his knife
A sharp edge of cuttle and bone
But this moment’s a prism of a life
As his hand meets not cuttle, but stone

Pulled from his cloak, it lays on his palm
A hard little rain-colored round
She steps up to him with a smile of calm
And takes it, without any sound

She holds out the locket, on a long golden chain
Forged of old gold and deep carved bone
As it falls in his hand he is crippled with pain
And doubles over his hand with a groan

His body is wracked with every pain
He has ever felt before
From the base of his foot to the top of his brain
Each anguish doubled times four

He is falling, the locket snaps shut
And the pain is erased in a breath
He stands silently clutching his gut
His face just a shade short of death

She takes the chain from his shaking hand
And loops it over her head
Then she bends to the shining wet sand . . .
For a dry, crumbling rose that looks dead

A memory had gone tumbling
From his clock to lay crushed on the sand
Now it lies abandoned and crumbling
Black with age, in her small pale hand

She slashes her palm cross the one razor thorn
Her blood on the crushed rose is shed
As if touched with fire, the rose is reborn
Blushing, blooming in lustrous red

With a smile, she gives him the rose
“There is yesterday’s color my friend
Though it’s different than you suppose
Our contract is now at an end”

Then she wipes her palm on his cloak
And a bright scarlet stains starts to spread
And like quick flame and billowing smoke
It is kissed with a bright spreading red

Crimson licks up his inky dark cape
Like a hot, hungry ruby red fire
Before he can move or escape
He is clothed all in Scarlet attire

She dabs a drop of blood between his eyes
Where it shines like a ruby shard
“Ah!” she says, “here, I surmise
Is the famous Scarlet Bard!”

Then she walks away, and that is the end
Calling back once over her shoulder
“Here is something to remember my friend
Before you get too much older . . .

There is an alternative flow to each river . . .
Remember, you’ve always a choice!
Now I’ve got a locket to deliver
To a man with a hissing, dark, voice . . .

Oh, why are the planets not strung on wire?
Came her voice as she vanished from sight
Have the cows formed a rainbow cloud choir?
Who paints the doorstep of night . . . . ?”

~

“And that is the tale!” sings the Scarlet Bard
“Truth wrapped in ribbons of rhyme”
All through the crowd is a murmuring regard
For a tale both warm and sublime

One small thoughtful face by the fires
Rests her chin on the top of her knee
Tugs on the red cloak, and inquires
“What happened to the spiraled iron key?”

The Bard gazes into the fires
Where scarlet ceaselessly blooms
He considers what mythos requires
And the things that a story presumes

“I’d forgotten that iron spiraled key!
What do you know about that?
Well, he left it there by the sea
On the rock where the blue girl once sat

The waves took it away, I suppose
In their vast, mysterious space
Where it has gone no body knows
It vanished with nary a trace . . .”

“The key to his heart!” a breathy voice said
But the Bard smiles, with cynical eyes
“Nope, The key to the old decrepit shed
Where he kept his fishing supplies.”

A murmur of protest sweeps round the fire
But the Bard laughs and claps his hands
“Now I’ll tell you a tale to inspire
Filled with secrets of far foreign lands!”

Happy expectancy hums round the fire
His listeners quickly agree
As he bend down to re-tune his lyre
He feels a small hand on his knee

The child looks in his eyes and smiles
And he smells the sea and the sand
Thrown back through years and miles
He feels something slipped in his hand

She presses his hand to his heart like a prayer
“One day she’ll come back, you’ll see”
When he blinks there is nobody there
In his hand is a spiraled iron key

©Edwina Peterson Cross

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Sky Onions

The Legend of the Pleiades

Once Upon a Time in a land that was far, far away . . . just how faraway was this land? Well, it was further away than the corner, but not as faraway as forever. It was as distant as tomorrow, but not quite as remote as later. In this land, which lay beyond the tall blue mountains, but not behind the clouds, there lived seven sisters.

These sisters were named, Ona, Oneida, Oni, Ondrea, Onella, Onora, and Onyekachukwu. Ona was the oldest, the most practical and pragmatic. She was the best at problem solving and figuring things out. Onyekachukwu was the youngest. She was flighty and frivolous, given to giggling and telling off-color jokes that made everyone laugh. Oneida had the voice of a lark, Oni painted marvelous pictures, Onella had read all the books in the library, Onora knew everything there was to know about numbers Ondrea fell right smack dab in the middle. She was the best at . . . well come to think of it, no one really knew what Ondrea
might be good at. People often forgot that Ondrea was there at all. If Ondrea had suddenly gone missing and they had counted themselves and only found six, they would have spent several puzzled moments feeling very blank because the missing name just would not appear in their heads. What did she look like after all? What color did she wear? It was hard to remember.

The answer was red. Each one of the sisters wore a different color. Their parents had thought this up as a good way to tell them apart. It would have been too, if they hadn’t kept forgetting which child they had assigned to which color. I will tell you, though you probably won’t remember either. Ona wore green, Oneida wore turquoise, Oni was always seen in yellow, Onella in pink, Onora in purple and laughing, giddy Onyekachukwu always wore orange.

Did you notice that Ondrea was missing? No one else ever did either.

Now, the most notable thing about these seven sisters, and, indeed, the point of this story, was that these seven sisters loved nothing in the world so much as onions. This enjoyment of onions was not just a preference, it was a passion; it went far beyond just a fondness or fancy and was closer to a madness or mania; an obsession that many people felt was slightly unbalanced. These seven sisters LOVED onions.

They loved green onions, red onions, purple onions, yellow onions and white onions. They loved Vidalias, Bermudas, Carzalias, Nu-Mex, Imperial, Maui, Hawaiian Hula and especially Walla Walla Sweets. These sisters loved onion soup, onion salad, onion quiche, onion sandwiches, onion rings, caramelized onions, grilled onions, barbecued onions, raw onions and everything in between. It is said that they even made onion margarita’s, but to ask you to believe that would be stretching your incredulity a bit farther than incredulity ought to stretch. It is quite true, however, that they were all fond of Gibsons.

They loved to listen to the Beatles White Album just to hear “Glass Onion” and they realized that onions had prescient powers.

"Onion skins very thin,
Mild winter coming in.
Onion skins very tough,
Coming winter very rough."

These sisters knew full well that the ancient Egyptians actually worshiped the onion, that the shape of the onion symbolized eternity to the Egyptians who buried onions along with their Pharaohs. The Egyptians saw eternal life in the anatomy of the onion because of its circle-within-a-circle structure. Paintings of onions appear on the inner walls of the pyramids and in the tombs of both the Old Kingdom and the New Kingdom. The onion is mentioned as a funeral offering and onions are depicted on the banquet tables of the great feasts. Onions were always shown upon the altars of the Egyptian gods. I’m not going to go as far as saying that these seven sisters actually worshiped onions themselves, but there were suspicious onion shaped Objects d'Art all around their house.

The greatest dream of all of these sisters was to someday become the Payson Onion Queen and rein over the Golden Onion Days. None of them ever realized this dream, however, because Far, Far Away was just too far away from Payson. Still, in due time, as the years went by, each of these seven sisters fell in love and was married. They each walked down the aisle to the sounds of Booker T and the MG’s singing “Green Onions” carrying a bouquet of those same long steamed Green Onions. One by one, they left their parents home to set up house keeping, taking with them their onion statues, framed portraits of famous onions and samplers that they had cross stitched with such messages as:

"I will not move my army without onions!"
~ Ulysses S. Grant ~

"Life is like an onion.
You peel it off one layer at a time;
And sometimes you weep."
~ Carl Sandburg ~

"Mine eyes smell onions: I shall weep anon."
~ William Shakespeare ~

"If you hear an onion ring, answer it."
~ Anonymous ~

They also took all their favorite recipes. There was one thing that could always be said with great truth and gusto: the Onion sisters were good cooks. Each husband counted himself lucky and smiled upon by good fortune. At the beginning.

As the years went on, however, it became evident that the sisters passion for onions was not waning or weakening, but only growing stronger. All of their husbands began, in subtle ways, to become restless and discontented. They initially claimed that it had to do with being sick and tired of every meal they were served being full to brimming with onions.

They also let it be known, through insidiously dropped hints, that their unhappiness had to do with . . . well, we might as well come right out and say it: olfactory offenses. They slyly spread the rumor far and wide that they were all suffering and sad because of smells.

The sisters, of course, knew that this was piffle and poppycock; trash and twaddle; bilge, blather and balderdash. Though it was a closely guarded secret, each of these seven sisters was the possessor of the deep, hidden mystery of the Knife’s Templar. This clandestine key is known to few on earth now, but these seven sisters were all initiates of this secret sect and recipients of it’s shrouded alchemical knowledge.

You all know the story. It is told that once Woman had the unmitigated gall to assume she could handle Knowledge. Accordingly, she took a whomping big bite right out of the Onion of Knowledge. Of course she was eternally punished for her presumptuousness. She was immediately expelled from the Garden of Onion. A Great Voice was heard to speak, saying: “With weeping will she chop now. In sorrow and flowing tears, will woman bring forth the onion.”

Everyone knows this story, but not everyone knows the secret story which tells how the alchemy of tears can be altered, the vale of weeping averted, the tale that tells how an onion can be chopped without it’s sulfuric compounds being released into the air. This is hidden knowledge. This is the mystery.

This mystery, along with a specific ritual, was gifted to mankind soon after the dawn of time by Raptor Spirit, the Great Papa Falcon. It had been handed down in secret for generations upon generations. I will tell you the mystery and the secret ritual, though it’s possible I may have to kill you afterward.

The first part of the mystery is held in three words. These secret words are accomplished as the first feat. In beginning, the initiate holds The Orb toward the moon and chants these words: “Chill. The. Onion.” The initiate then does exactly this, under cover of night.

After secretly accomplishing the first feat, the second feat is begun. The initiate performing the ritual holds a knife up sidewards and lifting it carefully against their nose in salute, chants the second part of the mystery. “Never. Cut. The. Root. End!”

Firmly grasping the onion, the initiate slices slice off the tip opposite from the root end. They then slice the side of the next layer and peel back to form a handle over the root stub.

By using this ritual and remembering the mystery, the sulfuric compounds are held in check, though Knowledge be attained, the initiate will not be overcome with tears. Thank you, Oh Ancient Falcon, whose spirit still flies the skies of the Over World.

And, as for the contemptible innuendo that these husbands were discomforted, confound or chagrined because of onion breath, well that is simply stuff and nonsense. All of these sisters had grown up knowing the secret of dispelling onion breath. It wasn’t something that they broadcast far and wide, but certainly they didn’t eat all that parsley just to turn their teeth green.

No, the sad truth, in the end, was that all seven husbands were jealous. None of them would ever have admitted that they were stabbed to the heart by envy when they saw the way their wives looked upon an onion, but that, in the end, was the truth.

What happened was not meant to happen. The final outcome was not what they had planned. None of them really wanted to lose their wives, they merely wanted what husbands have wanted from time immortal: They wanted exactly what they wanted, exactly the way they wanted it, exactly when they wanted it. And what they wanted, in this case, was for their wives to give up onions. That was what was behind it all. All seven husbands really believed that their wives would come home repentant, remorseful, regretful and without onion. They expected their wives to be so penitent that none of them would ever think about another onion, touch another onion, or smile that special smile at another onion . . .

They planned it together and all struck at once. The sisters had been at their parents home celebrating their mother’s birthday. (Onions really add a whole new dimension to the concept of a Layer Cake.) At the end of the evening, when each sister arrived at her own front door, she found that front door locked. All of the locks had been changed. Each of them found a note bearing slightly differing wordings of “I’ve had it with you and your onions. Don’t come back.”

The youngest husband, married to Onyekachukwu, the youngest sister, had written “Get out and stay there!” Onyekachukwu, in her orange party dress, squinted at the note. “What a dork,” she muttered, “I already AM out.”

I repeat that the outcome that came out in the end was not at all what the husbands had planned. Despite some of them having been married for many years, these men didn’t know these women at all. Unfortunately, this is a rather common state of affairs, regardless of onions.

It didn’t take long for all seven sisters to rendevous at their parents house once again. Their father had to be forcibly disarmed and they had to feed him quite a lot of homebrew before he feel asleep still muttering dire threats that were quite sincere. Their mother was very calm as she announced quietly, “they’ll be sorry.”

“They will indeed,” sighed Ona, “as soon as they figure out that we’ve taken them at their word and we are not coming back.”
“Well, that too,” said their mother, “but I was speaking specifically about the spiders eternally crawling on their skin, the slimy creatures they will keep finding in their under shorts . . .”
“Mother!” cried Oneida, “no spells! Remember just a little while ago, you promised not to cast any more spells?”
Their mother smiled happily at a spider on the ceiling. “They can buy buckets full of Viagra if they want, it won’t do any good. It will never do any good . . .”
Ona patted her mothers hand. “That’s fine mom. Have at it.” She addressed her sisters, “Well? Where are we going?”
“Away,” said Oni vaguely.
“Far away,” said Onella definitely.
“ . . . a galaxy far, far away,” said Ondrea.
“Yes!” laughed Onyekachukwu. “I get Han Solo.”
“I’m serious,” said Ondrea, softly.
It was suddenly completely silent around the table which held the crumbling remains of an Onion Layer Cake.

The seven men were, indeed, soon very sorry. Though they never told anyone, even each other, about the spiders, slimy things and buckets of useless Viagra, they did openly repent the way they had treated their wives. In their loneliness, they desperately sought after their wives and begged them, again and again, to come home, but it was all in vain.

Ona’s old VW bus had last been seen taking a sharp right at Orion the Hunter. Before too much longer there was a new cluster of stars blazing in the night sky. From out of that cluster, seven stars burned especially brightly; radiant, round and golden, glittering like glistening onions in the dark night sky.

There is a legend that says you should always look straight at those seven spectacular stars they call the Pleiades. You must look at them openly, frankly and honestly. The legend says that if you look directly at them without blinking, you will see colors: Ona in green, Oneida in turquoise, Oni in yellow, Onella in pink, Onora in purple and laughing, giddy Onyekachukwu eternally in orange.

Did you notice anyone missing? Neither did anyone else.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This story is for Dilyn
May he always
Be faced
With Only
Fictional
Onions



©Edwina Peterson Cross

Friday, June 17, 2005

Supersized! Why Were Things So BIG!?

This is also another journal entry of mine written days ago. It's one of my favorites, and maybe y'all can think on the answer(s) and come up with a few. I'd really like to know what your minds come up with.


The Mastadon


An Archelon, the world's largest(?) sea turtle


Megalodon


I have one question: Why were things so BIG in prehistoric times?

Even the bison back then were HUGE! I tried finding a picture of one like the Archelon, but all I came up with were pictures of cave art and today's smaller version. From the hoof to the shoulder bone, the distance measured seven feet! (I remember this from the exhibit at Idaho's Museum of Natural History on ISU's campus when I went with a class once.) So, knowing this, just imagine the horn span!

The Archelon picture is of the sea turtle from Thanksgiving Point. As you can see, it's suspended from zee ceiling of the Museum of Ancient Life. It's near the doorway to the sealife exhibit, and let me tell you, entering that room sitting in a wheelchair, with that thing leaning forward as if it was gonna swoop down on ya...yyyeeaahh, you wanna dive out of the way!

And, apparently the Megalodon, by the way which gave me the creeps and major gooseflesh just looking at the painted plaster replica of zee head, is said to have been a bigger version of the Great White. Scientists say it was anywhere from 15 to 20-feet-long. But, in 1918, off the coast of New Zealand it was reported that several fisherman saw a shark 30-feet long! That would be good enough to keep me landlocked for a good long while, if I knew that was in the same water with me!

Almost everything back then was supersized, pardon the McDonald's expression. I find it interesting and would love to know why. And why, over many, many, many years of evolution the species that survived became smaller. Was it so man could have easier dominion over the plant and animal kingdoms? Really, those answers would be sweet to know.


The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.
~Frank Herbert~