Communication is an important tool in most families. Though rarely perfected, peaceful coexistence depends upon one’s willingness to express and understand feelings, needs, or instructions. Imperfectly applied, communication might lead to undesired results such as the kitchen fire of July 12, 2009 which after some hastily issued orders concerning the bacon sizzling on the stove verbally thrown to one eldest Murphey as he sat distracted reading Foxtrot in the Sunday paper amid a cacophony of giggling, whirling ceiling fans, and roaring dinosaurs on HBO, my father left to fold clothes while said oldest child failing to hear the exchange left to play billiards with his little sister and thus abandoning the bacon to bubble and dissolve into greasy slime and thick smoke that even now coats much of the blankets and cushions on the first and second floors. Tragically the blame for this culinary holocaust fell on said eldest child, a responsibility he accepted begrudgingly as his protests fell on deaf ears – ironic as his own were the true culprits in this incident.
We did discover that the fire detectors require a battery change though. In the long run, my dereliction may have saved our lives. A thankable accident, if everyone can ignore the lingering stench of burnt ham soaked into the sofas and chairs long enough to consider it.
Every now and then, my mind takes a fancy to description. Results vary, but experimenting with words and imagery typically end in something rather unique and beautiful in itself:
I watched so many beautiful shapes gather in the sky today. The sky was a blue and white canvas, foaming with gray mountains of cloud. Against this, black specks raced across clay rooftops; sparrows and mockingbirds like miniature rockets darted between orchards. Ten at a time. Hundreds of black birds sailing like ink soaked paper folded into the shape of jets along unseen waves from tree top to trunk to ground. Formless singing, squawking, buzzing, whirling, and clicking emanated from tangled branches like whistles of a thousand mechanical toys.
The bells of the nearby cathedral rings six. A train whistle bellows behind a stone castle, a noisy monster anxious to consume and move on. Underground passengers ignorant of the light-show in the sky.
Clouds float above like air-borne islands. Gray mittens warmed by a fire, glowing ever brighter as the darkness advances. Gossamer gloves, they are now, gathering heated balls of flame, as if creating new suns and trapped stars. Dawn may come twice tomorrow bringing two mornings, two awakenings, and two breakfasts. The Western sky now shatters into a million hues. The suns break with the color of melted cotton candy collected into pools of thermite red, jack o’ lantern orange, and bruise violet. Slowly they drain away over the horizon, leaving stains of darkness and the speckled fragments of broken crystal in its wake.