11 October 2009

Souls Among The Ruins



The forlorn remains took me by surprise, that day I came back the same way I went out. There they were, at the bottom of a hairpin turn that I had negotiated about an hour before. So intent on making the turn looking right, the ruins passed unnoticed on the left. It was not until I came back down the hill that I saw the two chimneys thrusting up from a lion’s mane of grass, sprouting at the elbow of the turn. I gasped, thoroughly surprised, and actually screeched to a halt. The brief yelp of tires on pavement sounded loud as howler monkeys in the quiet air of a drowsy afternoon. Fortunate I was that no one was coming down behind me. I pulled the car over to the shoulder, stepping out into the breeze.

The air was cool and faintly humid. The sun played hide and seek with fast moving flocks of clouds while the rustle of leaves and grass whispered in my ear, urging me forward into what used to be the front yard of a home. Is it trespassing when there are no walls, no doors?

Standing there, pondering the outlines of history slowly crumbling into the earth, a slow wash of uneasiness spread through my gut. I felt as if someone was watching me from just inside the trees that ringed the foundation. I shivered.

The sun moved a degree or two of arc as I stood there watching.  A gust of wind tousled the leaves and a burst of purple caught my eye. It was there next to the far chimney, and something was moving amongst the greenery. I made my way carefully around the top of the foundation, hoping the brick and tile would not collapse under my boots. It was as I stood behind the chimney that I saw the beautiful purple flowers on a bush growing next to the stack.




The bush appeared to be alive, moving not just under the influence of the breeze. I inched forward to get a closer look. The bush was bedecked with numerous butterflies, flitting softly among the purple blossoms. The breath caught in my throat. Beautiful, so beautiful, the colors of vibrating gemstones in the slow strobe of the afternoon sun. I crouched carefully beside the chimney, the blossoms caressing the tips of my boots. Scarcely breathing, I relaxed under the hypnotic influence of the butterflies. Then I understood. Then I knew. I realized I had been watched, from the moment my feet hit the pavement of the hairpin turn.

The walls were gone, long ago. The charred bones of the house lay in a shallow grave with a lid of clay and leaves. The plaster bits slowly succumbing to an impassive sun and the relentless turn of the clock, the chimneys like the ragged fingers of a giant beckoning to me…

Come and see, you who hurry, and greet the souls of those who called this home…
There was beauty here, once, and life.

I see the butterflies, and know Truth.



19 comments:

  1. Lovely. Thanks for the share.

    WV = fulness

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  2. That would be the appropriately-named Butterfly Bush. No fooling.

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  3. I have a butterfly bush in my yard. Fortunately, the house is still there.

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  4. Really lovely. How nice to find such a wonderful surprise in the ruins.

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  5. The strongest, most enduring, part of a home is the hearth. When the house of wood rots away, when the mortar breaks down between the bricks in other parts of the house, the hearth resists and remains standing.

    And with the bush and the butterfly, life returns.

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  6. You capture so well that recognition of a moment well lived and in tune. When the hurrying comes to a screeching stand still and the silence of what is there beneath the surface is suddenly present in all its glory.

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  7. Come and see, you who hurry, and greet the souls of those who called this home…
    There was beauty here, once, and life.
    ..

    I hate leaving comments such as beautiful and amazing but sometimes that's all there is to say.

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  8. That was lovely. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  9. We know who was watching,don't we.oldman irish

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  10. I love thinking that the butterflies soothe those places.

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  11. I think I know what those charred bones of the house feel like....
    :)

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  12. Funny thing about butterflies and truth. When you try to grab either of them, they fly away.

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  13. I'm trying to think of something warm and fuzzy to say, but I'm grasping at butterflies. Tasty tasty butterflies...

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  14. I always wonder what happened to the people who lived in those houses.

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  15. Perhaps hallowed ground, and the butterflies know this?

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  16. Oh I think this is one of my most favorite of your writings, I adore it!!! Such broad strokes of color and sound and life.

    Excellent!!!

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"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."


-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...