Said the Forest to the Fox

The fox-who-was-a-boy fled the wilderness into the wood, where forgetting has no place, into the wood that remembers every facet of the world, where all of history and knowledge flourish, where every tree tells a story made of words solid unspoken, as textured as bark. The boy-fox sought sanctuary in the thick, wrinkled skin of the forest, in its many branches of possibility, in its leaves that touch the wind and the sun’s golden gaze, in the rings of its ever-growing interior.

Deep in the forest, the boy-fox climbed up into a tree he found to his liking, a tree to represent all trees, a tall banyan that was itself a forest of trees, thick with roots and trunks and branches and leaves reaching up forever into the night sky, as if to touch the very moon and stars, where memory and knowledge dream.

In the arms of the tree, the boy-fox curled up to slumber, hugging his foxtail for warmth.  The boy-fox dreamt himself a gray fox, chased by hounds and nobles on horseback.  The hounds he alluded by scampering up a tree, not towering but squat, big around, and foreboding, not a banyan or any other sort of tree he’d ever seen before in any forest.  Its roots struck into the earth and rock like the giant hands of old witches.  Its branches spread like long, crooked gallows, and from them hung gray leaves like damp rags from men whose necks had long ago snapped.  The strange tree stood reminiscent of a swamp, though the earth all around was dry as dust.

Continue reading “Said the Forest to the Fox”

The Tall Tale Boy, Part II – “The Sun and Moon”

After three days of business meetings and tireless socializing, I fled Ko Olina to spend a day in Honolulu.  I planned to meet my cousin for dinner, but arrived in the city midday and so decided to wander Waikiki for a few hours in search of souvenirs.

Mark and I had exchanged several emails over the course of the week.  He feared I’d forget him while basking in Hawaii’s beauty; I assured him this was not the case.  He seemed taken with me after only a few weeks of online correspondence.  I, in turn, became taken with the idea of dating a kindhearted, submissive young man.  After three years chasing Portland kinksters for casual sex, it felt an appropriate change of pace to exchange sweet nothings with a romantic.

My thoughts of the Cuban reflected in the sun’s brilliance and warmth.  I welcomed the heat as a foreign, complementary element, a relief from the dreary coolness I’d come to expect.  Never before had I been to Hawaii, nor would I have planned such a destination for myself.  But fortune had smiled and brought me here for business.  I also felt as though fortune had brought a prospective love into my life.  I wanted to return to Portland with a token of my hope for a new beginning—and to let Mark know that I thought of him here, under this auspicious tropical sun.

silver sun necklaceI found a shop that sold jewelry handmade by Native artists, both of Hawaiian descent and otherwise.  I decided—a necklace was the perfect gift—and after perusing, found a pendant that suited my aesthetics.  When I asked a sales clerk about it, she replied in broken English that it was a symbol of the rising sun, renewal and rebirth.

I didn’t buy the necklace until the following morning, after debating the purchase with my cousin.  She advised,

—Buy what you would wear, just in case.

Indeed, like so many Portland men I’ve met, Mark disappeared after our first date.  I sometimes wonder if he were, in some way, my Rosaline.

Continue reading “The Tall Tale Boy, Part II – “The Sun and Moon””

The Cellar of the Stunted Tree

Beneath the mind of the host (in a dark forest far from the house of the host) dwells a room that lies subterranean, just beneath the forest floor. In its center, growing from a platform: an old tree, thick around and squat. It appears as a dwarf tree in this room but corresponds to another on the forest floor, a mirror image, as if the two were one, the trunk rising through the center of the room to emerge above.

In this room, on either side of the tree, run man-made, shallow channels of water fed from a nearby river. These channels run parallel through the room, from one side to the other, dividing the room in half (in some conceptualizations of this room, only one channel runs through the center of the room, with an island in the middle from which grows the tree). Near where these channels enter and exit are doors on either side, four in total, high in the room near ground level, and stairs carved from the walls that descend from each of the four doors to the floor of the room.

The room is both grand and suffocating; tall of ceiling and enclosed like a cellar; constructed, square in shape but caked with mud, carved from stone. It is a room of dark dreams and earthly comforts, from where life roots, flows, and dreams.

It is the room of the squat and gnarled tree, both stunted and eternal. The Duchess refers to the room as the Cellar and does not go here; its structure can only be known in dreaming.