Hanging On: Twenty Eight

Mark’s Dream: Part Two


Captivated by the ongoing scene in front of him, and imprisoned behind the dreamy eyes that were free to fly to and fro as they wished, Mark’s choiceless awareness floated along in flight, and made a beeline for the dancers. In the short amount of time that it takes to blink your eye, Mark recognized the men. Sure enough, it was Sam and the guys, the guys who had formed the posse. They were dressed exactly as they were when last he’d seen them, except for now they weren’t all wet, and their miserable expressions had disappeared completely. The men were quick on their feet as they took their steps in time. They were wearing joyful smiles, and looking happier than hell. The six ladies in the circle seemed vaguely familiar. (He didn’t know why at the time, but he would come to find out later on. The reason he thought he’d seen them somewhere before was because they were the girls he knew from the saloon.) The women were traditionally dressed in style for the dance, wearing full-bloomed skirts and fancy petticoats. Cheerful in their merriment, they certainly seemed to be enjoying the occasion.

Through perfect eyes that never once blinked, Mark watched as the view receded from the dancing scene. Once the musicians were in sight, his movable lookout station smoothly came to a stop, and turned just enough to put the group front and center. Twelve elegantly dressed, beautiful ladies made up the band. (Mark was not familiar in the least with any one of them.) These dozen women wore long white gowns, delicately trimmed in lace. Their chairs were arranged in a semi-circle that curved away from the crowd. Two harps were being masterly strummed at the ends of the line. Over on the left, four violinists were swiftly drawing their bows. Across from them were four speedy cellists adding harmony to the tune. And lastly, in the middle, sat two banjo pickers dueling it out with graceful gusto.

Once those eyes of his had had their fill of that fun scene, Mark was sucked clear back to his original position in the tree. Immediately after that his focus turned left, and set it’s gaze on the little town of Bedlam. It was no longer as small as he remembered it to be. The town was overflowing with spectators, Mark could tell that much from the tree. But the eyes wanted to see more, so off they went, flying as the crow flies. (The distance between Mark and the ground always remained the same, 20 feet up in the air, or so he said.) When they’d made it as far as the first house on his left, the eyes eased their speed until they came to a halt. Teams of happy folk crowded both sides of the road. Some of younger adults were waving colorful banners on a pole, and a couple of old men were hoisting America’s flag way up high. The celebration was being enhanced by some kind of marching band. They were traipsing up the road in Mark’s direction. Waiting patiently to see what the fuss was all about, the eyes hovered in place.

The leader of the band was dressed in white from head to toe. All the men behind him were dressed much the same way, but their formal attire was entirely black. The contrast was staggering, but the keen eyes kept their focus. The frontman played a silver flute that glittered in the sun. His white polished shoes were brilliantly spotless. He wore a long tailcoat, and a little white bow sat tied over his throat. High-stepping his way down the middle of the road, he looked to be quite jolly nodding his head from shoulder to shoulder as he piped his tune into the air. The eyes wished to see this figurehead up close, so they took off once again, and hovered in front of him, keeping a distance of ten feet between themselves and the man by slowly backing away. In remembrance of the past, Mark found himself to be in the act of recognition. The leader was none other than the cruelly murdered preacher man. He appeared to be having the time of his life. Alive and well, and still in his prime, the pastor was hitting his stride to perfection. Satisfactorily pleased by Mark’s acknowledgment of the familiar character, the eyes began to scan the clan beyond him.

MarchingΒ behind their leader in a strict formation was a percussion band of a hundred men in ten rows of ten. Each hatless man had a wood-sided drum strapped around his neck that hung waist high. Seemingly oblivious to the folks cheering them on, they stared straight ahead with a stern look on their faces. Holding a drumstick in each hand, they alternated the beat with one strike between each of their steps. They were identically dressed in black tuxedos and black, shiny boots. But they weren’t entirely clothed in black as they had first appeared to Mark. Now that he was up close he could see that their bow ties were made out of thin cords of rope. The observant eyes paused for a moment, and waited for him to put two and two together. He didn’t get the picture right away, so the eyes allowed the witness to further examine the faces of the men in the first two rows. Mark thought they all looked vaguely familiar, but he didn’t know the reason why quite yet, so those eyes pulled him back to his hangout spot in the tree. Without the slightest hesitation, the eyes started pivoting to his right. From Bedlam to the picnic gathering, the gaze continued to move southward on across the fertile land. It didn’t stop and set it’s sight until Mark was able to grasp a complete view of the graveyard scene. Dwelling in the unfathomable depths of a dream as he was, Mark wasn’t about to be easily startled from sleep by this ongoing stretch of his active imagination.

Mark told Matt that his first impression of the scene was picturesquely magnificent. The haven of the dead had been transformed into a garden grandeur of life. The graves had been replaced by a hundred beds of blooming red roses neatly arranged in ten spacious rows. The drab slabs of engraved stone that previously marked the graves were gone. Standing in their stead at the head of each bed were open books. Their lily-white pages were flapping back and forth in the breeze. These books were all about four feet tall, and the pages were purely empty. Here and there and in between, little white bunnies could be seen hopping over and around the living beds. There were also a lot of red robins bopping about. Taking low short flights in a willy-nilly manner, they searched the surrounding lawns, and pecked at the ground in hunger for worms.

A tall totem pole stood erect in the midst of the rose beds. Skillfully adorned with a traditional variety of carvings, it ran straight as a rail from the ground on up for the first twenty feet. From that point on to the top, which was another ten feet beyond the last carved face, the narrowing pole was noticeably bent, and the bark was still intact. According to Mark, there was one thing especially odd about this pole. Several newly-formed sprigs shot forth from the very tip, as if somehow or another, it was still alive and growing. Having seen that unlikely combination, Mark’s memory drew from it’s store of resources, and offered him a clue as to the pole’s origin. Once Mark became conscious of the freely given clue, he automatically thought, “This pole was made from the lowest limb of the hanging tree.” That was all the eyes needed to hear. The focus point then fell from the very tip top on down to the bottom.

Sitting cross-legged on the ground at the base of the pole was an Indian chief. He was typically dressed in leather clothing strewn with beads, and a long eagle-feathered warbonnet sat on his head. The decorated elder had a small hand drum on his lap, but he wasn’t beating on it at the time. Mark could tell by the solemn expression on his face that he was either meditating on something highly important, or patiently waiting for the rest of the party to arrive. A little ways away from the chief, and standing directly in front of one of the books was a frail old lady flipping through the blank pages. She had her back to Mark, so he never did see her face. She wore a tattered grey dress and a pair of brown, laced boots.


14 thoughts on “Hanging On: Twenty Eight

  1. We may well end up not ending up! Such is the life of an Eternal Being.

    I like the sprouting totem pole, Uncle πŸ™‚

  2. The Garden Grandeur Of Life
    To Ed:

    We may be down in front,
    but we’ll still end up going under.


    Yes, I thought of you constantly,
    as I wrote Part 2, Mr. Gardener.

    I’m glad you liked at least one of my dreamy ideas.
    I fought with the living totem thought for awhile.

    As in: “Should I, or shouldn’t I
    tell them how the pole came to be?”

    Mark’s not dumb, but he is young,
    so I spelled it out for him. Perhaps, at times,
    I underestimate the intelligence of my audience.
    And perhaps, most times, I overestimate my own.

    When I don’t know what you know,
    how am I to know what needs be said?
    It’s all guesswork…there’ll be no certainty
    any time soon, of that I am sure. The End
    will come whether I’m ready to go or knot.


    Remember this one?
    Joni Mitchell “Woodstock”

    We are stardust
    We are golden
    And we’ve got to get ourselves
    back to the gaaaaaaaaaaaaarden.

    There is always more than one way. πŸ˜‰

  3. Author’s note: FYI

    I seem to be slowing down.
    It may very well take me a week
    to get the rest of this dream up here.
    Once upon a time I was able to write at
    work during my breaks and at lunch. I am
    no longer able to do that. I’m looking for my
    Comfort Zone. I’m tired of pressing, sorry to say.
    Please don’t think I’m putting this off. That I will not
    do. I will continue this project come Hell or high waters.
    I miss screwing around, goofing off, and making comments,
    as you can see by the above. I like Bonnie’s idea of blogging.

    Uncle Tree’s Wood Shop – Where there’s always work to be done.

    Loves to you all! Keith

  4. Author’s Progress Report

    Since you are riding along with me on a road we’ve never traveled,
    and since you are sort of blindfolded, and can’t see where I’m going,
    I will stop and tell you what’s going on, and where we are at this point.

    We took a side road a ways back, let’s call it Dream Street. We came to a
    T(at the end of Part 2). I slowed down, and took a left. And…well…it was
    a dead end, and I didn’t like the looks of it. The scene wasn’t all that
    breathtaking, in my opinion. So I went back to the T, and tried to imagine
    what would happen if I’d taken a right turn, instead. Lo and behold, after
    waiting two days for my imagination to make up my mind, it put forth a
    new idea of what might be found at the end, if we were to go in the other
    direction. It sounded like a better idea, so now we’re going that way.

    The pause was fruitful, and I think you’ll be glad that I took a time-out
    to watch some football on the tele I have in the car. During this pause,
    I also noticed that I may have contradicted myself in the telling of the ride.
    That was cause for further pause, so then I thought I’d better add another
    parenthetical statement in Part 3. One of these days, I may go back and
    move these statements to the preface of this dream. They disrupt the flow
    somewhat, or so it seems to me. Do they seem that way to you, too?
    Or, are they okay where they are? I’d love to hear your opinion on that. πŸ™‚

    Now that I have this new idea, I will begin to put it into words. It is like
    starting over again, and it will take some time for me to do the rewrite.
    However, there are two playoff games on today, and I am going to enjoy
    myself in the watching. I believe I deserve as much for all the work I’ve
    put into this already. I do have All The Time In The World, you know. πŸ˜‰

    Thank you!

  5. “They disrupt the flow
    somewhat, or so it seems to me. Do they seem that way to you, too?”

    Yes, perhaps, but we know you and that this is also an exercise which involves us, too.
    Presenting the whole story later to fresh readers is something else.

    You da boss on this one…..not meaning I’m ever the boss πŸ˜‰


  6. Thank you, Ed.

    I’m just trying to cover my (ass), so to speak.

    You know, it’s hard enough trying to explain one’s own dreams,
    let alone, someone else’s. (“…let alone”, another weird idiom.)

    Can I describe a scene artistically without bringing in
    the emotions?(Mark’s)
    At first, I thought I could. That’s why I had to continue with
    We can’t all be Spock (Star Trek). Talk about vanilla… πŸ™‚

    If a story is told, and retold, over and over again (like in the Bible),
    I can easily imagine the original e-motive getting shuffled back in line.

    Again, black and white (my opposites) are about to m-e-r-g-e.
    Hope you like it. Dreams rarely make sense, and they always end in the
    of the action.

    Some things can’t be helped. Peace, bro! Unc

  7. Hi Keith

    I think the dream provides a nice interlude to the intensity of Old Scratch’s shenanigans out at the boneyard. It really depends on how you tie/merge it in with
    the rest of the story if it has relevance.

    As Ed said, you da boss.


  8. Hello, Bonnie

    What I’d like to see happen
    can’t happen in reality,
    as far as we know. πŸ˜‰

    Dreams are thrown into stories by some
    as a way of cheating, especially when used
    as the means to an ending. I’m not using it
    that way altogether, for I’m not close to the end.

    Relevance will come in the form of a clue,
    that is, if you haven’t guessed already.


    Last night, I got up from a chair
    and experienced back spasms
    such as I’ve never before felt. OMG!!!
    This morning I’m not in too good of shape.
    I’m going to call in to work. I may not be able
    to work on this for awhile, darn it. Yesterday
    I realized I’d been crippled with doubt. Today
    I look like a cripple, a very old cripple. What gives?

    Every sentence is becoming excruciatingly difficult to produce.
    The correlations are unnerving. I pray for relief in more ways than one.

    The writing of my fairy tale may take forever.
    At times, I’ve wished that no one was watching.

    I better stop for now, and lie back down.
    Thanks for your understanding, and for your support!

    Luvz & Hugz, UT

  9. Hey Uncle, sorry to here about the back. Strange thing is, I am in the same boat. I feel your pain bro. Mine is not a spasm though. I have to ice my back every morning just to be able to walk. It’s been 10 days and is not much better yet. What’s up with getting older?

    Maybe the pain will bare some creative fruit. Art and suffering and all that stuff. Yo.

    I hope your back gets better soon, pain is not much fun. Don’t forget to ice.

  10. Yes, Bonnie!
    An OWEEE it was.

    As I said over yonder on the back 29, I stood behind my chair,
    and put the keyboard up on the ‘backrest’ (there’s that word again)
    to finish the writing/finger pecking. It was rather slow going,
    but I hung in there. I hope it’s up to par, AND to your liking.

    The story’s always there, it’s the damn words that aren’t ready! πŸ™‚
    About Old Scratch…now where in the heck did that name come from?
    It’s new to me, that’s why I ask. I think I know who you mean by that,
    but I didn’t hang him by the crotch…talk about oweee. Whoa!

    Anyway, I did feel better this morning, and went to work at 11 for 4 hrs.
    I did my taxes this morning, too, and the news was surprisingly good!
    I was so poor in 2009, that I was eligible for the Earned Income Credit
    for the very first time in my career…my one and only career of 33 years.

    I’m in a good mood, so instead of writing…well, I’m more prone to jabber.
    It’s Friday, and I got a beer, and a jingle in my pocket. They both
    sound good, take my word for it. You hang well, okay?


  11. Good to see you back (hic), Derek!

    Since I lift for a living, I’ve been through this and that before.
    Never had a spaz attack like this one was though, bro. Charlie Horse
    bit down on the bridle, and put me on all fours for about 10 minutes.
    24 hours later, I was finally able to walk upright, like a real man should.

    What’s with getting older? A la carte or con cueso? πŸ™‚

    Btw, I always heard that ice is only used for the first two days or so,
    then it’s heat only. I did a ice/20 min., wait 20 min., heat20 min.,
    wait an hour, and repeated that procedure about 6 times yesterday.
    That’s a lot of naps, yeah, but it gave me time to think about the
    exact words and phrases I wanted to use to finish the back 29.
    I hate to let a sick day (paid) go to waste. How did I do? Yo?

    Hope you get over whatever. You’ve probably had an x-ray, haven’t you?
    BuLgInG discs can certainly present a problem, or the discs themselves
    can shrivel down to the size of a pinto bean, and that spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e.

    That’s what happened with my neck. Surgery sucks! Ask for steroids,
    if you haven’t taken any in the past. Talk about miracle workers…they are,
    and that’s why they’re outlawed. They attack inflammation. I don’t blame
    the athlete’s for using them. It’s long-term overuse that causes problems
    later on during (yes) old age. Football players have short life-spans, but
    hey! They live some pretty big lives, as do most professional athletes.

    TaNgEnT, yes. Anyway…I am more inclined to back up than back down.
    This philosophy is not fool-proof, and I am testament to that. Book me,
    and haul me in for creating an a-bun-dance of ghastly poetic fruit.

    Cheerz! UT


    Suffer Jet City, the Colts will buck you off.
    Saints trump Vikings because Favre is o-l-d,
    but I still love him to death. He’s 40. OMG!

  12. Sounds pretty good but I have noticed an oddity might just be a preference but I notice that you stay very neutral in your color descriptions…you use white a lot, black a lot, some occasional red, and brown. keeps the mood sullen but the lack of sensory items in description can cause the readers who prefer senses not in these confines to loose touch with the read.
    An example of what I am saying is that some people like touch, some like taste, some smell, and still other s love to see. It can be heard in their speech. Examples: see what I mean, can you feel me now, I hear ya loud and clear, something smells fishy.
    When these things are incorporated into the descriptions… on a subliminal level you connect with the readers individually and it makes your words seem like it is coming from someone that is just like them and they identify with it.
    Don’t mind me though these are just some of my random thoughts as I read.

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