Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I was out running this morning (It's true! you people stop gasping, and you stop snickering). I turned down the bike trail that cuts through the center of town because it's a cool, wooded place that serves to conceal me from a large number of those likely to point and laugh.

Except then, I came to the Bridge. It's an old wooden bridge--describing it as an old railroad bridge with the train tracks taken out and slabs laid down so real people could travel across it would be exactly accurate. (The bike trail used to be a railroad line.) If I were in a more romantic mood, I would spend a couple of paragraphs describing said bridge in mythological terms. It's old, and worn down in the middle were probably hundreds of thousands of feet and bike wheels and snowmobiles have traversed it. It has a tendency to bounce and buckle when you cross it, just a bit, just enough to make you nervous.

Anyway, I stood in the middle of it and looked out in four directions, and realized it was sort of a four-dimensional crossroads. Before and behind me, running underneath the bridge, was Main Street in the place where it widens in preparation for becoming The Highway. To the north, it ran through the newly developed portions of town to said Highway, out past warehouses bearing the name of a grocery store and Walgreens and the Library, past the golf course where what pathetic Rich and Elite this town has hobnob with each other. Thus the new side of town.

About-face, and you see trees that were old when my father was young, buildings with gabled roofs hidden from the public by grandiose false fronts. Entire blocks of buildings squashed together in what, come to think of it, is probably an incredible firetrap. Old, roomy houses with honest-to-god towers built into them. The graveyard, neglected, its headstones crumbling into a dust comparable to that of their graves' inhabitants. And trolls. I can find no way to romanticize trolls. Thus, Old Town.

The other two directions were back and forward (relative to me) along the bike trail. Behind me lay Civilization--Kwik Trip, the investment office and antique shops and other businesses that make their homes here in town. Before me lay (at least, what looked like) The Wild. Trees of a rich green grew up and leaned out over the trail to form an arch under which the brown of the gravel trail ran, and it was a somehow richer brown for associating with all that Nature. The road beckoned to me with all the overblown symbolic virility of a womb symbol, or the Hero's Call to Adventure.

I wandered toward Nature, down that (as it were) Hero's Road, until I realized with regret that there were other things I wanted to do this day, and I went home.

(Now, there probably is some symbolic meaning I could draw forth from the above--that is, more than I have already hinted at. And by probably and some, I actually mean definitely and a ton. However, to go into it would be cruel to my readers, probably make them want to hurt me, and might actually lead to me wanting to hurt myself. So, in the interests of self-preservation and altruism, I will end here.)


Darth Nemoyer said...

Call. Of. The. Wild. ..But your domestication held you back. The Old deeper natures lay to your back, o ye man, by the civilized--if it is so--Present and Future are the way you are going. Alas.

::also has vague thoughts of a rebirth metaphor, but won't go into that::

Excellent post. Being an ardent fan of four and five dimensions myself, I love that description. If you had not pointed it out, I certainly would have had to.


Darth Nemoyer said...

1) I did stop snickering, just to show appreciation of the post though, not because of your order. ;-)
2) Yes, that "by" in my comment was supposed to be "but".

Ethan said...

Haha, thank ye, sir. I'm tempted to resent the Jack London comparison, because he wrote and I, unsuspectingly, read "To Build A Fire," one of the worst stories to come from the English language. It is, however, very apt, so instead I will have to congratulate you on it.

Ethan said...

1. Any cessation of snickering will do.
B. Well, there was a "were" in my post that was supposed to be "where," so it fits. :P

NOT Freddy Jones said...

"I can find no way to romanticize trolls."

Arrr, this be a challenge, eh? Thou shalt not defeat me!
Just.. give me a few days. Trolls, eh? Trolls are harder...

And a very nice post. Quite a joy to read.

Ethan said...

Thank you. And it wasn't meant as a challenge; however, if you want to take it as such, be my guest. I'd be really interested to see what you came up with.

My main reason for being unable to romanticize said creatures is, well, there are statues of the things all over the streets of my bloody town, and they're stupid and ugly and I hate them and I've always hated them. However, they are always seen as tricksters and trouble-makers and, yes, ugly, so they'd probably be hard to romanticize anyway.

NOT Freddy Jones said...

I know you prolly didn't mean it as a challenge, but I still choose to take it as one.

I can see that. The statues in your town smile horribly, and are pretty disturbing.

The Celebrated Author said...

(Second paragraph, beginning-ish:) Because people on trains are not real people. (Oh God I'm so intelligent. Emoticon.)