The Night of the Planets [Repost]

Prompt: Faith
Original Prompt: Awe, June 23, 2016

saturn

Some people think that I dreamed the whole thing, but I know it really happened.

I live in Arizona, U.S.A., in a suburb way south of a city called Scottsdale. Houses in this “community” are small and cheap, and many of them still lie empty, with dead palm trees glued to the soil in front of the door. In the winter, a few more neighbors appear, but not many, and they leave again in spring.

My abode has two small bedrooms and a small wall-enclosed garden. Beyond the low walls are other small gardens belonging to other house dwellers. The project was originally gated; now the gate stands permanently open. I put a splash pool in the middle of the garden, which has no plants, for my dog, Poopy. That is a play on words, of the famous dog, “Snoopy”. My garden gets morning sun, so the water is too warm for Poopy to play in until early afternoon. I bring out a pitcher of ice cubes to help cool it down. Poopy splashes around in it like a toddler. It is strange to watch.

The kitchen has a fancy fridge that makes ice cubes. The fridge came with the house. All I really needed to buy was a TV set, which I got at Walmart, a ninety minute drive south-east. It is a Samsung 30″ flat screen and I mounted it on the wall.

There are no grocery stores, restaurants, or shops of any kind within an hour’s drive. There is a Texaco gas station, though, which stocks Lay’s Potato Chips and Pepsi, if I ever get desperate.

I was born in Wisconsin, so I am technically a “cheesehead”. My father still lives there, at least he used to; I believe he is on the road, looking for me.

Yes, I am a taker of drugs. I have some pain without them. I also enjoy recreational drugs. In the community of empty box houses in the desert south of Scottsdale, there is not much else to do. I take my medication, smoke a little weed, sometimes talk to Facebook friends on the Internet. They are not real friends, since I call myself Jody Marx, which is not my real name, and in Facebook I live in California. But it is fun to talk to other people. It could be that their Facebook feed is false too. Who knows?

I walk Poopy early in the morning and late at night. If I drive to Scottsdale or Walmart, he comes with me in the car. The car has air-conditioning.

Poopy and I decided to drive south and take a few detours, just to see what we would find. I always pack a cooler of water, just in case, and sometimes some beer. I have a cell phone, but no guarantees that I will have reception.

On our exploration drive, we ended up in a place that was so empty it could have been the far side of the moon. Flat and utterly barren in all directions, there was something breathtakingly beautiful about it. I let Poopy loose, and he went a little crazy, running around with his nose to the ground. There was not even a tree or shrub to pee on.

As nightfall approached and it started to cool off, I set up a lawn chair so I could relax and watch the sun set on a perfectly flat horizon. I was hungry, and so was Poopy, so I was going to drive the hour and a half back right after the sun went down.

The stars were out, of course, and there was a winking red light low in the sky that I thought might be Mars. I don’t know much about the planets, just that there are nine of them, and they include Mars, Saturn, and Earth. Sometimes a star fell, and I made a wish. Poopy was curled up beside me on the hard-packed dirt, moody because he hadn’t been fed.

I had to get my jacket out of the trunk of the car, as it gets cold at night sometimes, in the desert.

I must have dozed off just as the sun disappeared. The lawn chair was uncomfortable, but the air was soft and perfectly cool, and the silence was as deep as the silence in the well at my Grandfather’s house, which I fell down when I was nine. That was quiet. This was quiet.

When Poopy barked I opened my eyes and there she was. I don’t know why I call the planet Saturn a “she”. I think actual Saturn might have been a god? And probably male. But “it” was not right and “he” sounded crazy.

She filled the sky with her plump perfect roundness and wide shimmering bands. I thought I was dreaming, sure I did, but I poked Poopy, who was staring too, he stopped barking, and I stood up and walked around a bit, not taking my eyes off the sky, off the beautiful she-planet.

I took my phone out and took a picture. I went to the trunk of the car and got out a beer. I sat in the lawn chair again and stared at her.

The thing with me is, I believe my eyes. I believe I saw the planet in the Western sky, Poopy and I both did. I didn’t have anyone to share this information with, not really, so when we got home, after I fed Poopy, I put the news on. There was no mention of it. I called the local TV station and told them what I saw. They listened carefully and thanked me, but they did not put it in their news broadcast. I posted the picture to my Facebook page without comment. It just looked like a blurry planet. I should have included the lawn chair and Poopy in the photo.

I know there are scientific laws, laws of physics and astronomy. I understand that. I also understand that when you stare at a night sky so immense as the one that hangs over our heads all the time, every second, you have to come to realize that there are things beyond our knowledge, beyond explaining, beyond faith or religion, beyond science, beyond our comprehension.

Some people think I was dreaming, but I know what I saw to be true. I wonder if anyone else sees the unseeable sometimes. Who was dreaming that night, who saw what was real, and who refused to see what was in front of their faces?


 

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Lightbulb

Prompt: Churn


Dear Wednesday,

To everything – churn, churn, churn
There is a season – churn, churn, churn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything – churn, churn, churn
There is a season – churn, churn, churn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything – churn, churn, churn
There is a season – churn, churn, churn
And a time to every purpose under heaven


Such a lovely song (written by Pete Seeger from a beautiful Biblical passage and performed successfully by the Seekers and the Byrds) that I have chosen to distort, all for the purpose of churning out a Daily Prompt blog post.

To compensate, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons?

cartoon cable killing

cartoon corn this bad

cartoon ballet dancers


Have a most productive and creative week!

~~FP

100 Miles

Prompt: Arid

desert

The sky is the same color as the sand, a luminous Photoshop-layered, grainy, noisy, soft-focused, glowing, diffused, warm, creamy, grey-and-yellow. There is no safe horizon to guide me on my journey, no compass, only the feel of unreliable sand beneath my feet and the sure knowledge that I must move, or die. I am halfway there. I smell my own stale, dry, hot, recycled breath through the scarf wrapped like bandages around my nose and mouth. Move, or die. Finally, finally, I am there. I have travelled the 100 miles. I have travelled the 100 words.


  • From a 100 words challenge

True Deserts

Prompt: Desert

dusty road with cyclysts

“This is a desert,” Marcus said. “Probably the only one up here?”

They were relaxing by a pool of deep brilliant blue water, outside their guest room at the Grey Owl Winery. There was no one else by the pool. The rest of the guests were sipping cold wine in the cool dim interior of the restaurant, or siesta-ing under ceiling fans in darkened apartments. But Marcus loved the heat, and Envy loved what Marcus loved.

Still, it was brutally hot and dry, and they watched a stream of tourists in cars approaching the winery, leaving a trail of the finest dust in billowing clouds behind them.

They were celebrating their first wedding anniversary. It was one of Envy’s most cherished memories, despite all that was to come.

“It is the northern end of the Sonoran desert,” Envy said. She took a sip of her soda and lime, from a long straw poked into a frosted glass. “But really, not a true desert. It feels like it today though,” she conceded.

Marcus threw his head back to get the last drop of beer from the bottle. Then he stood up from his lounger, and straddled Envy on hers.

“Marcus!”

“Let’s go inside,” Marcus said. “I want to hear more about true deserts.” He leaned over her and kissed her neck, under her ear.

She felt heat and wetness on her skin where he touched her.

The room was cool, air-conditioned, and dimly lit with the curtains drawn. They listened to Ray Charles, and were oblivious to the sun and heat, and the scent of the vineyard, and the sight of the tourists in rental cars crawling along the dusty road that led to the Grey Owl Winery, leaving clouds in their wake.