1/30/09 – institution


            Well, I’m back for round 2. I’ve had a thought: it takes way less energy to consume than to create. I feel like I have the option of watching a movie (consuming) or writing a movie (creating), and consuming entertainment is soooooo much easier. All I have to do is lay there and soak in someone else’s hard work.

            Which, of course, means my own never gets made. It’s taking the easy way out. Why? Because it’s easier! Few people want to plow the ground. They begin with much gusto, their eyes dazzled with the glory of that prize they’ve come to see. But when the plow cracks on the rocks, or they run into roots, most will give up. I know I have. When the going gets tough…we stop and wait for ‘inspiration’ to come. But there is much to be said of pushing through. Those who succeed are those who persevere, those who conquer.

            I also had a thought tonight as I ate my hamburger, and I might write this down in my journal, too, so it’s official: I have pictures and stories in my head, and I seem to have an aptitude to write them down. I have the skills necessary to express them. That’s why I write, because stories burn in my chest and I have the talents to express the flames.

            BUT…will I?

            Today’s word is: institution (really? Oh gee).


            Fog usually likes institutions. It’s true; watch any film about school in England and you’ll be sure to seem some fog floating around somewhere. Usually you can find it in those scenes that show the sun rising early in the morning, with the birds chirping their morning songs as they flit up and down and all around. But what those movies don’t tell you, what no one is brave enough to show you, is where the fog comes from. This terrible duty falls to me, I am afraid, for I have heard the story of whence the fog arose, and it is my duty as a teller to share the narrative with you. Sit back, then, and prepare yourself for a tale of grandeur, of romance, of danger! of guilt, and of suspense.

            Once upon a time, in the fair land of Western America, a young boy walked to school. Winter still clung hardily to the trees, its fingers of frost wrapped tight about the branches. Old Man Sun had come out for a day or two in order to take a crack at prying it away, but to no avail. Winter was dug in deep, and would not be leaving for quite some time.

            Then along came our boy. He was the type of boy that liked the world: he didn’t chase the squirrels, or hide the birds’ food; he didn’t dream of ways to dig up his mother’s flowers, or steal the neighbor’s melons; he didn’t hack at the grass with a stick as he walked, nor looked at the river with a rock in his pock. He let all and let be, and was happy to be content.

            Winter looked at the boy from its perch on a tree, and thought to itself with glee, “Me thinks I’ll rile this boy as he walks, and see if I can provoke him to wrath.” It watched and waiting as the boy drew near, then plop! let a drop a glop of snow!

            What do you suppose the boy did? Why he looked up and smiled, and shook his young head. “Ah, tree. You shouldn’t have shed your coat so early! Winter is still about, and though I’m sure she’s nice and all, she is a frosty one, that Winter, and you’ll be wanting a covering before the month’s out, I’m sure.” The tree nodded gently, and whistled the boy away as he walked on to school.

            (Now you mustn’t be confused, thinking that Winter is a she. It is neither, for being cold, its hard is plum froze! With neither he nor she tendencies, one cannot be expected to be either. But our young boy, thinking in his happy heart that none could be without that vital part, assumed that everything fell into the he or she category. But we know better, for we can hear Winter’s thoughts. And we heard that day Winter’s grumble at the boy’s words. “Who does he think he is?” said Winter as the boy walked away. “Treating me as a person – humph!” And that is that.)

            Two or three more blocks the boy walked, skipping as he went. Little birds twittered beside him, and whistled him a merry a tune. In he joined, and with a wink and nod, skipped down the road with them at his shoulders.

            But Winter was still scheming, and just down the walk it waited with malice. “Just wait and see what he does with this ploy,” it sneered, and froze the walk clean through with its ice.

            Closer, closer came the boy and his friends, till slip! went his foot and up! went his hands. Winter danced and giggled with joy, till it saw what had become of the friends of the boy. Quick as a flick down under they went, from the tops of the trees to the back of the boy. Catch him they did, with their tiny clawed feet, and drew him right up on that frozen side street.

            “No!” cried mean Winter, and through its hands down, which of course sent a shiver and a crack through ice in that town.

            Then the boy turned, and looking around, found fuming Winter behind its tree. Slowly he walked, careful on the ice, and at last came to the tree. He moved round the left side, but Winter also shuffled left. Then the boy went right, and Winter did the same! Winter held its breath, for it didn’t know what would happen if our young boy found it. But quick as a slip the boy jumped round the tree and there was Winter caught, as never before.

            “I know just the cure for you, Winter,” said he, and help up his hand. “I’d like to dance with you, since you’re a she.”

            Now nasty Winter snarled and bristled ice, for no one calls an it a she. “Don’t you  know who I am?!” it cried, sending another crack through the cold.

            “Indeed”, replied the boy. “You’re a she and I am a he; let us dance.”

            Winter frowned, peering suspiciously at his outstretched hand. So long had it hid and tricked that it could not think that anyone’s motives were just as they said. In its heart Winter smiled, thinking at last she had caught the boy. Take hold of his hand, it thought, and freeze him right to the bone.

            A frosty hand Winter extended to him, and slipped it into his. He smiled and bowed, then spun Winter away.

            Then a funny thing happened to the town as they danced, for the boy’s smile warmed wicked Winter. And deep in its chest, where a thick ice block lay, a tiny crack formed. Then another, and another, until finally the ice burst into steam and melted right away!

            And what do you suppose secret Winter did? Why, it smiled! And as the snow on its brow melted away, and the frost on its arms dripped to the ground, what should appear but a head flowing with hair and a wonderful smile! For Winter was, after all, a beautiful girl, and it took the warm hand of our young boy to melt her out of her cold.


            Eh. Bizarre. I was really just trying to finish it, because ten minutes turned into twenty-five. And the story had nothing to do with institutions!

            But then, I suppose that’s the point.  


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