12/31/2012 10:07:57 PM
Ar-Jay just finished another chapter of his on-going Western ballad. Removing the sheet of paper from his typewriter, he placed it on top of others that had been piling up on his desk throughout the night. Gathering them he tapped them on the desktop to even them upright... turned them, and repeated the process again putting the side edgesin alignment. His work, The Ballad of Bill Bundy was still a long way from being finished. As though psychic to his completing this task the phone rang...a familiar voice spoke softly, but demanding in his ear.
"Ar-Jay, you’ve been in that cocoon of yours long enough. If The Ballad of Bill what’s his name, isn’t finished by now, you’ve been dragging your feet. It’s time you get out into some fresh air, and blow the dust off of you."
This was Clare’s way of inviting him to leave the big city, and enjoy some relaxation time in Oregon. After abrief, useless discussion about why he didn’t have time for a vacation, he relented and accepted her offer. Their conversation drifted off to other pleasant subjects.
Clare and Ar-Jay have been very close friends since their high school days. He had aspirations of becoming a writer, but after graduation from high school he was unceremoniously inducted into the US Army, and invited to tour the European continent with the Eighth Army. Clare enrolled in college to further her education in The Arts. She gother degree in women’s Clothing Fashions, but was never satisfied with pursuing the industry, but because of her wildlife and nature paintings, she became a much sought-after artist. Several years ago, Clare’s grandfather passed away,and she was willed a small cabin tucked away in the Metoulis River region of Oregon state. In the beauty and solitude of these mountain surroundings, she now paints.
When the war ended, Ar-Jay renewed his ambitions of becoming a writer. Though he traveled a great deal throughout the United States in quest of material, the two of them stayed inclose contact. During their conversation she reminded him they had not seen each other for nearly six weeks. His excuses were weak and he relented to make the trip as soon as he got his work in order. He would catch a flight out as soon as possible. Gathering his papers and notes, Ar-Jay crossed the small room and locked them in a safe. They would be protected from fire or theft while he was gone. He had invested a lot of time and effort into this research, and did not want to do it over again. Within four hours he was on a Red Ball flight to Oregon. It wasn’t until he settled back in the seat on the plane, that he realized... he was truly anxious to see Clare again.
Early morning of the second day in the mountains, armed only with powerful binoculars, Ar-Jay hiked to a point overlooking the Metoulis River. Warm morning sun had not yet burned away the haze hugging the valley floor and winding river below. From this vantage point he trained his glass on the steep wall across the valley. Almost immediately he spotted a marten scurrying among the boulders and vegetation, probably looking for its first meal of the day. After several minutes of watching it, he panned slowly to his right; searching ledges on his side of the valley. There it was big and beautiful.
A Golden Eagle was perched like a statute on a rocky overhang. Currents of warm air rising out of the valley, buffeted the magnificent bird. He shook himself, settling his ruffled feathers back into place. Tilting his head slightly, seemly to fix a gaze toward the other side of the valley. Ar-Jay was certain it must have seen the marten scurrying among the rocks and vegetation, unaware it was being observed.
Unseen by Ar-Jay... a short distance from the marten, a tiny vole dug frantically near the roots of a mountain berry bush. It evidently caught the scent of a grub, or something beneath the surface of mossy terrain. In its frenzy to seek its quarry, the dark shadow moving over it, went unnoticed. Abruptly, the marten was upon the grub-eater, sinking its sharp teeth into furry softness. Too startled to react, the surprised rodent squealed in terror. After a brief struggle, it laid motionless.
Shrill cries of the vole must have reached keen ears of the eagle. Looking back to the ledge where the big bird was located, Ar-Jay watched it... shifting from one leg to the other. A shrill "creeeeeee" was heard late coming, drifting slightly out of sync with movement he viewed through the binoculars. Leaning forward with wings raised testing air currents; it called once more; a thermal lifted it quickly from the ledge. Checking its ascent, it hovered briefly, then slowly drifted across the valley.
Reaching a point high above the marten, the huge bird folded its wings, and plummeted earthward, rolling left then right, dumping air currents from beneath its body. The ground rushed upward at an incredible speed. Ar-Jay feared it might not be able recover in time to stop its plunge, but those fears were unfounded. The birds wings opened slightly... it rocketed forward scant feet above the rocky terrain, closing the distance to the marten. A hundred feet... thirty feet... ten feet; Ar-Jay’s heart was pounding, as he watched the drama unfold. At the last possible moment, the eagle’s great wings extended fully, braking his forward flight. Wide-spread talons swung forward, clamping reflexively on the marten, as it passed beneath his breast. Pumping its wings vigorously, it dropped to the ground... the marten held tightly in his grasp.
Shocked by the unexpected intrusion, the marten realized, it had become a victim, and tried hard to release itself from the great bird’s talons. Undaunted by twisting and viscous snapping, the eagle pushed back resting on its wide spread tail feathers; one foot lashed out, pressing his hapless opponent to the ground. Eyeing his prize for a moment, the eagle raised its head, and voiced a shrill cry again. It floated back across the valley. Slowly his wings spread like a canopy, concealing an inevitable scene from Ar-Jay’s view. The marten’s struggles ceased; its cries of rage became cries of terror... then there was silence.
Lowering his binoculars... Ar-Jay stood; mentally reviewing the scene he just witnessed... he turned and slowly made his way back to the cabin. Regardless of peace and serenity that abounds in these mountains, the meek are always faced with danger... a cruel fact. It bothered him that the martin seemed not to have a fighting chance. He struggled briefly with that fact and then….
An illuminating thought flashed through his mind. That incident from start to finish, could have been a written scenario of his creation, and if he was not satisfied with the end result, he could have changed the story. Power over life and death was nothing more than a stroke of the pen. In essence... as a writer, he felt GOD-like... being able to wield this power. The thought was overwhelming, but the reality of this event was, he had no sway to make achange. He did not like the outcome, but he was compelled to accept it. On this day, four cries came to terms with the wilderness. From the hunted, two cries, were of fear and pain; a cry from the hunter was a cry of victory. The fourth, was an inward cry of acceptance; a truth he just now understood. His role became suddenly clear; he is a writer only, a teller of stories, and nothing more.
Entering the cabin his tormented senses were way laid by aroma of coffee, frying bacon and eggs. Claire, in robe and slippers, appealing as always, was preparing breakfast. His thoughts of the wilderness episode mellowed. The furrowed lines of his brow disappeared. A hint of another emotion sparked slightly in his eyes. Claire glanced up at him noting the sudden change in his expression. Placing the pan of bacon on a cold burner, she wrapped her arms around his neck, and greeted him.
"Goodmorning, had you come back any later, I was afraid I would have to throw your portion out to the bears. I’m glad you could make it."
Drawing her close, he squeezed her firmly... Claire briefly accepted his longing for attention, but pushed him gently back. "You had a different look on your face when you walked through the door. Is something wrong Ar-Jay?"
"Well... yes and no. Still it’s nothing I can’t handle, I guess."
With her persuasion, he explained the incident that occurred on the mountain slope. Compassionate awareness in her eyes spoke volumes; yet she explained more with words of comfort.
"Welcome to the real world Ar-Jay. There was a time I thought everything I painted, was of my own creation. I don’t remember when, but I too acquired a new perspective for who I am. Everything I put to canvas is merely a reproduction of beauty that was placed on this planet by a power more talented than I. Oh sure, the public appreciates my paintings, because I embellish the mountain’s beauty. I deliberately eliminate ugly sights of fire-damaged forests, caused by lightning, or man’s carelessness. I exclude sights of the reckless clear-cutting of our great forests, where man shows little regard for our future. The public is willing to overlook maimed, or dead animals, that poachers, and irresponsible hunters leave in the woods... animals they have no intention of claiming. Even sights of trash in these mountains are disgusting.There are many things that do not please me, and most I cannot not change.
I don’t play GOD when I paint. I paint what the public wants, and what GOD intended for them to have and to enjoy. As imaginative creators, we give the best of ourselves, to appease our own needs to write or paint, but at the same time we satisfy the needs of people who are not creative, by allowing them precious moments of time, to steal away from naked truths of their real world. The appreciators of our work, need their dream-time too."
Ar-Jay gazed into her eyes; "Do you know why I love you Claire? You always have a logical answer foreverything." Moving closer to him again, she gave him a tender kiss, and murmured softly; "Ar-Jay, my dear, I love you too. Now enough of this small talk; let’s eat breakfast. At this moment, I suffer from hunger pangs."
To write… to create... an artist must constantly be aware of real intent. To non-creative individuals, an artist is but a performer, and entertainer. Whether the work is true to life, or fictional...it is presented as entertainment for others.
edited by YarnSpinner on 12/31/2012.
edited by YarnSpinner on 12/31/2012
edited by YarnSpinner on 1/1/2013