Those Unheard Are Sweeter

By on Oct 18, 2020 in Fiction

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4

Colorful dream over restaurant table

O wild wet wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being. People don’t realize the importance of the autumn wind. It shakes out the old and churns in the new. I remember, as a boy, raking leaves in our backyard onto flagstone where we could burn them safely. Nothing quite like those old bamboo rakes. Their long fingers gathered dead leaves, and if your arms didn’t tire, you created piles and piles that made Egyptian-like pyramids. But the season’s sharpness made the work welcome; the grass could never be greener, the sky never bluer. How strange to feel so alive when all that surrounds you is dying. Perhaps some urgency exists in our blood, an urgency embedded eons ago, that stores sustenance within us when the earth turns barren. And all those leaves! So many shapes and shades, but as the days toppled like dominoes, all the leaves changed to one color: brown. Beneath a gray, late-autumn sky, the tawny harvest was ripe for the fire. The burning leave smelled savory and pungent, containing all of nature. The wind, like a wild spirit or an inspired artist, carried the fragrance across the dreaming earth and filled plains and hills with living hues. Nature is forever unbound; it is the ultimate art and artist.

“Are there any true artists today?” Alison asks.

Barbara states: “I don’t see anything interesting in the way of art, literature, or music.”

“At the risk of sounding antiquated” — Geoff often starts a mild diatribe that way — “young people haven’t taken the time to study the past. They don’t know quality. They don’t know how high the bar should be, so something that should rank low ranks falsely high.” He stops to let his words take effect, quite satisfied with the measure of his voice.

After a moment, Barbara speaks. “Today’s so-called music annoys me more than anything. It’s absolute nonsense.”

“We may be an odd generation,” Alison declares, “but at least our music made sense. Guitars played sounds, not shrieks.”

“It’s funny you mentioned guitars,” Barbara says with a smirk. “Did you know that James played the guitar once?”


“Long ago. Honestly, though, he was terrible.” She laughs heartily. “So glad he stopped.”

Yes, it was long ago. When I was sixteen I read how Elvis Presley, when he was a teenager, played his guitar on the lawn within his apartment complex when his family was in between houses and in the thick of hard times. So, I tried it. It was a crazy thing to do because I’m not an extrovert, but I was young, and youth can afford to be foolhardy.

It was the summer. In the town park where so much green blurred a person’s vision, I sat on and under that world of green and played old rock and roll songs with the few chords I knew. Terrible? Well, I certainly wasn’t Elvis. But I felt alive in a way I have never felt since. People politely avoided me—except for one girl who didn’t dress like the other girls, didn’t look like the other girls, and didn’t act like the other girls. Lucy. She was special, yet she belongs to every age. As I sat on the grass and looked up; she approached and seemed to float in the sky. Her voice, like a dulcimer, sounded melodious.

She spoke to me, sang songs with me, and played the guitar with me. Her slender fingers guided mine against the frets to create sounds I had heard but didn’t know how to form. Impulse pushed us along, and perhaps I was in love. Was it merely physical? Who can place boundaries on emotions? Perhaps early love is the best love. It may not be the longest, but it is the purest.

Lucy was the kind of girl who dwelt among untrodden ways. Unnoticed by most men, as a tiny violet against a mossy stone would be missed by a hiker along a forest path. Her face was fair, her hair loose, her garments thin, and her flesh unbridled. Lucy lit into my life during an extraordinary summer. Temperate days and mild nights; gentle rains and delicate breeze. Blooming flowers kept budding; more and still more, later blossoms for the bee until they thought joy would never cease. The season over-brimmed us. Yes, Lucy stayed the summer. She was more radiant than a solitary star, yet she was not as steadfast. Our time was brief, and then she vanished as if she had ceased to be. Before leaving, she told me to keep playing the guitar, if only for myself. She said that life is a swerving river. You follow the current but cannot control it. You deceive yourself and think you navigate a course, but the river determines your direction. And all directions end together. Like the river, Lucy moved on. My life was diminished yet enriched. That’s when my reality started. Up and high and far away.

“Everything keeps going up,” Barbara says. “Our health premiums are so high.”

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4

Pages: 1 2 3 4


Thomas DeConna spent the first half of his life in New Jersey and the second half in Colorado. He taught English for thirty-nine years. He and his wife look forward to traveling through fair weather or foul, whatever life’s journey presents.