Chris J. Rice

The world is full of stories, and from time to time they permit themselves to be told.
Old Cherokee Saying

While fishing with Grandma Conway, I found an old stony blade, pointy shaped, hard as glass, sharp as a knife, and dense as metal. Waiting on Grandma I entertained myself by striking it against the handle of the tackle box. Watched it spark when dashed against the metal edge. Saw its uses and thought to take it home with me. But Grandma put a stop to that. Took out her notepad and wrote this warning: What you carry out in your pocket is never yours to own. It belongs to the forest, to The Little People. First you must say, Little People I would like to take this. You must ask, if only in your heart. If they do not give permission, do not take as your own what you think you have found, or they will put a hex on you. Though I had yet to discover a familiar and guiding spirit, whenever I spent time in nature with Grandma Conway, I believed in them. In the woods the light deceives, dead trees crack underfoot, the wind disturbs the surface of the trail, and later you realize what you thought you saw was only what you dreamed.

While fishing with Grandma Conway, I found an old stony blade, pointy shaped, hard as glass, sharp as a knife, and dense as metal. Waiting on Grandma I entertained myself by striking it against the handle of the tackle box. Watched it spark when dashed against the metal edge. Saw its uses and thought to take it home with me. But Grandma put a stop to that. Took out her notepad and wrote this warning: What you carry out in your pocket is never yours to own. It belongs to the forest, to The Little People. First you must say, Little People I would like to take this. You must ask, if only in your heart. If they do not give permission, do not take as your own what you think you have found, or they will put a hex on you. Though I had yet to discover a familiar and guiding spirit, whenever I spent time in nature with Grandma Conway, I believed in them. In the woods the light deceives, dead trees crack underfoot, the wind disturbs the surface of the trail, and later you realize what you thought you saw was only what you dreamed.

Maybe if I knew enough, understood enough, I’d find a way to go back to the beginning, back to the place where everything went awry. Find the nutmeat of me, the part of me that mattered, start my life anew, and grow the correct way. Live the life I was meant to live.

In English class we studied “The Raven” by Poe, lingering over a word in the refrain, “nevermore.” Discussed the meaning of repetition.

“It puts pressure on you,” the teacher said. “Do you get it?” he asked, over and over.

It had something to do with loss and death and the weight of all you couldn’t see, might never overcome, or ever fully understand.

—RAMBLER a work in progress

Thoughts of the after-land, the Nightland of the Dead, the hereafter, a dreamy place of zero obligations, I had them. Too long rootless, too long without somewhere, anywhere to call my own, to house my increasing inwardness. Seriously gob- smacked by all the endings, all the beginnings, all the departures.

—RAMBLER a work in progress

Such is the wrath of the mothers, such is the cry of the mothers, such is the lamentation of the mothers…

—Edna O’Brien

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

—– Haruki Murakami