Saturday, March 30, 2013

Foggy Memories

Fog set in early this morning before sun-up. As I left the house on the hill, for as far as I could see only dense fog blanketed the landscape, shrouding the houses and barns in a pea soup fog. It was quiet and eerie. As I drove to work I felt that any moment something would come out of the mist and I would disappear behind the smoky scene with no trace of me left behind. As I came upon the railroad track, I stopped and listened for the lone whistle of a train. Of a sudden, at the track’s edge, my car engine simply died. All around me was silent. The fog had muffled the noise of the few cars that were traversing the roads this early in the morning. Not even the wind stirred. It seemed that the world began and ended within the few feet of area that encompassed my vision... I arrived at work, the building quiet and dark, a lone bird sat on top of the building watching without a tune. The building next door's windows stared out unblinking, small cracks in the drawn curtains give the feeling of someone secretly watching from within. Was that movement at the window? I thought I saw a shadow pass-by, a face for an instant. But it couldn't be! This building was a hull, empty of all life for eons. The children who had worked in the dark, dank building were long gone, many before their time. It is days like this, foggy, the view of the world around me cut off and outside sounds muffled, that I swear I can here footsteps shuffling across the room in the building next door, see a peaked face at the window for just a second. And hear the stifled grinding of the gears that ran the antiquated machines so long ago. When next I look up from my desk the sun has poked its head out of the clouds and is beginning to brighten the day. There are people at the door waiting to enter. Soon. But I step to the window for one last look. The old brick building with its tattered curtains and grimy windows waits silently for the wrecking crane soon to come. The lost children wait too, and watch. The wrecking ball will tear down the bricks and mortar; carry away broken bits of machinery, decaying wooden tables and tattered curtains. Where will the lost children go when there is no more building? Will they move on to the next world? Will they stay...and wait...until the new structure is in place and lay claim to rooms within it? I watched as the new building slowly went up. Men calling out orders, hammering, cement machines, machines that belch out horrid smelling smoke, machines with long necks and buckets to lift the men to the top of the building and more. When the men leave for the day, the lost ones come back and gather round the construction site. Sometimes in the mornings, I see evidence of their activities in the night, hand prints on the empty windows, bricks have been moved, scattered about. Some of the cut wooden boards are gone. But they won’t stop the work being done. Soon. I am seeing signs for the new building and what it will hold; there may be hope yet for the lost ones. The day has come the building will be opening today. There are many outside gathered around waiting for entry to the building. They are laughing and talking. I have finally, managed to make it next door to see the new building, in the last months I have been too busy to even look outside to see what is happening. I hear laughter and music coming from the building as I pass sometimes when the door is opened. I see children with smiling faces and hands full of books. Of he lost ones I have seen nothing. As I step through the door, the first thing I see is a young woman on the floor reading to the children gathered around her. There are children on computers, some in chairs reading on their own. Teens and adults reading working on computers, playing games or requesting help at the round desk in the middle of the room. The walls are brightly painted and the large windows will bring the outside in brightening the room even on the cloudiest of days. I smile. The place of pain and misery is gone and in its stead stands a dwelling of great opportunity and learning for all. As I leave, I see them. I almost didn’t recognize them. Their clothes no longer tattered and torn, their faces are rounded filled with peace and contentment.As they see me they smile and then go back to what they are doing, making the pages of he book flutter, moving a paint brush across a page and hovering over children on the computers. The lost children have finally found a home in the Library. It is time for me to rest. I may go quietly now that my children are at peace. You see my building is next; it waits only for the men to come on the morrow. The street is coming to life again, not as it was in my time, but as it will be in the future, friendlier, more tolerant, and full of the knowledge that will bring about a better world.