David's Ladder
January 6, 2007

In the post Time Out, I put up this picture. It was kind of an unofficial Wordless Wednesday thing ... today I realize that I need to add words to it. (This is the main reason I do not participate in Wordless Wednesday ... I'd never be able to leave it alone every week!)

Potato Creek State Park Photo
Click for the larger picture (~50kb)

This is a spot at Potato Creek State Park in Indiana, not very far from where I live. This particular bend in the path, reminds me of Lake Tenkiller, where my grandparents lived while I was a teenager. I can remember always looking at the far shore when we'd walk down to the lake. Thinking what a mystery it always was ... the same way I used to think about "tomorrow" as a kid. Knowing that the far shore was a concept, not a destination. Cuz once you arrived at tomorrow or at the far shore ... it was no longer tomorrow or the far shore. It was today. It was here.

The distance was far more interesting than here and now.

I enjoyed the shrouded mystery of the far shore in ways that I still can't articulate.

But this picture in particular reminds me of a short story that I wrote back in the 90s. My first thought was that I'd make this an extended entry and post the story as well ... but I just pulled it out of the filing cabinet ... and well, umm, it sucks. The concept was really good, but the writing was ... well, that of a young 20something trying to write flash fiction. Trying to write a hybrid of story and Literature (spoken with that shitty stuck-up English Professor As King of All Knowledge accent).

So, of course, since it's a good concept, I had to re-write it. And since I was more focused on writing this post than re-conceptualizing the story at this moment, it's still quite short and not quite as fleshed out as I would like it. But it gives you the point.

"Ladder in the Lake" (opens in a new window)

It struck me Sunday, when I went down to Potato Creek again ... that this spot is very much like where David goes swimming. Of course, it was darker then ... and ready to storm.

But this misty far shore, that place where you can never actually arrive, strikes me as very much the kind of place David was trying to reach.

The problem, of course, being that once you reach the far shore, the place you came from has now become the far shore.

The other problem being that if you focus too hard on the far shore, you miss a lot of other things. The danger signs of an impending storm. The actual distance. How you can manage to make the crossing. What you might actually find when you get there.

And, sometimes you just don't have the strength you once thought you did.

And you settle for something in the middle that ought to be good enough. But that "good enough" is sometimes just a mirage, a story you tell yourself so that you don't feel bad about not embarking on the full journey into the Misty Mountains or through the Mines of Moria.
(No, I have NO idea, why the Tolkien books suddenly popped into my head ... I suppose this picture somehow reminded me of Bilbo and the others heading off to the Grey Havens or whatever it was. And, no, I haven't seen the movies. I refuse to see them. I love the books.)

Sometimes it does feel like there's a ladder in the middle of the lake, ready to take us to some magical otherworld which will somehow make things better.

But like the far shore, that ladder is much more of a journey than it is a destination.

Just a bit of rambling pseudo-philosophy for the weekend.

Peace.

Posted by Red Monkey at January 6, 2007 6:21 PM | Storytelling: She was, of course, supposed to be sleeping. | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |

 

MsDemmie said:

An excellent bit of reading for Sunday Morning :) Thank you

January 7, 2007 6:21 AM

 

mike said:

Pretty darn good read for a quick re-write ender.

January 7, 2007 7:40 PM

 

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February 11, 2007 1:02 AM
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