Which Side Are We On?
Little Nonsense hit the bone again and again until it splintered into a sharp point.
He wanted to make a spear to kill the long shadow that frightened him in his dreams.
Little Nonsense saw movement from the corner of his eye just as the bone broke
into a point and he swung it to the side, letting go. He missed the rabbit and it darted
towards the blackberry thicket. A few seconds later its high-pitched squeal rent the still
air. In its hurry to escape it had overlooked the snare. Little Nonsense had frozen
instinctively in place as soon as he had let the new weapon fly, but now he scurried into
the hollow and quickly broke the rabbit’s neck. He tried to use the bone to skin the rabbit,
but it was too big and unwieldy. He had to use his jackknife. It spoiled his involvement
with nature to use a jackknife, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him.
That night Little Nonsense took the sharp bone to bed with him. He dreamt so
many shadows it was difficult figuring out which one to kill.
In the morning, Weasel Eyes came to see the dead shadow. He was disappointed.
He said Little Nonsense had killed the wrong one and was even afraid of the dead little
shadow and lied about the dream so he wouldn’t have to try to kill a bigger one. He said
the rabbit broth tasted like glue. He said Little Nonsense probably didn’t even kill the
shadow in his dream but got scared of his own shadow when he was awake and fell on it.
But Little Nonsense wasn’t afraid anymore. That’s how he knew he had already
killed the biggest shadow/ Even if he didn’t understand how he had done it or where the
shadow had gone when it died.
Little Nonsense took the sharp bone outside and buried it under the old catalpa tree.
When he was finished, he put some carrot seeds into the ground and thought about the
shadow of the tree. He was inside the tree’s shadow when he was thinking this and it was
waving and he was not frightened.
When he saw Weasel Eyes the next day, he took him to the grave of the bone
weapon and told him a huge long shadow was inside. Weasel Eyes wanted to dig it up,
but Little Nonsense told him the tree’s shadow was protecting it and made him listen. The
two boys listened to the shadow and knew their dreams would never be the same. They
tried to imagine what was happening to a creature that could sound like that. They tried to
go home, but home was not there anymore. It surprised them that they were not
frightened by this.
Fiction. Modern Abstract Fables.
(First edition, hardcover with dustjacket, 524 pages, $36.50 USD.)
Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days draws from fairy tales, a condescending of a 1938 Social Studies reader for 6th grade, an 1890 handbook on marital compatibility, numerous annoying educational advancement studies, the myths and legends of third-world countries and minority peoples, pulp fiction, a history of carnival side shows, folktales, frequent conversations with Crows, Owls and a wide variety of underground inhabitants, insects and the people who collect them, Joseph Cornell, Günter Eich, Russell Edson, the French Surrealist poets, the Quay Brothers, letterpress printing, and the author’s inability to channel his imagination linearly.
Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.