The Man on the Fence

Fence with ivy


When we see ourselves in the mirror, what is it we see?

Do we see the beauty we are, or do we see the definition of us through the eyes of others? Do we see a trusted lover, or do we see the villain in some Biblical play? Do we see a savior or an executioner riddled with guilt he can never seem to shed?

We are, it seems, nothing more than a cacophony of ideas born through a myriad of experiences.  Each unique in its way, each different in the space from which it views all others. To the rose the muddy waters are poison, to the lily they are home, to the Observer both are equally beautiful.

I do love you, me, that man in the mirror. 
I do love you, me, that woman whom I see. 
I do love you, me, that stranger in the distance. 
I do love you, me, that song that set me free.

And yet, a man sits smiling at himself, nearly laughing at his own debacle. In the voiceless pasture he smiles, knowing what must be done to till this sullen field. On the crowded side he sighs, knowing what must be done to stir the sunken stew within the cauldron the voices will not let him forget.  When on the fence he sits, studying the marveled meaning of it all, knowing each side has it merits in the experience he certainly wants to have.

I curse at you while in the mud before that lily blooms. How dare you assault me at my core, disturb me in my peace, berate me in my solemn slumber? I throw my stones you at you cursed sinners, never quite hitting my mark but knowing I’ve hurt you just the same. The muffled thud, the risen welt, the bruise begins to form.

I curse at me in the well-tilled soil before the rose bursts alive her gifts. How could you lose control, forget your inner light, curse the darkness that gives you rest? I cut myself with the sharpened shards of glass born as I fired bullets within my simple house of glass. ‘Tis lost too many a moment stuck wiping up the blood from places I simply should have left, a frail man pretending to be strong when surrender was all that needed to be done.

I laugh aloud as I sit upon my withered fence. My, how beautiful that lily blooms once the mud has been stirred beneath her feet! How wonderful that rose opened to meet the summer sun! “What is the problem?” I ask from atop my aged perch?

“There is no problem here,” the muddy voice lies. “Certainly no problem here,” comes the calling of the rose. I laugh alive in merriment, not know which is truth and which is lie, but not caring the least in either.

In the spaces that I’ve sat, the waters that I’ve swam and in the rose bushes that I’ve bled, it all comes down to this: Two feet stuck firmly on the Earthen heaven that I stand, a body assaulted yet not succumbed, a mind tested but not defeated, a heart weathered but beating loudly. On either side of the middle there are the places that I play, but it is in the middle that I know. It’s a place of not-yet-Sun but not-yet-storm. It’s a place where the greenest pastures meet and lie to one another, each protesting that “I am greener yet” even if they find no wanderers there to tease. It’s a place were the stones and broken glass dissolve into some wonderful harmony. It’s a place we all can visit, if only we’d sit and play still for a while.

To those I’ve hit with rocks from my garden, I beg for your forgiveness. To those who’ve clunked themselves with rocks tilled from my own soil, I’d bet you to please let go. To those who’ve marveled at my broken glass, please put on your shoes. I’ve grown tired of the crimson treasures you leave behind.

Now I say “good night”, and tomorrow I let come. There is so much to do.


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