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dan Rosenhagen

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Sand and Soul
By dan Rosenhagen
Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rated "G" by the Author.

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What we can become from love

Sand and Soul

 It was a waiting like no other. A weight upon wait, upon weight…
upon wait, far beyond a spring season’s patience.
Time seemed to have been trapped and frozen under a winter sky’s smothered sun. A desperately reappearing futility, like a castaway, days upon days, and hopelessly tired eyes scanning the empty ocean for the safety of an sland or any, oh God please… any signs of life.
 
As the greyest of clouds pressed themselves tightly against the back
of the sky, they became no match for the great sun’s laws of light now
peering out around the darkest edges.
Shiny daggers and spears of light pierced through the veil’s heart, defeating the season’s siege and rendering its smothering bondage into mist.
 
Alas, it is spring and as sure as the earth has shifted, the air has
become rich with warm breezes, and birds in flocks journey home to
their sanctuaries, as love’s spell is cast on all things, and man and
woman are then destined to stand, soul to soul, heart to heart,
face…to face.
 
Jonas walked hurriedly on the short cut from the village to the
harbor as if Andrea would be there sooner from the speed of his step.
The whole ordeal played out in his head as he side-stepped rocks and
branches seemingly laying in ambush along the primitive path.
For three years Jonas had felt as if he was in a timeless dream that
began with the departure of his loving Andrea. He remembered the
countless times he had looked into the clandestine sky and witnessed
the waning moon in it’s lonely decent like the fatal reality of a falling
star. How he had waited in desperate anticipation for it to rise in the
heavens to emanate with complete fullness from the union with the
sun’s unadulterated light. But in those moments of weakness he would
ask himself, “Is this unbearable loneliness my fate or is it my destiny,
as fate is my current sentence and my destiny is what I will come to be?”
 
In the chaos of his dilemma Jonas would often reflect on the mental
pictures he had of Andrea, conceived from their past and the farewell
meeting on that day in the harbor. He would conjure them up from
secret rooms in his heart each time he unfolded one of her countless letters, as each letter became a feast of nourishment that fed his love and hopes.
 
Andrea’s father wanted to refine her social manners as he
entertained ideas of Andrea marrying a man successful in the ways of
business, with the hopes of her endowment boosting the dwindling
family worth. He then arranged for her journey and new teachings for
his own gain and peace of mind. And now sadly as fate would have it,
she was returning home as her father Abraham, ironically, was on a
journey from which there would be no return. A destination beyond the
reaches of the earth, the sea, and the sky.
 
As Jonas stood in waiting for her vessel, his tall thin outline
projected its slanted shadow against the hot sand as his windblown hair made the image that was cast there come alive. But what could not be seen in the dark outline was the anticipation in his face and the passion in his heart. It seemed surreal, the lonely haunting of their separation that tormented Jonas might now be exorcised in the ceremony of Andrea’s return, and the demons of his loneliness would be summoned from chambers deep in his soul and sentenced to the bidding of the swirling wind and the ghostly cries of its gales.
 
As he looked outward his eyes strained while they searched the
boundless liquid desert. But then Jonas saw in the distance a large flockof sea birds, frantic and disorganized in their excitement, escorting a ship that navigated the reef below. With curiosity in his face, Jonas
slipped back into his thoughts and imagined that their wings gave them
flight from the thrust of the salty sea breeze’s mingling with the sweet
breath of his beloved Andrea.
 
When the ship reached the harbor the figure of a fragile woman
softened his eyes and elevated his spirit like reaching into the surf for
a hand full of pebbles and discovering a pearl in their midst, as she
stood amongst the small group of voyagers. Andrea’s long black hair
flowed with the movement of the ocean’s breeze and her proud posture
seemed to transform her delicate profile, as if she was the ships
sentinel, the voyage’s protecting angel.
 
The parcels that Andrea brought with her would be sent ahead by a
prearranged carriage to her home on the outskirts of the village, where
her mother was preparing a meal in celebration of the homecoming.
While the ship was being moored, long boats were lowered into the
harbor. The sounds of the birds in flock, the growing excitement from
the anticipating crowd and the faint noises of wooden boats and
riggings along with orders shouted from the deck, exaggerated the
moment into the grandest of affairs.
 
As the passengers boarded the small vessels a sudden and frightening noise of a pulley’s screech, then a snap! Like the stabbing of a knife, the sharp sounds impaled the softness of the gentle breeze. One of the long boats broke loose crashing into the foamy swell just missing another boat loaded with passengers. With commanding pleas the sea farer’s shouts transformed from barking orders to sirens of warning. In that moment Jonas realized how delicate was the thread of life and how the hand of fate could swiftly and decisively dictate its outcome.
 
Jonas regained his breath along with his composure as he watched
the long wooden ores repeated thrusts into the sea, slowly defeating the
stubborn current to deliver the most precious cargo safely to the
crowded shore. A hand reached out from the center of the small vessel
and Jonas instinctively grabbed on to it as he carefully lifted Andrea
from her seat as if to magically rescue her from her past, delivering her
into the present, and back into his life.
 
As the sun willingly and freely gives its heat to the earth and in turn
the earth passionately drinks the light of its drenching, then so with the
purest of emotions they embraced on the edge of the harbor. Their arms
tightly clutching one another as if to be wrenching each other’s past
fears from their souls. Their embrace was in a moment upon a moment
upon a moment, and if time could be frozen in place then heaven would
be finally realized. As tightly as they held on they could not stop the
melting of each moment from escaping into the next, but their joy lived
in the womb of each new instant, then born as a new and vibrant
experience, like the opening of a blossom freely exposing the beauty
that was once locked inside of Itself.
 
Then with concern Jonas spoke, “Oh my dearest soul, I was so
frightened that you may have been harmed.” Andrea responded smiling
back at him, although she was trying to be strong there was a slight
tremble in her voice and an unsteadiness in her hand.
Andrea put her delicate fingers on his lips to silence him, and
whispered, “I have come a long way and my joy must not be smothered
by what might have been.” Jonas’s smile became a grin. Not because of her soft elegance, but the pleasantly unexpected courage in her words, realizing the young woman she had grown to become.
The sun, as if being tested again and again, found its way through the
cloudy maze, and it shone onto the earth only to be blocked by their
images. As they came together their shadows blended like the pouring
of a handful of sand into a handful of sand.
 
In their closeness Jonas could smell the sea’s breeze in her soft hair
and feel the warmth of her bosom against his chest, a sensation that felt as if it was meant to be, like how the earth feels when its thirst is
quenched by the rain or a calmness that comes after a storm. And now
his emotions and senses once seemingly forever dry and barren in a
timeless drift, became lush and bountiful with the foliage of a living
garden that upon its vines yielded the sweet nectar of love.
 
Upon the release of their embrace they drew apart to a close distance
and a position where their eyes could see into the threshold of one
another’s soul. And in their piercing gaze Jonas saw the love she
harbored for him in the reflection of the fire that burned deep inside of
her. Knowing she was saddened by the loss of her father, Jonas
comforted her, sharing his thoughts of compassion and sadness and
then giving her a soft reassuring and comforting smile, and a long
tender slowly rocking embrace. Without saying another word, hand
clutching hand they walked along the edge of the ocean on their way to
the place she was reared and where her mother waited.
On the beach they stopped long enough for Jonas to pick up a flat
stone, he pitched it across the smooth surface of the water. The stone
skipped several times as if the surface was hard and it couldn’t break
through, but then sank from their sight.
 
Andrea said, “Ah, how sad that it sank beneath the surface and now
the beautiful stone is gone.” A slight chill ran through Jonas’s body as
Andrea gazed into the ocean’s emptiness with an expression of despair. At that very instant Jonas felt uneasy and his mind started to feed on his sudden insecure feeling. But the sun’s crystal glimmer bouncing off the waves and the gleam of light reflecting from her eyes drew his attention back into the moment.
 
And then he spoke with a passionate voice that revealed a slight
element of distress, “Andrea it has been countless, the days I have
whispered your name aloud to the wind, cast from my lips in a
desperate hope that you would hear my cries of love in your solitude, as
your ears were turned to the tranquil evening air far away from this
place. For you had caressed my heart with music as you quilled on
parchment the tender emotions that filled your heart. And like a
minstrel setting free the sweet sounds of a harp’s strings with the gentle touch of fingertips, you then filled my heart with your melodies.”
They stood in silence as the deep rumble of a wave pounded its
weight against the shore. In the distance the frantic sound of birds
screeched out as they discovered the seas bounty. He continued, “I
stand here before you soul to soul. And my witness to this is the passion of the ocean, the richness of the earth and the eternity of the sky. And in their presence I freely and humbly offer to you… my heart. Now I must know what sounds fill your ears and what emotions fill your
heart?”
 
Then the sea’s rumbling waves seemed to change into the softened
tones that occupy its depths as Jonas focused on her response. Andrea
looked directly at Jonas, and held out her arm extending her hand to
him. And he cradled her warm hand with a gentle strength only the
temperament of love could allow.
 
At that very moment she turned her head away as if searching for the
answer to his question in the tree line of palms just beyond the beach.
After a moment’s time Andrea turned her head back toward Jonas and
then paused until their eyes reflected one another’s eyes. An uneasiness slowly dawned in her face as she wanted her words to be accepted in the manner that she expressed and felt them. For in so many ways the sanctity of the emotions that dwelled in her heart depended on it. But then she raised her chin and confidently proclaimed, “Though it has been countless seasons on end, we both have lived on separate soil but our hearts have grown together and our souls have never known separation. As I reach out to you, it is the bond of trust that plants the seed of the suckling which has taken root in my heart, and as it grows we will spread the branches of our love.” Andrea stood proudly with her face radiating like a mother seeing her new born infant for the first time.
 
Jonas stared in awe at his beloved Andrea, then walked over to the
shore looking out at the vast waterscape of the sea and cried, “I have
been as empty as the sea is deep and wide.” And then he dropped to his knees and kissed the hand of a gentle wave as it gracefully folded back into itself. And he was humble in saying, “I honor the sea. And
although in its depths live mysteries unknown, its waves have brought
you back to me.” And he then stood with his arms open facing the
horizon. With shuttering emotion he cried out, “And I embrace the
wind for its movement guided you to the place where my soul laid
chained in confinement and my heart’s rhythm became a flutter like the
wings of a butterfly against the siege of a storm. And now my soul has
been released from its bindings and flies freely amongst the clouds, and my heart beats in the rhythm of the bird’s song, and in the beauty of a wave’s curl, humble in its retreat, content from the stroking of its
beaches.
 
As swiftly and without warning as the wind can stir on a tranquil
day, their emotions became exposed, naked to the sun, as they tightly
embraced. Their lips touched with passion’s arrest as if they were
breathing precious life into one another, and tears of joy and once
forgotten desires escaped from their eyes and blended together upon
their cheeks, seemingly summoned downward as one single tear falling onto the thirsty sand then absorbed into the living earth. Then so their hearts were summoned by the laws of love and drawn together as one soul being absorbed into one another’s passions and desires.
Jonas and Andrea continued on, their feet splashing in the surf freely
offering to the sea their footprints as the tide’s surge was final.
 
The breaking waves caressed the beaches’ edges, robbing the shore of their evealing clues of enchanted dreams and moments of folly, drawing
their secrets into lost fathoms, dressed in homage among the company
of vessels doomed, sea shells and mermaids, and the intended dreams of mariners past.
 
A flock of pelicans patrolled the surf near where they now stood,
between the shore and the edge of the village. Jonas smiled and
released her hand reluctantly and turned facing Andrea, “Your journey
was long and the midday sun is arching its way toward the sea. After
you have rested I will come and share the bread and wine of your
celebration.” She then stood on her toes and kissed his forehead.
 Before she stepped back Jonas suddenly clutched her hand and stared
 at her with a look of uneasiness, “Know that when we part I will be
With her soft voice Andrea replied, “Yes, my love. And know that
I will carry you in my heart until I see you again.” Their hands parted as
they slowly slid their palms to the very tips of their out stretched
fingers, drawing away with difficulty as if they were fighting against
the forces of the earth’s magnetic poles. They walked separately in
their own directions. Each step that Jonas took farther away from
Andrea filled his heart with anguish like the day she traveled away and
was gone. Glimpses of sadness that once tormented him manifested in
the back of his mind. But in his faith he knew she would be in his arms
when the sun surrendered its rays to the beauty of the horizon’s
embrace.
 
Jonas was again alone but it was different than before. Now his
loneliness was like being in solitude and at peace with all things. In his
solitude he did not feel the pain of sorrow or destitution of aloneness.
The scent that Andrea wore permeated in his clothing and on his skin
making him feel as if she was next to him. He felt as if he was in a
garden where everything was alive with the aroma of earth and vine and
blossom. Jonas felt full from the beauty of love as if he had feasted on
the fruits of this garden only to rest in his place of worship and savor the
satisfying sweetness of its harvest, a bounty that fulfilled not only his
mind, but his heart and his soul. Now in his new found contentment as
he rested, Jonas drifted off into sleep.
 
Without warning there was a violent thundering rumble! Jonas
woke in a startle. This was not a sound from the sky but a rumbling that
seemed to have shaken the earth’s very core. Jonas escaped from the
confines of his quarters running out into the street. There he saw the
villagers scurrying around confused in expression and seemingly
without purpose of direction.
 
Although the rumbling had stopped there was something else that
planted a great fear and panic inside Jonas and the rest of the villagers.
The rumbling that came without warning became the warning! As they
looked to the ocean, what once was the shore line was now devoid of
water. Shell fish and urchins lay in peril exposed to the sun. The edge
of the sea was abandoning its beaches as if it was being commanded
into its fathoms. This meant only one unspeakable, one unthinkable
thing. The villagers began to run in chaotic desperation but now with
direction and conviction. The foot hills were not far but it was
unknowing how much time there was before the sea returned
with a ravishing vengeance.
 
Jonas’s thoughts turned to Andrea’s safety but the other side of the
village was too far away and his heart sank heavily while trying to stay
alive in the moment’s confusion.
 
The sea reared its head like a giant snake and struck the village with
fury and lightning speed and consumed all that was there. Most of the
villagers stood in the hills by now and turned to watch all that they had
disappear. The ocean’s roar quieted leaving behind part of itself
amongst all that it had broken, as if to remind them all never to forget
its might. But now where was Andrea? Between the moans and cries that surrounded him, Jonas searched the hills feverishly. The sea’s tyranny had changed things forever. For as the seas fury captured the moment, to accept and understand the changes it made would take a life time. Jonas searched like a man obsessed. He came upon as many groups of survivors as he could, many of which were huddling around small fires. So many of them crying at what they had lost from nature’s carnage, tears shed for loved ones swept to the bidding of the sea’s mercy.
 
Throughout the night Jonas traversed the hillside until there seemed to
be no hope and he still continued to move on. It became almost
impossible to navigate the landscape’s ups and downs, ins and outs, in
the darkness and confusion. And to make matters more difficult, the
fortunate hundreds of survivors from a nearby city showered onto the
hillsides as they fled for their lives.
 
And now Jonas laid with his back to the earth and sank into an
exhausted pool of fear, as his hopes of finding his beloved Andrea
became his desperate quest. As Jonas laid in wait, in the darkness, for
the sun’s light to guide him in his search, he seemed to be able to see
more vividly with his eyes closed than open. The small fires that dotted
the hills distracted his thoughts. But when he closed his eyes he could
contemplate his dilemma and the tempest that turned his dream into a
nightmare. When Jonas opened his eyes again he could see what was
left of the village. Roof tops torn from their walls and walls ripped apart
like sand castles that were never meant to be there.
 
The sun was slowly showing its face to the world and the blushing
portrait of the horizon seemed to have a calming effect on the ocean as
if nothing at all had happened. At that moment reality took a hold of
Jonas as he jumped up, his instincts for survival and his faith in hope
instantly consumed him and his search became a quest once more.
Hours of searching became lost within the day’s passing. The sun
retreated into another world as his heart sank into a place of emptiness,
a place where pain and sorrow are shackled to their chamber walls by
the demon of despair.
 
A group of villagers gathered on the edge of the ruins that were once
their homes. Amongst them was another group that was part of the
village’s search party. The oldest of the men came forward and with sad
humility in his voice he reluctantly spoke, “We have searched the
village and with our boats have scanned the waters along the reef. We
have found over 100 poor souls who have perished from the hand of the
sea and we still have hundreds that have not been found. We can only
have hope and pray for their safe deliverance.” At that moment the
sounds of groans and cries wailed out from the crowd as severe as was the pestilence that the sea cast upon them. Jonas swiftly moved to
where the bodies laid covered on the beach. He checked each one
not wanting to find her but desperately needing to know, desperately
needing to keep his hopes alive. Fearing the worst, he approached the
next body near the end of the final row. Jonas slowly drew back the
corner of the blanket. He gasped, a veil of frightened disbelief rained
over him as Andrea’s mother laid there, lifeless. In a frenzy, Jonas
hurriedly checked the rest of the bodies then ran to the shore, fell to his
knees, and howled to the empty sky and the heartless ocean. As a wave
broke, Jonas fell onto the shore, his grasping hand reached into its
receding curl to take back what the sea had claimed, and now he laid in
the surf empty in hand and empty in heart. His body wet from the salty
waves, as the salt in his tears filled the sea.
 
Jonas noticed a small boat nearby on the beach. Instinctively he
grabbed it, dragging it into the surf, paddling out past the reef as his
eyes trained on every swell and wave. He searched until he became
weak and laid back in the boat. His arm hung over the edge. His hand
dangled in the water as if to be there for Andrea to grab on to, giving
Jonas a sense just short of hopelessness. A searcher saw his boat and withering condition and guided it to the safety of the shore. In his heart Jonas knew she was gone and wandered off under the evening sky to nowhere, a place where the sea was dry and barren, the sky’s soft breezes were stagnant, and the fragrance of love became the stench of futility.
 
Nothing could ever stop the destiny of the sun, as its light forever
chases the night’s darkness around the curves of the earth. And nothing
could ever stop the destiny of the wind, as it mingles with all living
things and carries in its bosom their invisible shapes, and the scent of
morning glories and fields of clover. And nothing in time’s domain
could ever change the destiny of sand and soul.
 
As days dissolved into weeks Jonas lived inside his denial which fed
his fears. He laid on the beach, his back forming an impression against
the warm sand. But he could no longer feel its heat or sense the mark he made on the earth. He could only feel the pain from a hole inside his
soul that reached into the darkest abyss, a vacuum where light could not
escape, and souls spiral infinitely downward, never to be in the grace of
mortality, ever again.
 
Nothing came as a surprise. He knew his condition “SHALL” be
accepted. His destiny has been chiseled deep into a spiraling granite
tomb. When the wind’s sand slowly weathers away its etchings, only
then will he cease to fall further into its infinite hole, unbinding its
restraint on his soul, freeing his wings from their ancient cage.
 
His soul, weak, anemic, blind to its senses. All hope has been gone for
so long. Now time deals the hand that plays out his sentence. The ace
of hearts is dead, she died when the queen lost her heart. The cards no
longer have faces, only random numbers that appear one at a time in an
endless progression, in an endless procession. The game is now
controlled by the wild cards, the jokers. They smile at his wounds and
laugh in echoes at his dilemma. In his condition the only friends that he
has is the company of their eccentric decisions and the heartlessness of their purpose. What could possibly be the reason for all of this, the
reason for the brutal tearing in half of a soul and the shattering of its
pieces? And so be it, this nightmare could not be abolished from a
simple awakening, for his eyes cannot be closed to its movements,
trapped in some sort of never ending day mare.
 
All of the emotions he had ever felt were exposed to him like a
skeleton, each rib and vertebrae revealed. But the feelings now were
not sharp and alive. They projected a painful numbing vibration. Each
emotion trapped in its own special feeling, unable to escape from itself
as does the sun emanate its light and heat, but his emotions were unable to express their own purpose to exist. It was as if the forces of the universe were tightly entwined in the spine of each feeling and they
could not escape its grip, ever struggling to be set free, and the universe
denying their natural allegiance to exist in its grace. Holding the very
core of his soul captive in solitary confinement, stretching, tearing off
their garments. Pouring the salt of the living on all his shallow
lacerations and thrusting the piercing blade of love into the wounds that
were eternal.
 
Oddly, what seemed to be the hell of a perilous existence was the reality
of what he had become. He had not even a memory to compare it to. No
contrast to measure its sanity, no joy to measure its pain. There was
only the tranquility of knowing it would not stop. He had no choice but
to accept it. It was him and he was it. But what was this, this acceptance
of reality he grew to understand? The very thing that he became, the
thing that burned his soul and gave him the only feelings that he had,
and he grew to know it as a companion.
 
For the first time something different, something amazingly strange, a
forgotten feeling of wonder. Now in the realization of that feeling, the
feeling of accepting the pain he could not change, he cried.
And then from that event grew more feelings. Like dominos falling
from the persuasion of other dominos, but now they were not falling but
rising from the effect of each persuasive event, standing again for the
first time as his memory could only bow in humility. His soul starving
for life then started drawing itself back into its own fold and shapeless
center. Attaching to the steep walls of its depths clinging like suction
cups, capillaries’ of the new emotions birthing everywhere in orgasmic
jubilation, springing upward from whatever touched the epiphany in his tears.
 
In a sudden flash there was movement. At the speed of light a change
came over him. He felt a presence, a connection to other living souls.
He somehow knew of this obscure place of waiting he found himself in.
This place was in the rhythm of all things. From the abyss he had
escaped and now laid in wait, poised to be born onto the earth again.

 


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Reviewed by Diana Legun 4/22/2012
I read this slowly only once and will read it again and make some responsive comments, but I am guessing that your original main vision was the end -- those last six paragraphs -- and that maybe you built your story upwards from that start point. Just a guess because those six paragraphs are solid and honed to precision in conveying the end-place for Jonas. There isn't any blank spot left for me in this ending, where I am wondering how Jonas came around to where he found himself. That part of this story is loaded, and the effect is astonishingly visceral. More soon ~~ Diana
Reviewed by Jane Noponen Perinacci 4/22/2012
Wow!

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