THE RAVINE

Sunk of earth was the lacking which formed the ravine. Long dry of the accumulations that once cut and bore it’s ditch. 

He went to it’s vacancy in the evening when the setting sun lit a bevy of pastel mirage atop the tree line. The scene of the day’s end always made him feel surreal like the peak of a lucid dream. One in which he could articulate the bright cool of the eastward winds upon his squinted brow. The faint of stars were mustering behind a closing curtain of sky, glistening like the promise of winter. 

The man would frequent the hollowed river bed to witness the leavings of what God once had made with his gargantuan breath. The ominous hum of tires just out of earshot here like a broken fan buzzing on low in an adjacent room. Every square inch of space on the planet was all but drowned and slabbed with the morose of concrete. 

This was the last escape. A few acres of green-space whose boundary would’t last developmental pressure from the black smoke of corporate greed much longer. Dollars are hungry for their own making’s fodder.

A family of deer are frozen in a still of awareness as the man passes on his way to the ravine and their grace is heightened by the tightened enclosure of diminishing land upon them.The land folds on itself by the invisible hands of progress like a page being turned in the story man writes of his ideal world. 

The man worships in the silent breadth of nature’s last altar. The last place on the planet that silence exists. People are no longer able to control or cease the spew of their cancerous chatter. Speakers on every street corner broadcast celebrity news and governmental dictations at unimposing decibels.     

He summons a memory, like an edged crack in moisture forsaken clay, of going to the forest with his father as a boy. They would watch the evening fall across the sky like blood from the foot of a wader in the shallow of a stream, spreading like the profuse of scarlet. birds would stir in the chill of dusk but not a budge from either men. Neither would spout an utter. just watch the land. feel the quiet of the space encompassing them.This is how he learned to know the whereabouts of God’s unfold. 

His father had long since perished and so had the open land. Almost as if both where ghosts of similar passings. 

Some mist evaporated from moisture lifting up off the uncut marsh.

The man has known the ravine and it’s last parcel of verdancy, coming to it every evening for the stretch of a decade.Never accompanied by a soul other or seen the likes of fellow people-kind. The notion of nature, openness, free-speaking, or free-thinking are specters of a lost hour. 

He reached the ravine from a path cut through a wood on this particular and fateful eve. The wind is different, feels alien to him. Scans the scape in search for what idiosyncrasy has caused his senses to be alarmed. 

_

Two eyes like the retreat of a dying star’s vacancy upon it’s own gravity. Like simmering coals on the brim of a greater heat.

On the opposite bank of the ravine she stands plainly in view amongst the deadwood and brush.  

She views his form unknowing of his history prior to this very instance or the sanctuary the ravine is as beheld by his presence. She was widely unaware that a place of natural growth like this was in existence. Her ignorance waning.

Her vehicle veered from the freeway as if magnetized from it’s routine commute by the needed fulfillment of fate’s dusk. The final natural habitat reckoning a blood offering as its recompense. The cleared dirt of path off the back roads treaded by her as if recalling this deviation from a dream already elapsed. 

She felt as if though she was halting some grand set of gears in a great clock by being in this place. She had never stopped to think or be silent and it was all amalgamating into a stained glass window she could not resolve. A branch snapped high in the eaves of treetop and was caught by it’s own kind after an almost controlled free fall. When she looked back across the ravine he was no longer unaware of her. 

_

He felt deep in his gut what he wondered might have been the pang that man first felt when witnessing womankind on that eve of creation. He knew women but had never beheld one in the midst of a nature unknown. 

She bore a likeness, a Verisimilitude in her intrusion of his dream scape. 

He did not know whether to be enraged or to worship. The quickening pulse within him felt like both steam and absence.

Their stare was locked in waiting to know what would become of such an encounter. Eyes gasping towards opposite edges of the ravine with a lead-like gravity. The only thing giving motion was the slight sway of the limbs above in the dusk’s last wind. He had never spoken aloud here, never heard his own voice in this place for reverent silence was the only response he could allow of himself. 

_

Who are you, he hollered out across the ravine without moving a millimeter. His inquiry immediately returned to him from it’s volley off of the cliff wall and bank beneath her feet.

A wind picked up and brought down a branch from on high thudding near her. She was frozen in the sanctity of this silent and reverent altar she had never experienced and was lost to words. She felt something like the enlightenment of a spiritual sensation grip within her guts. 

Will you not tell me who it is you are, he beckoned ashamed at his breach of the code of silence he had kept in the ravine since the day he found it.

He saw her arm raise as if she were going to wave but he was not given time enough to understand her gesture.

A crag in the steep gave, evacuating the cliff from beneath her feet. Her form vanished becoming lost in the rugged matter now careened at the depths of the ravine’s hollow belly. The sound of the land avalanching so instantly reached him seconds after his eyes had captured it and his mind had not yet believed the reality of it. 

The silence resumed and the ravine was just as it had been moments before save for the loss of the adjacent cliff from his stance. He had not moved a muscle and yet every single one in his body was pulled taught to it’s length in tension. 

Before he could even flee to the depth where she was now encumbered to dig her body out from under the mass of the ravine’s shelf he knew no soul could have survived such a thing befalling them. 

_

He remembered in the forest with his father so many years before coming upon a slain deer in the thicket. he felt as if somehow he were responsible and at fault. A feeling of guilt of whose origin he could not conjure. 

He knew he had not done it, not taken the life away from this creature laying before them but he knew one of his kind had and that made him culprit in his eyes. 

He looked up at his father but his father not down towards him. He reckoned time must give us the stomach for the unfathomable. 

_

He walked back down the path he had trodden hundreds of times knowing he would not ever again. He began to weep heavy tears that steamed in the humidity and prayed in non syllabic tones. He heard a cry strike from behind him. 

An osprey flew wide of the eaves perpendicular to his step and creaked sharply down: Will you not tell me who it is you are.