It was the springtime, and somewhere in the middle of the west desert are children, children in the foothills of a mountain where the shadows gather. They sit outside the boundary of the funhouse, outside the boundary of the park where the giant Indian lives. He is smiling. He smiles forever, carved as he was by everyone, by us, by his maker to look at us with judgmental eyes, pointing out everything we ever did to his people and everything we know to be true.
And there, within the boundary, are the slides. Maybe ten, maybe twenty. Only it’s springtime and they’re not operating yet; they’re full of ice and full of the hopes of little children that haven’t arrived yet. But they will. They will. When the sun comes, the air will be full of the laughter of little children and the water will be full of the memories of little children sliding, little children swimming, little children remembering in the future.
But at the moment, the air is simply full of ice and of the breath that you could see only two weeks ago.
And they cross the line; they cross the boundary, these young men of the spring. They pass by the Indian where he sits, looking at them with the same wise eyes that his maker well saw, well read in his ancestors, as though he were stealing souls, as though he were stealing from Shelley. And so it goes.
They climb and in the boundary they find what they are after: gravity and the path to the water, to the below, to the darkness, to the womb. And they stand. And they talk. And somwhere within the boundary they find their camaradarie and they know; they know where they are going and what they are doing.
A smile. A gesture. A slice of life and a slice of knowing and they are off. They are off. Together they descend, together they race toward darkness and wetness; together they race toward the metaphor, toward their innocence. In and out, around and around, circumventing this corner and following that one, up on the ridge and down below the edge, in and out of the shadow and in and out of the evening. It is all what they are; it is all what they will be, and they are one with it. They love it and they love each other and they love their matrons for having borne them.
And at length, one of them loses a wheel. And then another. And now they are wild and reckless; now they slide, now they twist and now they turn. Now they are primoridial and related.
When all is done, they have stopped; they are somewhere along the way, somewhere in the twists and tunnels, somehwere in the dark truth and miasmatic meanderways of the suburban villa into which they’ve plunged. They aren’t particularly wet and they aren’t particulary dry.
And they realize that they are alone; beyond the boundary lies nothing and no one. They have been left. They are alone, alone, alone, like a mixed-race child, like a prodigal, like a rebel son.
Together they run.
Together they run.