Sunday, June 8, 2008

Aldred Falling

He falls over backward, more out of instinct than anything else. Gravity is the ancient enemy of men shaped like Aldred, and a wise man bends before an unbeatable foe lest he be shattered. So down he goes, distributing the fall across his ample back, adipose tissues acting as a natural shock absorber. He feels a moment's pang, as his prized gabardine raincoat has only just been dry cleaned after years of neglect, and now here he is, pressing it firmly (to say the least) against the grass. But you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, and you can't fall properly without staining a few raincoats. There are consolations at least: the odor of well-crushed clover is wafting up around him. It is a relaxing smell, and Aldred's damaged dignity is instantly repaired.

A contented sigh rolls through his bulk, and Aldred thinks to himself that if one must slip and fall, it is best to have a pastoral setting to do it in. The sky is simply perfect: the rainclouds (presumed architects of his tumble) are parting, and sunbeams are fading in all up and down the meadow. His arm stretches out, walking itself by the fingers across the ground. When the arm reaches full extension, the fingers splay out and then curl in, grasping a handful of clover. The elbow bends, the hand uproots the clover, and travels in an arc to Aldred's nose. He squeezes the clover and inhales deeply. It seems scarcely possible, but his body relaxes further. Tentatively, the hand moves to the mouth and allows it to take a small exploratory taste of the crushed clover.

The flavor is incredible, integrating one more sense into what is turning out to be an ecstatic experience. Aldred the man is no longer there: he is a heap of clover, rudely and robustly growing in the sun, an example to point to if one wanted to define "burgeoning". He is leaves and stems and roots and that glorious smell and flavor, all so delicate and intertwined, following nothing but the sun. He lies like this for hours, until mystic ecstasy gives way to earthy somnolence. As the sun begins to set, his quiet snores ride the breeze like hawks, gliding in lazy circles over the mountain below.

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