Summertime 2020, “Colorful days”

Joshua Farley, Sophomore Contributor

This is part of the series The Creative News, which captures the “atmospheres” of feeling during the year 2020 as pieces of fiction.

     They pedaled for miles, and just like his old days, the crushing emptiness— of thought and heart— was being transformed to inspiration and feelings of appreciation for the green, natural world that was opening up around them and around the houses.

     Trees bowed low around them and the sweet heat of the sun put a warmth into their core, their bones. Like that other town he knew, the houses dotted the hilly streets. Their usual writer’s circle was in session about now, he reasoned. They continued on, and he continued to practice with his creative muscles, telling stories about the people nearby. 

     The only other place he knew of with such an atmosphere was his dreams. They were usually quite fantastical, and he often recounted them at parties, if anyone at all would listen.

     There were many things he used to wish for, a club to discuss these things with, motivation and time and the right words to put his thoughts onto paper, and an audience who would listen. On such a nice day in the outdoors, it suddenly came to him that he had all of those things, a fact he had overlooked for who-knows-how-long. It made him happy to think that he had someone as great as She was to help him through his troubles.

     He recalled the swirl of dreams that had graced his nights over the years. They were atmospheres unto themselves, but he saw these specifically as colors. He had been swapping ideas with his wife for a few months, and he tested his tentative skills on the ride by talking through these colors, and it brought him a lot of strength-of-mind.

     As they continued that rejuvenating journey, he reminded his wife of all the stories he had meant to write down, that took place on that Tree City trail, and in his wildest dreams from the age of sixteen. . .

 

Summertime 2020: “Colorful Days” 

Special moments for all time remain frozen in the mind’s eye. All my life’s rendered a film, a scrapbook of vibrant colors that’re fading fast. The treasured slides of Super 16 are colors all their own. To feel them, see them, be them again brings a shudder to my spirits. How can we all be a memory?

I have spent the many centuries locked up inside my head, and as we descend further into the crypt, I stay fast asleep. Life is rushing fast around, the walls of the chamber block it out. 

I reach out to my compatriots under the guise of dreaming. Dreaming idly, dreaming of the friends I left far behind for the journey. Their color calls me into the complex corridors of my own mental complex— my faculties. . .

The iridescent texture to it all is making my head spin. In another room in the castle I fall to the neon carpet, and the planets take me under. I think I lost my way, somewhere along the line. Taken in by the deep well of feeling, those watching eyes, my inner soundtrack blaring out of control.

***

Think about the months ago

     Our past selves are sitting there, forever as ink. In a color, it’s sepia. Everything is a rush, ebb, and flow until I freeze the frame. Now it’s just us looking at each other in that flood of feeling.

     Sepia, there’s a word. Perhaps it’s an oversimplification. Of course the Roman candles on the wall flicker and hum, casting my face and yours in the light of a crypt. Still, there’s much more to it than that. In this particular episode, I have been greeted and blessed by all the earth’s tones: Red-of-the-Earth, blue-of-the-Earth, green-of-the-Earth, orange-of-the-Earth, sepia, and jazz dominate my senses, but there’s something more, too. Imagine the extremest reds and blues, fuchsia, yellow, green, and colors still unnamed except with the breathless “wow” of a stunned spelunker of this new dream-space my thoughts and ideas have learned to live in along with the times. My impossibly small Kodak of reality is swirling with the knowledge that the colors in front of me are enough to never have to dream of anything different again. It’s the gift of a lifetime, simply put, thank you.

     At the center of it all, two mirrors, reflecting myself back at me. From them I’m picking up a lot of my green, but more importantly, the richest color I’ve known in my lengthy photographic history. It draws me in like an arm pulling me into a lake, but the color is indescribable. The color of the mirror, conceptually, is soul. In the mirrors, what parts are opposite, and what parts are the same; I don’t think I’ll ever know the answer. 

****

Back forward in time, take a breath; let’s keep going through these prints together. I’d like to look back now while it’s all still in focus. Our best moments are not yet hazy. We can whirl back through this story together. Our youth is calling— ancient hours when we learned just how magic felt.

We really should get to unravelling our collective newsreels; all our loops of tape. We can watch the faded blues, greens, and rusty oranges. All our great-greats are cutting up vegetables in what seems like the world’s largest icebox. Do the colors still make them happy?

***

I’m older than I’d even been before. Is there a chance I can still slow down?. I’ll grab us a bench on a walking trail; think about the dreams we left behind. Earth tones and fallingtones call me back into my feet as I start to remember where I am: on a path that calls me to stay smiling, beyond all conceivable costs. Those colors of hysteria are bleeding from my mind; Multisaturated hemorrhaging as I return to the forest floor; the seabed.

****

Next page is a full-color print, a foggy night, dew’s falling. We’re walking the soccer fields below a streetlamp that’s seen more colors than we could name in the time it takes to walk there. The moon is an eye in the clouds that we can’t seem to get our hands around, though we talk about what that must feel like. 

We walk and talk through the woods and wolves for hours, thinking about a future that’s coming that we won’t ever know. Nonetheless, it’s a layer of safety against the muggy cold to think that a simple conversation about the little things: the family we’ve known, our favorite colors— to know that we have this moment, to add as a leaf in the book that all our great-greats can look back at and say, wordlessly, whisperingly, “. . . ”

***

     “So that’s what it felt like, to live in such a quick explosion of indelible happiness. That’s what it must have been, to cast a light that survived the eons, and shows me the colors that may only be seen in the heart”

****

I concede that such a walk-and-talk simply hasn’t happened yet, along with numerous cruises, hikes, and mansions with staircases and coffered ceilings and frescoes that take you to a land that’s out-of sight to those who simply don’t know. At least, they haven’t taken place, outside of us, under the moon. Still, there’s a chance that you’ve seen my film-show, I suppose. Dreams are realer than any of us could ever know. Maybe you know about all these colors without me having to say so. It would be so much easier to just hand you the negatives.

I’m older than I’d even been before. Is there a chance I can still slow down?. I’ll grab us a bench on a walking trail; think about the dreams we left behind. Earth tones and fallingtones call me back into my feet as I start to remember where I am: on a path that calls me to stay smiling, beyond all conceivable costs. Those colors of hysteria are bleeding from my mind; Multisaturated hemorrhaging as I return to the forest floor; the seabed.

Dreams are the iridescence to memory’s color.