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Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky’

It was one of those moments when perception was more like the vanishing point on a painting. A long, smooth, gray carpet rolled out from somewhere within the structure. Climbing stairs, walls that narrowed due to distance and size, and long rolling garden made the obviously huge structure look tiny. On either side small white crosses and old worn stones marked the otherwise innocent yard as a gravesite.

Above the endless deep blue sky of Kentucky signaled a beautiful day. A gust of wind pushed Clay’s straight as a board body toward the sprawling Monastery. The gritty sound of rubber tires slowing on tar notified Clay of a car behind him. One door opens, shuffling feet, then another door opens, more shuffling feet, then the trunk opens, bags hit pavement and finally a ‘thank you’.

The voice was suddenly next to him in physical form. A tall slender shadow torso stretched across the light gray walkway and deposited the head in the grass. The smell of dominance wafted from him. It was a strong, clean, spice. It was a scent Clay had smelled before on high end authors of stuffy nonfiction. He was inevitably wearing a clean black suit tailored to his body, a simple solid tie, and a white undershirt.

His suit was actually gray. The tie was blue. As Clay turned his head to observe this the man greeted him with sunglass eyes and extended a hand. Movement in his eye brow alluded to a wink. He was massive, manly, a 7 story mountain. He was clean shave, slightly tan, well kempt, and obviously confident.

“The name is Clay.” Clay said meekly extending his hand to be swallowed by his.

“You write those trash novels.” His voice implied a jocular sense of friendship but it was one of clear pity. The type of sense that an older brother has when he teases his younger sibling. It was five seconds into the conference and Clay was being pitied.

“Trash sells.” Clay fired back.

“I wouldn’t know.” The man said as he winked again and walked toward the monastery. Clay thought about saying ‘nice to meet you’ but he hadn’t really met him at all. The man never introduced himself, never eluded to his works or why he was here. He merely walked like he owned the place, a colossus straddling the world, with his feet in the clay and his head in the heavens.

Again the feeling of flesh and muscles were absent. It was middle school all over again. The wind past right through Clay and deposited his soul at the door of the Monastery. He was greeted by a man dressed in white with a black shawl. He bowed as two others took his bags. Without mass time meant nothing. Things became simple. He was inside. That inside was particularly warm and big. The inside’s roof was too high. He felt small inside. There was a big circle. Few people in the circle. The colossus was inside the circle. The room was white.

There were candles. There was an altar, a huge organ, a giant tapestry. It had what appeared to be saints in a Christmas tree reading. It had one word on it: “Caritas”. It was unbearably hot. More people entered. Some in the monochromatic penguin habits. Other’s in business suits. One was disheveled and wearing a Hawaiian shirt. He tried to smoke inside, the penguins surrounded him. He grinned, took a couple puffs, and then flicked it into a bowl of holy water.

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Typical. The rolling green hills that folded into each other. The arcing pine trees. The clear blue sky with small cotton clouds in it were all typical. The clear reflective water was typical, the bumpless road was typical, and the idiot driver blathering about the beauty of it was typical. The rather regular and utterly predictable man thought himself rather sophisticated as he pontificated upon the infinite beauty of nature. Clay, on the other hand, had long risen above such pointless adoration and was desperately trying to change the topic.

“I hear the Maker’s Mark distillery is around these parts.” Clay inserted this as the driver had digressed from the wonderful beauty of the natural surroundings to what seemed to be the history of Kentucky erupting from such beauty.

“Yessir. Finest whiskey the world wide. Nothing compared to the natural spring water though.”

“Or a woman’s kiss…”

“Well that neither I suppose.” The drive got that look in his eye that Clay knew and loathed. The look reflected in those blank siphon eyes were always followed by something like the words that then came from the driver’s mouth. “What brings you to a place like this?”

“Business.”

“I don’t reckon too many businesses are like yours then.”

“That is certain.”

“You write, don’t you?”

“Occasionally. Are you a fan?”

“Oh no. I keep to reading the bible and perhaps the life of the saints.”

“I see.”

“Do you?”

“Excuse me?”

“See. You said ‘I see’.”

“Oh yes. I mean I understand.”

“Oh. Well I just reckoned that you were here for the seminar on God’s place in literature that is taking place down here in Gethsemani.”

“A seminar?”

“Oh yes. Authors from all over are coming to discuss the topic. They say Fr. Raphael is the best at drawing out the soul and then puttin’ it on paper.”

“I find ink works better than soul.”

“You’re the author not me.”

“But where would I be without a driver?”

“Nowheres… that’s where.”

“Exactly, now if you wouldn’t mind the process of getting to know someone is rather intense and I have writing to do before we reach Gethsemani.”

“I bet this beautiful nature will sure help.”

“I tend to keep my eye on the paper.”

“Yeah but it must be nice to draw inspiration from all this.”

“All what? Some ancient trees that strive only for height? Grass that exists only to be cut? Water trapped in a cycle of purification? This is all purposeless, meaningless stuff that you only admire out of ignorance. Its just big and complicated. There is nothing beautiful about it.”

“I reckon you’re right. But I hafta disagree with you.”

“If I am right, how can you disagree?”

“Thats easy. I just don’t agree.”

Clay’s mind tried to wrapped around the driver. It always offended him that others could be so simple. All this man wanted out of life was to drive and see nature. He aspired to no greatness, aimed at no virtue, and just sat and admired nature all day long. Though he didn’t harm a soul, his way of life still irked Clay for some unknown and secret reason… a secret even to himself.

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Previous Entry Found At: http://veritasexlogos.wordpress.com/2008/05/22/stories-told-to-be-forgotten-vii-the-intruder/

The darkness was pierced suddenly by the sliding open of the channel between Clay and the father. Inside the cramped iron maiden the thick dust could be tasted but not seen. Clay let out a choked whispered prayer for forgiveness later rattling on uninterrupted about the plethora of sins both new and previously omitted or more likely forgotten. The father sat in silence out of disbelief or perhaps even shame over his fellow man’s emotionless enumeration of his adventures. When silence finally returned to the chamber the father groaned and pulled from his vocabulary the one word Clay did not expect to hear.

****

“No I shant have it, your my guest. Well, my father’s guest. Take a seat and I shall fetch the tea.” The foppish man waved his arms hysterically before retrieving his spectacles from his pocket. He seemed old in motion but youthful when still – his dress reflected something of a by-gone era but his angular features and beardless face made it look modern and stylish if not slightly outlandish. He wore a navy blue bowtie and suspenders over a plane white dress shirt. He had draped his sports coat over a antique looking chair before shooting off into the kitchen.

“I think we have some misunderstanding.” Elle pleaded while still standing.

“Nonsense. I see things all too clear. My father, like all men, has given into the nature of our kind and found himself a youthful mistress. For what other reason would you be in his study without a stitch of clothing on.” He paused as he fiddled with the oven. Elle searched for the proper words to say, to come clean, to admit to her sinful night and beg for this strangers forgiveness. But before her heart compelled her to speak, he continued.”

***

“You cannot be forgiven. What you have done is completely contrary to God’s will and you have done it more than enough times to make a habit of it. Until some way of education can be devised to purge from you the taste for sin I cannot in good conscious forgive your sins.”

“Is it a sin to give into your nature?”

“To be a beast?”

“To be too human?”

“You cling to your beastliness for justification but what of the other side… the higher side?”

****

“This explains why father was so happy before he died. Even as the Alzheimer’s gripped his mind he kept saying: My soul has ascended. The old man was all doom and gloom ’til that moment. He would shuffle around this house finding solace in antiques and books from exotic places. It was unnatural. A man cannot go that long without a woman’s touch.” Something in the way he spoke brought comfort to Elle. The man wanted his father to be happy, and if that belief kept this man afloat than why bother his bliss with such a trivial matter of detail.

“I’m afraid I didn’t catch your name.”

“Pierce Fletcher. Yours?”

“Elle Scardenelli.”

“A beautiful name, for a beautiful woman.”

***

“Even Adam, before sin gripped his bones, was undone by a beautiful woman.”

“You quote scripture to suit your purpose, but you throw out the rest. Even the devil can quote scripture for his purpose, Clay.”

“I need this.”

“For what, Clay? To write another one of your trashy novels.”

“With your grace perhaps I can make them more than trash.”

“You’ll have to ask the Lord about that issue. I have a higher side to worry about as well, and it will do nohting but poison my spirit if I forgive you on the grounds you have provided.”

“Then educate me. What is it that I can do to atone?”

***

“I write novels. Well, sort of. Father said it was always a waste of time, that I would never be like Homer or Shakespeare, so why bother? Unlucky to be born at such a point in history were all understanding of art has lost. It takes a civilization of immense culture to produce such a writer. By we’ll never know if we don’t try, right? I want to write something great, something sweeping, a definition of our time and place.”

“What will it be about?”

“Haven’t really gotten that far yet. I am taking a trip for inspiration.”

“Where to?”

***
“I know some monks that might take you in.”

“Monks?”

“Yes. They live a secluded life up in the mountains. They offer a retreat for spiritual travelers looking to come to the grace of God. I believe one of the brothers there was a writer like yourself. People go to him for teachings on the written word.”

“And if I don’t go. You don’t forgive me.”

“That’s the deal.”

“I suppose the fresh air might do me some good. Where is this place?”

***

“Kentucky.” The foppish man replied without missing a beat.

“Kentucky?” Elle prodded further.

“The trappists have a monastery down that way.”

“A monastery?” Elle tried to imagine this professorial type in robes.

“A trappist monastery. In New Haven. Its called the Abbey at Gethsemani.”

****

“You want me to go to a monastery. In Kentucky.”

“Only there will you find salvation.”

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