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SPARK » Jane Hulstrunkand Lisa Lynn Biggar

Jane Hulstrunk
and Lisa Lynn Biggar

Jane Hulstrunk
Response

Celebration
By Lisa Lynn Biggar
Inspiration piece

Once in a lifetime, perhaps, one escapes the actual confines of the flesh.
~  from The Immense Journey by Loren Eiseley

This time I run deeper into the woods.  I maneuver around branches.  I jump across fallen trees.  I run faster and faster, my heart pounding, so that when I come upon the white canopy that is up to my waist the stop is hard. I nearly tumble onto the canvas.

I squat down, shield my eyes from the setting sun.  I peek under the canopy and see a crowd of small people—they’re like fairies, beings of soft blue light, as if projected from a screen. But they’re three dimensional. And they have no wings. No one seems to notice me, this large being peering in at them.  They go about their business, spreading table cloths on miniature banquet tables for copious tiny steaming plates of food. It’s a feast. A celebration. I long to join them, but my foot is the size of one of the tables. I rub my eyes.

“Welcome,” one of them says. He’s wearing a black top hat like a mayor. “We’ve been waiting for you.”

I look around.  “Me?” I say, placing a big hand over my stilled heart.

“Who else?” the mayor says, then takes off his hat and bows. “This is your special day.”

My special day? It’s not my birthday.

A lady walks up beside him and curtsies. She’s wearing a crown of yellow flowers. “We’ve prepared all of your favorite dishes,” she says.  “Roast beef au jus, macaroni and cheese, potato stuffing. . .” She continues with the menu, many of the dishes I haven’t had since my childhood.  My mouth waters. Everything smells so delicious.

The path is suddenly widening, trees and bushes growing fast, and I realize that I am shrinking in size.  I now easily fit under the canopy.  I step inside and I’m immersed in this sea of blue light. I feel free, unencumbered. The joy of the celebration dances within me. I sit down at one of the tables.  Wine is poured.  The mayor makes a toast to me.

“To the one and only,” he says.

My name escapes me, but the smell of the food brings back memories.

My mother is making potato pancakes, grease sizzling in the cast iron pan.

The factory smell on my father’s dark coat.

Honeysuckle in my wife’s blonde hair.

Our son running on the coral sand, the rush of the waves. . .

And then it all fades away, back to the blue, to the vines and the moss and the tangle of earth’s roots. In a circle we dance and dance for what seems forever. It’s hard to break away, my resistance like a force of gravity. But somehow I extricate myself. I thank the mayor for having me. I step outside the canopy and regain my size.  My bones ache from the expansion.

I turn back, to go home, and realize an eternity has passed.

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