The Witnesses

By Brian Michael Barbeito

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At that angle you could see that the wind arrived at the tree to lift its branches. Raising them up with a slight and determined motion, like horses go upwards on a merry-go-round, the thick and layered leaves made for worlds inside the structures of the branches. The wind stayed in there, and only after long moments let the branches and its accompanying leaves down. Up the way a chime hung from a metal hook. It was terra cotta, with someone having painted blue depictions of Kokopelli all around it. Purple flowers waited in a hanging container beside the chime, and when the sun was strongly lit these opened more than they were used to doing, and then stretched a bit towards aerial brightness.

In the summer’s end the leaves weakened and fell, each batch getting to know the ground and the curt suburban lawns and boulevards for the first time. It was not an uneasy relationship, as autumnal air crisp and cool spoke of winter’s rules and heavy handedness. Sometimes in the afternoon or early mornings a strong gust shook the chime and the bell dancing inside banged between steps against Kokopelli’s innards. For the most part though, the chime and flower container, and the branches fast becoming barren down the way, were still.

Winter when he came cracked and cajoled pathways and asphalt, storm water grates and siding, and acted like an unduly stern father now come home to quell everyone and everything’s bliss at being themselves. But the flora, chime, and tree waited and weathered all of the days and nights. After one particularly angry winter that stretched all the way until the end of March, the three summer things still remained. Soon spring would come. A sure enough marker that their dormancy would dull, allowing them another season in the brightness to stretch or even and only sit still around and between strange merry-go-round winds.

Brian Michael Barbeito

Author’s Notes:

The Witnesses piece is meant to work on two levels. Firstly, it is a descriptive narrative of a sight-line that holds objects (two living, one inanimate, but living in its own way through moving and sounding in the wind), signifying summer and the brightness of such. The chimes hang beside the full hanging basket of flowers that have blossomed, and just down the way a tree in full bloom is there to enjoy. But in the sub textual (though stated overtly), part of the writing, it is the story of how these three things weather (literally), the seasons. They are stationary items, witnesses to the changing temperatures and environs in general. They have had their peak, and after dormancy and stages, spring to life again, to see another season, and participate in another cycle of time. Each in their own way, and yet together. Therefore the piece is meant to be a description of a favorable aesthetic on one hand, yet also a word-journey that denotes faith in the cycles of seasons and the ways of nature. A salute to the providence of time. It could also, in a sense, be rightfully called ‘The Providence of Time.’