I do not even know what it is, this thing. This thing up there. It’s probably some kid from the school, I’d imagine. Frat pledge. Giant owl outfit.
I mean, that poor kid. He probably believed, going into all this, believed he just had to sit up there in his costume for a few nights. That he’d stare down at the track and think about calculus or Fall Break or girls. That everybody would leave him the hell alone and that soon enough, it would all be over.
Little did he know. Now he’s got some dykey, middle-aged mother of three-and-a-half pouring her heart out to him every other night.
How did I even ever see him up there? The Rice track is pitch black at the hour when I run. You can’t see your very own fingers waving in front of your very own face. It’s a time of night when only crazies are out – when it’s people like me and like the guy who always runs the track backwards and the one who jogs in a winter coat with a backpack and goggles on.
But I must have seen something, and seen enough of the something to know it wasn’t of the usual, run-of-the-mill Rice fauna: It wasn’t an owl. It wasn’t a rat. It wasn’t a bird. It wasn’t a cat.
It was not even a person, or that was the impression I got. It was too… too… wide for a person. Or it was too something. I got a definite impression.
I kept running.
Two nights later, I got an impression again. It was pretty much the same impression as before, give or take. I was running again and I got to the tree again and I sort of sent out mental feelers. This is a thing I do but I do not know if I can explain it. My mental feelers went out and they picked up a presence in the tree. Something was up there. Again.
This time I stopped.
It was in one of the huge live oak trees that line both sides of the Rice University track. I walked right up to the tree. I leaned against the tree – really put all of my weight against it. Something above me rustled and sh-sh-sh’d.
For the life of me, I do not know why I did it. I do not even know the first thing I said, but I started talking. Out loud. Sort of to the thing in the tree but sort of just… out loud.
I talked about taking care of the kids and about how scared I was now that it was all on me. I told the thing in the tree about all of the times I’d wished something bad would happen to Dana and Antony – and about how then something bad did happen.
I told the thing in the tree about all of the times I’d hurt people over the years. About the thing with the fire. About how I’d once destroyed my mom’s most prized possession in the whole world just to be mean. I told it about my embarrassments, which always get mixed up with my guilts inside my head. I even told the thing in the tree about stuff I’d done when I was living on the street.
I was there leaning against that tree for quite a while.
When I finished, there were tears on my face. This was weird, because I never cry. Never ever. But there were tears and as I walked away, the tree shook again, kind of in acknowledgement of what I’d said, I guess.
But you know what? I felt better after that. Better than I had felt in a long time, actually. As though the proverbial weight had been lifted right off of me.
That night while I slept, I dreamed, but I did not dream about how bad I was or about how many mistakes I’d made. My dreams were all about the thing in the tree. Even in the dreams, I still could not see what the thing looked like.
Two nights after that, I went back out to the Rice track and I ran again. As I came around the corner near that tree, my head was full of all these things I was going to say. I had it all planned out. Because there were more things I needed to confess, you know?
But when I came around the corner, everything got all messed up. There, leaning up against my tree – my tree! – was Winter Coat/Backpack/Goggles guy. And he was crying, just sitting there blubbering, really, something about his daddy and about how he was sorry.
A grown man, acting like that! It was disgusting.
I pretended not to see. I ran right past him. Then, a few trees down, I stopped to think about what to do next. When I stopped, I got an impression from the tree next to me. I can’t describe it, but I just knew there was something up in that tree.
But this wasn’t my tree!
And when I looked up, up into the blackness of those branches, I knew it wasn’t my thing, either. Something was up there all right, but it was a different thing.
The thing in the tree rustled and sh-sh-sh’d, encouraging me to confess to it.
“Sorry,” I said. “I already have an understanding and sort of a working relationship with the thing in that tree, over there.”
I said, “You can understand, right? It’s nothing personal.”
I started running again. I figured I could give my tree another shot in a couple nights.
I mean, the stuff I had to say was really personal, private stuff – not at all the sort of stuff you’d want to go around confessing to just any old thing in just any old tree.
"`Cheshire Puss,' [Alice] began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. `Come, it's pleased so far,' thought Alice, and she went on. `Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
`I don't much care where--' said Alice.
`Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
`--so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.
`Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.'"
"`But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
`Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.'
`How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
`You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
Alice didn't think that proved it at all; however, she went on `And how do you know that you're mad?'
`To begin with,' said the Cat, `a dog's not mad. You grant that?'
`I suppose so,' said Alice.
`Well, then,' the Cat went on, `you see, a dog growls when it's angry, and wags its tail when it's pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased, and wag my tail when I'm angry. Therefore I'm mad.'"
Wow. You know, I didn't even catch the Chesire Cat similarity. How could I not have seen that?Delete
Oh well. Alice in Wonderland parallels are the best parallels Especially when they're unintentional.
using this picture to link to your postReplyDelete
I like that - I might use that for my tumblr promotion.Delete
So rested she by the Tumtum tree, and stood awhile in thought. And, as in uffish thought he stood, the Jabberwock with eyes of flameDelete
I always loved Jabberwocky. For plain old, balls-out mind-bending, I prefer James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake," but Jabberwocky is good stuff.Delete
You run that Rice track at night!?! That's more perilous and has more obstacles than if you decided to run around the Inner Loop during rush hour against traffic. I've tripped during the middle of the day on that crazy track.ReplyDelete
I won't fault you for confessing to the thing in the tree. Everyone needs a bit of the talking cure, whether you find that in therapy or talking to a tree-dwelling freshman pledge.
Just to make sure, when you mentioned the person running the wrong way, you were talking counter-clockwise, right? I always hoped a rule would be instituted that people were only to go clockwise and that the slow walking people kept to the right and if there were more than one of them, they walk single-file instead of making themselves as wide and as obstructive as possible.
Absolutely. Rice has things like perilous roots all over its track, which it tries to make safe by spray painting day-glo.Delete
The rats are really a problem at night (I mean, BAD, BAD), but they're still better than dodging moms talking on the phone while pushing sports strollers or three fat sisters who insist on waling shoulder to shoulder.
Backwards Guy runs BACKWARDS - as in he can't see where he's going. I guess it exercises different muscle groups or something. Since he also runs at night, I call him "Hidden Reverse."
You're a wizard, Katy. Once again you've conjured up a spell to bring me out of a funk, and I'm grateful for having clicked over to your blobber. Well done, ma'am!ReplyDelete
It's good to hear that my blog has improved someone's life in some small way. There will be a new one next week, and I'm sure that one will make up for the boost this one gave you!Delete
I too prefer to run at night, but that also means I can't run my usual trail because said trail is teeming with coyotes after the sun goes down. And we're not talking about the type of coyote that might be my spirit animal and would impart great wisdoms upon me after I pour my heart out to it, but the type of coyote that's mean as hell and chewed through my idiot neighbor's dog like a 99 cent squeak toy.ReplyDelete
This is why I live in Houston: No extreme wildlife and the only extreme weather we get gives us a one-week head start. Although there were two times last winter when I had to wear a sweatshirt when I ran.Delete
The Thing In The Tree told me to tell you to go fuck yourself, when you are not fucking every piece of shit who pulled out his dick in front of your face all your life!ReplyDelete
That sounds like a much angrier tree than mine.Delete
Anon seems to have some self-loathing issues... but I will say this about the guy: he gets around. I see his troll-isms on post after post after post. Truly a busy little man. Must not be much to do down there in his mom's basement.Delete
I admire the commitment. Plus, the angry emails he sends me day after day after day - in which he says I owe him because he's cyber-stalked me for 8 full years - show an ability to use logic in novel ways.Delete
If there is smoke, there is fire; and don't you all wonder why she kept on posting the very revealing comments from me in recent weeks?Delete
So, @squatlo, when you have no fucking clue about what's going on in other people's lives, I advise you to shut the fuck up and go back to playing with your own dick.
Public Service Announcement:Delete
My previous comment above, at mere minutes ago, was heavily redacted by the author of this blog page, where she deleted two whole paragraphs of my words before publishing it, that were extremely relevant, informative, and comedic.
I read something full of wisdom today:Delete
"I have been extremely polite and patient with you while you continue to spout accusations and insults.
You asked me for an example, I gave you one, along with all the information you asked for.
I hope that when you sober up, you might be less angry and see things more clearly."
BTW, don't go out tonight, because people can not tell the difference between you and the Devil.
I might go wandering around in the dark tonight looking for a tree of my own to confess my sins to. I probably won't run though.ReplyDelete
I never should have said anything! Now there are going to be long lines at every tree...Delete
Nice. The old tree. A thing that cannot talk back but only listen.ReplyDelete
Hi, Lady Lilith!Delete
Yeah, I used to confess to my cat, but then she started looking at me in a very judgmental way.
There are few creatures in this world more judgmental than a cat.Delete
They can see right through me? How do they know?Delete
Maybe the tree had some of the Little People that we almost wiped out thousands of years ago!ReplyDelete
Fortunately, the big people have left the hollow part of the Hollow Earth more or less vacant, so there's still room for both of our civilizations...Delete
There's a big, very old tree a block from here that kind of runs the neighborhood, but I can't say that I've ever tried to talk to it. Nonetheless, sometimes I get the feeling there are Things about, on the edges of roofs of buildings, watching. Sometimes, I think I almost hear them laughing -- not in a specifically malicious way, but not in a way that's exactly comforting, either.ReplyDelete
I might think I was imagining things, because that would make sense, but I'm not the only one who's sensed them around here. And in the past few weeks, I keep finding around my neighborhood places where someone has left what are obviously offerings. I walked by one about three weeks ago: three plates of food, still-burning candles, a bottle of champagne, some cigars. A few days after that, I saw another one about four blocks away. Since then, I've seen the remains of at least four others within the space of five or six blocks. I didn't have anything to do with it and I don't know who did, but I have to wonder if they saw the same Things I did and if the offerings are for them.
It's s delicate balance, keeping the Things at bay, I think. I'm glad someone is trying to keep everything in check, and I hope it's enough.Delete
If you can't tell all of your hopes/dreams/fears/guilts to a tree, who can you tell it to? As a matter of fact, I'm going to go find my own tree right now.Delete
There is some sort of catharsis to saying things out loud. But I was raised catholic and have been in therapy before, and this has fewer negative side effects than confession or therapy, so far as I can tell. I mean, the highest risk is... falling branches, i assume. or the negligible chance that it could be a mountain lion or something up in the tree.Delete
I have heard reports of leprechauns hanging out in trees, and I'm not sure they're all that interested in your confessions, but the odds seem pretty long.Delete
I think I'd prefer NOT to get a response anyway, especially if it turns out to be leprechauns. What the hell has a leprechaun ever done with its life, anyway?Delete
(Incidentally, Alex, you might well be the only person who is going to appreciate my next blog post.)
Whee! *claps hands excitedly*Delete
Wait, are you trying to say it should take me less than a week to read and comment on it?
Oh,. I assumed you'd been locked in a dungeon somewhere during the first half of this week, unable to get to a computer. I also assume your jailers had been talking about this post among themselves, but, again, you were chained to a wall.Delete
It's fall now and most the trees in my area are losing their leaves. I'm afraid that if I go talk to one of these trees it won't be able to hear me because it has no leaves.ReplyDelete
This was definitely something sitting in the tree. It has to be for the purposes of my blog, because I already had one a couple years back where a tree threatened me, and I can't repeat myself.Delete
...or maybe I just have a lot of lingering issues with trees.
Maybe it's because the guy who is about to become governor of my state lost his legs in a tree-related incident.
Sounds like the Predator from the movies. In a good mood. Maybe it was a Predator psychiatrist.ReplyDelete
Or it could have been the wind. I read these blog posts and realize what a terribly unreliable narrator my writing has... And it sucks, because the narrator happens to be me.Delete
You do good work.ReplyDelete
Thank you, yellow! It takes me more time than I'll ever admit...Delete