by John Knouse

The sun shines overhead, casting the shortest of shadows. I sit upon my terrace where grow the grapes, contemplating my harvest. My bark sits in the water at the foot of the slope as the current glides silently past. It is a good life.

Jordal brought back news yesterday, news of a great discovery far out to sea. The falling water level has allowed glimpses and hints of towers of a great city to emerge. Could it be lost Myami? I only know of the strange old rumors, stories never proven true but yet never proven false. These tales, after all, posit boats that fly under the seas and ships that sail through the skies. And who can believe in great engines of destruction that can end the existence of an entire city state in the blink of an eye?

But I digress. The years have been getting a little cooler and a little drier bit by bit, but the summer days stay warm. It is good for the grapes, so I am happy, but there are always the disturbing tales of great mountains of ice flowing down upon the land to the north. It may stretch the imagination to think so, but it is easier to imagine the majesty of nature doing what is beyond our comprehension than to think that the machinations of humankind could reach so far beyond natural law.

I am told, too, that there were once different kinds of people, people of strange and exotic colors. True, the snakes and birds come in strange, bright shades of different colors, but people? Who could imagine a red person, or a yellow person, or a black person? I have only ever seen brown people, some lighter, some darker, but all, yet, brown. And yet there are further strange stories of people so numerous that they threatened to drown the land as the sea is supposed to have done. So the stories go, the gods brought up the seas to drown the teeming hordes, despoiling the landscape like so many filthy, fetid cockroaches.

The ancients must have been strange people. But the world of today seems as perfect as the gods could wish; I cannot complain. Too many machines are evil, that we know today. Also evil is to yearn for the sky, for they say the ancients tried and this, too, is part of the reason they were struck down.

And the river glides past, an occasional turtle floating by, now and then a fish sampling the air.

I am content, for what is life for but to contemplate?