Good morning, Netizens…
Having been gravitating toward the political more than I ought, it was with some considerable relief that I returned to my beloved Virtual Ballroom quite early this morning before the sun had even tinged the eastern sky with a festival of colors. Although rumors persist that another of our region’s Great Windstorms is poised and ready to strike today, which will mean I may have to leave on important business shortly thereafter, there is always a place in my heart for the Ballroom, the Virtual Garden and the Virtual Espresso Bar where, more often than not, ghosts and spirits serve the living, when they are not frolicking the day away.
Coming through the front gate I paused to contemplate the emptiness of the Virtual Garden where, last summer, Garden Gnomes and their kinfolk had lovingly tended row after row of vegetables and fruit, pausing in their labors late in the evening to sit beneath various plants to strum their unusual stringed instruments and sing Gnome folk songs from as far back in their heritage as I suppose anyone can remember. Now that the frost is upon the land, they are all below-ground, in their spacious warm burrows, with only an occasional puff of smoke from their chimneys to reflect their presence.
As I enter the Virtual Ballroom, I notice the wraith of a rather fat turkey standing just inside the doorway who nods at me as I pass, and I am not nonplussed, for the improbable ranging to the implausible always seem to happen here, without cessation. Perhaps that is part of the mystique of this place. I cannot wonder about the heritage of the fat tom, which Thanksgiving Day feast he once hailed from, or how he came to be here, for I must hasten to the business of the day.
As I sit at my customary place at the Virtual Espresso Bar, I am delighted, no… make that ecstatic to see an old and dear poet-laureate, journalist and balladeer, the late Carl Sandburg, serving as this morning’s barrista. Having spent many a year relishing Sandburg’s vibrant poetry, I am honored that his ghost would come to pay us a visit.
“The Virtual Espresso blend of the day today is Pig Iron,” he intoned gently as I sat transfixed, “For you will need pig iron in your veins to survive coming challenges.” Sliding a cup of staunch-appearing espresso before me, he added, “’Life is hard; be steel; be a rock.”
Having read what I considered to be Sandburg’s most-memorable work, The People Yes as quickly as you could say the words traversing time, I was there, where reality and unreality meet head-on, where the signposts say Danger Ahead and even brave and stalwart men and women are reluctant to tread. There is the sign, and it reads:
The white man drew a small circle in the sand, and told the red man,
“This is what the Indian knows,”
and drawing a big circle around the small one,
“This is what the white man knows.”
The Indian took the stick
and swept an immense ring around both circles:
“This is where the white man and the red man know nothing.”
(Carl Sandburg 1971—The People Yes