Yuri is a renowned circus performer. Elena a young inexperienced woman leaving home to make her way on her own. She sees him perform and is immediately impressed. After a brief discussion they form an alliance. He will train her. They will travel. Will follow weather and traveling carnies taking work where they find it. Money comes as it may as they pass around the hat and weather the twists and turns of squalor and hunger. As they move about they hear of and chase the supreme circus that will end their travails. It is unclear whether or not love is in the cards. But still they endure, travel circus by circus, grinding out a living in the only way they know, working towards the big break with the foretold circus. Providence has a strange way of bringing clarity and experience.
It’s a shame that experience is often the result of mistakes. Yuri is enigmatic and resourceful, Elena is bright and bubbly. Perhaps this is enough.
A resonance of melancholy tone lurks, engendering a diffused sense of guilt, like a shadow hanging over all.
Snow silently falling on the ocean, various cumulus clouds, a singing nightingale. A vast forest stretching out to the right. A man pulling a cart covered in tarpaulin. A tiny woman pushing the cart from behind.
A kind of orgiastic synchronicity.
She moved ahead in even strides with none of that affectedly feminine tiptoeing.
Many ancestors far back as legend could go had lived in the Primeval Forest. A great tract of a hundred thousand acres, it straddles the border between dream and nightmare.
Until about the 14th century, travel through the woodland was limited to river routes; roads and bridges appeared much later. Strange mewing sounds, shrieks, and ghostly moans keep unwary strangers at a safe distance. The source of these emanations defy identification. A satisfactory identification is unsought.
The mysteriousness, the eeriness, the ancient unchangingness of the great forest have led many to suppose that some very old forms of life—some living corpses—may be lurking undiscovered in its murky depth. This forbids invasion by living things.
Once a land inhabited by prehistoric beasts this deep abyss is believed to be the grotto of weird unholy monsters. It seems reasonable to suppose that the terms of existence in this deep dark forest are too uncompromising to support life unless that life is plastic, molding itself constantly to the harsh conditions, seizing every advantage that makes possible the survival of living protoplasm in a world only a little less hostile than the black reaches of interplanetary space.
Academics view everything as an object to study, and so their emotions dry up. But to look at things with feeling, no impulse to study them occurs because everything comes down to love or hate.
“I think it’s WORTH dying for.”
“Anyone is reckless DESERVE drop to death.”
“Such a cruel thing to say!”
“Truth is ugly cruel.”
Under discussion was the matter of treading dangerously close to the road’s edge for to view the precipitous landscape below. Indescribably beautiful and inspiring the sublime landscape would claim the lives of many who chose to tempt fate by straying too close to the crumbling edge.
“Tempting fate is place for fools and idiots.”
A beggar kneeled on the road ahead. Forehead pressed to a huge boulder he poured forth a stream of loud indecipherable entreaties.
He would raise his face at intervals to reveal a gray smudge of dirt on his forehead.
No one looked at him.
The man and woman, lost in conversation, passed him by, unconcerned.
When they had left him several yards behind the man changed tack and asked the woman a rhetorical question.
“What good is pray to rock?”
“Maybe he’s a Druid.”
The man considered this.
“Or is foolish idiot.”
The beggar, hands pressed together beneath his smudged forehead, was persisting with his cries.
This produced a sharp pain in her, like a fishbone stuck in her throat.
The man knew the feeling of being held fast by a woman’s long black hair.
The color of the sky was changing little by little.
Streaks of color began to trail across its monotonous clarity. The deep, transparent blue background grew slowly more diffuse, and a heavy, white pall of cloud came to overlay it.
The overlay began to melt and stream away, but so languidly that it was impossible to distinguish where background ended and cloud began.
And over all of this drifted a soft hint of yellow.
“The sky was so clear before,”
said the woman. “Now the color is all muddied.”
This was not the first time he had seen the sky like this, but it was the first time he had heard the sky described as “muddied.”
But she was right, he saw. There was no other way to describe this color. Before he could say anything in reply, the woman spoke again.
“It’s so heavy. It looks like marble,” she said, using another incongruous word to describe the sky.
She was looking up high, eyes narrowed. Then she moved her narrowed eyes slowly until they were turned upon the man.
“It looks like marble, don’t you think?”
The man had no choice but to agree.
“Yes, look like marble.”
The woman fell silent. After some minutes it was the man who spoke.
“Under sky like this, heart become heavy, but senses become light.”
“What do you mean by that?” the woman asked.
The man had not meant much of anything. He was just using his English, looking for a word to contrast heavy. But instead of answering her question he said, “It is a comforting, dreamy kind of sky.”
“It seems as if it’s about to move, but it never does,” the woman replied.
She began watching another far-off cloud...
“It is sky’s business,” said the man, “just like beggar we left behind us.”
The woman thought this a good point. Whether or not the sky moved was up to the sky. And whether or not the beggar moved from the roadside boulder was up to the beggar.
The man was typically quiet and composed, even serene. Yet from time to time an odd shadow would cross his face, like the sudden passage of a bird across a window, although it was no sooner there than gone.
Ideas swirled about his mind in the chaotic confusion of tangentially connected points of relevance, the cohesive whole easy to grasp, the abstract idea of a grand theme outlined in his mind and the framework of his thoughts clearly defined. Yet when thought attempted the leap to verbalization he drew a blank.
An hour later they had left the mountain road behind them, parked their cart, and were walking aimlessly through a quiet neighborhood that was something between village and town. The woman plucked a soft young leaf from a citrus hedge, cupped it between her palms, and made it whistle as one does with a grass blade. She was good at this, having picked it up by imitating a friend from the circus. She gaily played as she strolled along, while the man walked beside her, ignoring her, face averted.
Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
“I want you with me,” says the man.
“You want me—? What are you talking about?”
“I want you come home with me, I say.”
The woman sniffs scornfully.
“Never in this world shall you get me home with you.”
“Oh, will see about that.”