SHARDS OF SERENITY

BY John Thomas Tuft

Sally talks in her sleep. Her husband, Harry, says that sometimes that is the only way he knows what’s on her mind.  Her murmurings, her whispers, her groans of anguish betray the pathways of her soul. When she awakens and he asks Sally about her sleep, she is a bit confused. “In my dreams,” she says, “I am walking around Fallingwater. It’s always Fall, and the leaves are brilliant, all around in every direction that I look. The water falling beneath the overhanging layers means that it is always part of everyday life; the sound, the movement, the coolness—all of it, like living inside shards of serenity.” Harry, upon hearing this  wants to know, “Am I there?” Sally casually answers, “I don’t know. Does it matter?” And Harry is afraid to tell the truth. Men are egos wrapped in childhood so much of the time that it can be difficult for them to imagine their loved one not focusing on them day and night. So, he says, “I guess not.” Then he turns over and hugs his sullenness close. Serenity can be lost in those who fear letting the outside in, or the inside being revealed.

Dale is awkward. Dale is awkward and small of stature. Dale is awkward and small of stature and soft spoken. Dale is awkward and small of stature and soft spoken and believes in live and let live. Which might help to explain why Dale is always feeling put upon and bullied. One day in his endless quest to become more than he is, Dale comes across the famous Bruce Lee quote: “Be like water making its way through cracks…adjust to the object, and you shall find a way through it…Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” Dale feels like Bruce Lee is speaking directly to him. If someone got in his way now he either flowed or crashed. One day he realized that he still did not have friends who loved him simply for being Dale. Seems he has forgotten that water can also drown with flood or extinguish fires, both within or without. Serenity is neither a slogan nor a metaphor.

Jack and Jill are climbing up a hill. They are discussing how they met. “It’s been so long, I can scarce remember,” says Jack. “I’m getting tired of falling for you,” jokes Jill and they laugh easily. “This pail isn’t going to fill itself,” gasps Jack, struggling for breath as the years are catching up to him. “Where do you think we came from?” asked Jill, stopping to wait with him. “It’s been hundreds and hundreds of years that we’ve been fetching water and falling down and fetching water and falling down and fetching…” Jack nods. “Day after day, generation after generation. Same old Jack. Same old Jill. Same old pail. Do you think anyone even cares about us?” That stumped Jill. “I’m partial to Shakespeare. We’re in two of his plays, you know!” Jack softly speaks. “Our wooing doth not end like an old play; Jack hath not Jill.” Jill punches him on the shoulder. “You old fool. Jack shall have Jill; Nought shall go ill.” Maybe, sometimes, there is serenity in routine.

Serena travels around with a suitcase full of sparks. She likes to travel through every graveyard that she finds, always at night, only stopping when she gets chilled and opening her suitcase to use a spark to light a campfire. Serena disappears in the daylight, stepping into the sky or sinking into the still waters of a lake or finding the flow of a river for her slumber. Some say that her suitcase of sparks is really a trove of stars, kept close to husband their glow, and prolong their lives. But we all know that stars don’t need us in any way. Others say that her suitcase of sparks is really a suitcase of stories. Each story is a flame of a candle, illuminating the rafters of our imaginations, penetrating the dimness under the eaves of our everyday lives. Nobody seems to know if stories need us in any way. Serena is seeking someone to become the next steward of the suitcase full of sparks. Stories or stars, it is no small responsibility. Serena swears that either way, they are shards of serenity.

Words are magic and writers are wizards.