Sunday in the Park with Brian: Therapy Session #24 (The “Windchimes of My Mind” Version)

Note: I’m wrenching this one out of the archives because I have once again been a very naughty boy…

Damn, I couldn’t believe it had gotten this bad so quickly.

The last time I had dropped in, dragging my wheeled picnic basket, the park had been filled with people, many dots of color, the smaller ones dashing about and scream-giggling, the larger ones more controlled, lounging on blanketed grass or casually meandering the perimeter of the small lake where the paddle boats roamed. The cart vendors competed with the scream-giggles, enticing with their throats and wafting scents of edible promise. Up above, the elaborate windchimes on the grand gazebo held court over all, hoisted high and positioned just so, intertwining with the wind and showering us with gentle, tinkling bits of airy possibility, a soothingly dry rain.

The windchimes were gone now, who knows where they went or how someone managed to pluck them out of the sky. The paddleboats were no more, the landing dock half-submerged in water no longer blue, listless and brooding. The vendors, vanished. The swings silent, one with a broken chain, seat angled downward in defeat, ignored by the other slats in the somber line of non-motion. There wasn’t a soul in the entire place, just the traces of the many who used to be.

Wait, that thought was proven a lie almost as soon as it registered. There was someone sitting on a bench, far side of the chime-less gazebo, staring out at the boat-less water. Solitary, unmoving, garbed in a heavy, protective coat, signs that normally conveyed a propensity for aloneness but, even without the chimes, there was still muted magic in the air, and perhaps this woman had something to share, grudgingly. I worked my way toward her through the overgrown grass, trailed by the picnic basket which now seemed much heavier knowing that it would probably never be opened.

Her eyes darted my direction, for the merest of a second, before she returned her gaze to the water. “Do you mind if I join you on the bench?” I asked, suddenly knowing the exact two-word response she would proffer.

“Free country.” Deep, tired voice, a counterbalance to the clinking of yesterday’s chimes. Eyes still on water, a safe focus that did not include me.

I plunked on the bench, a solid thing, no creaking. This is how it used to be, the quality of craft, built to last. Not the impermanence of today, planned obsolescence, slap something together, throw it out there, wait for it to crumble and sell another one. All hail capitalism. Transitory. Just as our conversation would be if I didn’t get to the point, because that’s how she liked it. “Do you know what happened here?”

She made a smirking noise. “Of course I do. I come to the park every week. As did many people, for a while. Now I’m the last one and eventually even this bench will fade, joining the boats and the chimes and the hotdog vendors, in a place not here. Time is a thing which eats until there’s nothing left.”

Something tiny sprouted deep within me, nameless now, yet tinted with a vague sheen of recognition. I have trod these boards before, I know this worn wood, those are my initials etched in a quiet corner that nobody really sees. Or do they? Sense of dread, but pursuing. “And why did the people stop coming?”

“Because you stopped.”

“Me? But why do I matter? I get here as often as I can.”

She smiled, but it was not generous, a contorted smear. “You created us. You built this place. You filled the lake and you tuned the chimes and you swung the swings and you gathered us together every Sunday in the Park, sharing your thoughts and remembrances and hope for the future. It was nice, and we felt special, part of something, even if it was ephemeral and fleeting. Everyone wants a place to gather and be validated, sharing without fear of recrimination, where no opinions are considered unworthy. But then you skipped a few Sundays, randomly surfaced, then skipped even more. Now it’s been quite some time since you fed the ducks at the end of the pier.”

This was deeper than I expected, but it encouraged the tiny sprout in my soul to grow roots. “I haven’t been gone that long, have I?”

Again with her smeared smile. “It’s been 90 days since you shared a new ‘Sunday’ adventure.”

The sprout paused, unsure of how fertile this soil might be. “Well, that’s not such a long time.”

Smear. “In this short-attention-span world? People will stop coming to the Park if they are ignored overnight, let alone months.

The sprout resumed with its burrowing, tossing aside a Liberty penny dropped decades yore. “So what should I do?”

“Make sure you come to the Park with some kind of respect for regularity.”

I nodded. “Okay, I can try to do that. In fact, I should go start now.”

She nodded as well, then paused. “What’s in that picnic basket?”

I looked down, having forgotten about it completely, despite my appreciation for its aerodynamic ability to maneuver terrain with little effort. “Oh. Just a few things. Some deviled eggs, because why would you not? And some tapenade, with six kinds of olives. And some fresh bread that I baked myself.”

More nodding. “Lovely. Leave the basket. I’ve been a bit peckish since the last vendor pulled out and moved to another blog. Now get your ass home and write a new Park post.”

And so I did. Sort of.

Previously published, very tiny changes made. I resurfaced this one for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve always liked the tone of this piece, the atmosphere, even though the words are a bit confusing if you weren’t around when I used to do a “Park” piece EVERY Sunday and they were the most popular posts I was doing at the time. Two, I really have been a bad boy, woefully ignoring Bonnywood lately as I concentrate on building an audience over at Medium, another writing platform wherein there is a slim chance that I might actually make some money with my words. (It’s been a challenge doing such, basically starting over with gaining a readership, but I feel compelled to see where my efforts might lead.)

I trust that the faithful Bonnywooders will give me some time to figure out where my path leads next, fiddling with possibilities. I’m not abandoning Bonnywood, by any means, but I may not be present every single day until I work out what works. Please be patient.


46 replies »

  1. If you don’t try out other- awful pun- mediums you will never know. And isn’t this what archives/reposts are for? (Song that fits the tone of your post = ‘Sunday Will Never Be The Same?’)

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s exactly it: I have to see how things work out on Medium, or I will always wonder about a possibly-missed opportunity.

      I hadn’t heard of that song, so naturally I went a-googling. And yes, the lyrics are quite similar to what I hope I achieved with this piece. Everything old is new again, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hope Medium goes well for you. I joined it some years back but never worked out how to share my posts to it! For me, I guess you could say it was pretty average…

    Liked by 4 people

    • This is one of those pieces where I had no idea where I was going when I sat down to write it, other than a vague theme of an empty park and what might have happened that led to it being so. Honestly, I do much better with stories that are not planned but rather found…

      I’ll have to watch “Stranger Than Fiction”. I hadn’t heard of it, so I did a quick search and it seems very intriguing…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. As I mentioned to mydangblog above, this story just came out of nowhere one night, scribbled in the wee hours, and it’s an example of the writer finding out where he’s going right along with the reader, in a sense. And I love writing that way…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope you’re taking plenty of notes on your Medium adventure. A few of my Blogging Buddies/Friends have tried Medium and found it too rigged, and too bothersome for the whopping amount of income, roughly equal to a small cup of coffee.

    Don’t worry about my attendance… I’m like that clueless party guest that doesn’t know when it’s time to leave already, or the relative that overstays their welcome.

    You’re stuck with me😘

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I’m definitely taking notes. I still haven’t committed myself entirely, lurking somewhat in the background on Medium, quietly posting my stories and discreetly checking out other writers instead of trumpeting myself, full-blast and all day like some of the folks do. And yes, the financial return can be startlingly low. But I managed to make 34 bucks in June. Nothing phenomenal, of course, but just enough for me to think, well, if I really DID promote myself, I wonder how far it would go? And that’s exactly where my mind is right now…

      But so far, it’s just not the same experience as here at Bonnywood. I’ve met some lovely people, and several of them have become faithful readers of my posts. (As I have become of theirs.) Still, I find myself asking, Where’s my Angie? Where’s my Lynette? Where’s my Melanie? Where are all the folks that I have grown accustomed to hearing from regularly? I miss THAT on Medium, and I’m not sure I will ever get it. So that’s ALSO where my mind is right now…

      Thank you for sticking. It means a lot to me…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lynette. I really like this piece, almost as much as “Table for Two”, still one of my favorites. I’m going to make an honest run at Medium, just to see where it goes, but if I can’t develop the wonderful community I have here at Bonnywood, well, it just won’t feel right and I’ll quietly let that mess go…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we do need to take time, here and there, to see what else there might be. If you don’t look under all the rocks, you might never find that “just right” thing. We’ll see.

      By the way, thank you for joining us here at Bonnywood. I might be wondering about, piddling with other projects, but I’ve had this blog for far too long to simply abandon it. There will always be new posts here, though perhaps not quite as many as there used to be…


  4. Tis true that attention span has become horrendously short, what with all these video clip things popping up all over the place. Many that play just enough to be annoying as you wonder how it ended but not enough to go off in search of answers. It has been my dream to find a way to earn just a bit of attention and coffee money through my humble words but as with all other dreams that have faded away, possibly somewhere beside the windchimes..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Attention spans are wretched, these days. There’s simply too much input for anyone to concentrate on anything for any length of time. I do miss the simpler times, when our exposure to new things was a personal choice. If you wanted to explore something, you had to seek it out and do your research and make an investment. Now, it’s just inundation to the point that very little of it actually sticks and, in a way, we’ve stopped learning because there’s simply too much to evaluate…

      Liked by 1 person

      • For many that may be true, but then sitting here thinking about that. Sources I read said that those with ADHD miss nothing. They see everything, hear everything, notice everything. They are accustomed to processing a world in motion. My son was diagnosed within weeks of him beginning kindergarten. He is in his thirties now. He is this amazing collection of information and knowledge. I believe that rather than drug kids into submission, we ought to be encouraging the talents they possess. Short attention span and all.

        Liked by 1 person

    • To be fair, most of what I’ve shared (so far) on Medium has been revised versions of what I’ve already shared here, so you’ll recognize the stories but perhaps not the arrangements. You would probably enjoy the site, as there are many interesting readers involved. (Along with some crappy writers, I must admit.) I should also caution that it IS a pay site (5 dollars a month) if you want to read ALL the stories, but it’s free if you just want to poke around and read a limited number of articles.

      Here’s a link to my specific page: https://medium.com/@lageose


    • No worries. I’m still just tinkering around and determining if this is an experiment I want to continue. (There are pros and cons to the site, as with any platform.) I’m most intrigued with the “no ads” angle and the streamlined layouts that focus on the writing and not the presentation.

      Here’s where you can find me: https://medium.com/@lageose


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